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Happy 30th Anniversary Friendship Club!

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Last week, SUMC celebrated the Friendship Club’s 30th Anniversary with a wonderful gathering. Eighty-five people attended this festive day which included special recognition of the club’s original members, wonderful fellowship, an inspiring message by former Senior Pastor David Chunn, and a delicious lunch provided by Chef Heyward McKenzie.

The Friendship Club began in 1989 by the initiative of Mrs. Clara Lucas. Over the last thirty years, the group has met each month (that’s well over 300 times) and participated in countless trips and excursions. For this celebration, Jon Sheperd compiled a slide show to celebrate the many faces in the Friendship Club through the years. There were also certificates of appreciation presented to original members Billy and Barbara Mills, Nadine Winterberger, and J.D. Qualls.

We were also graced by the presence of Rev. David Chunn, Senior Pastor from 1993-2002, and his wife Carol. David provided an inspiring message reflecting on his years in ministry and his fond memories as Senior Pastor of Shalimar UMC. He also remembered many of the good things that happened during his ministry at Shalimar. Rev. Chunn stated that in his life of ministry he learned more from the churches he pastored, his staff, and his wife than he ever did in the classroom. We appreciate David and Carol for helping to make the Friendship Club’s 30th anniversary so special with their presence.

This celebration was spectacularly well done by our present Friendship Club Leadership. Special thanks are extended to Jon and Kathie Sheperd who provided many exceptional touches both visibly and behind the scenes. We are so grateful for all Jon and Kathie do for Shalimar UMC! Finally, we want to thank Ollie Fay Flint for her vision to celebrate this day! Ollie Fay brought so much enthusiasm to the planning and execution of this event! Well done Ollie Fay! What a great day for the Friendship Club and Shalimar UMC!


Posted by Philip McVay with
in Reach

Update on Disaster Relief

As you probably know, we are coming up on the first anniversary of Hurricane Michael with Hurricane Dorian fresh in our memories.  The Panama City area is still in a state of devastation and the wheels of recovery are turning too slowly for comfort.  The pictures coming from the Bahamas are heart wrenching.  It is good to know that in cases like this, UMCOR (United Methodist Committee on Relief) is often first in and last out.  One hundred percent of the dollars we send to UMCOR go straight to the field (overhead costs are funded by our apportionments).

We are currently reassessing our ability as a church to be a place of refuge in the event of a disaster.  Our facilities have become busier with the many ministries we are performing, and many of our volunteers are aging out.  If you would like to help in times of disaster, we need to hear from you!

In the wake of Hurricane Michael, the Alabama-West Florida conference has redoubled its efforts to organize for future disasters.  Each district has a disaster preparedness team headed by a coordinator and there is a concerted effort to train and (re)certify people to respond to disasters.  We are developing a network of supply drop-off locations for whenever there is a call for donations of material (our church is one of them). 

There are things each of us can do to help our neighbors:

  • Give money. We are being asked to refrain from sending supplies to the relief efforts in the Bahamas right now; they simply are not prepared to receive large amounts of goods.  Money is portable and flexible and can be converted to whatever is needed.  If you wish to give to the Bahamas relief efforts, write “Bahamas” on your check.
  • Get trained. The best way to be useful on the ground in times of disaster is to be trained ahead of time.  We offer basic ERT (Emergency Response Team) training at many locations.  Once you have received basic certification, you may pursue more training opportunities to include ladder safety, chainsaw operation, damage assessment, and others. 
  • Be part of a team here. There are many different tasks we can accomplish without ever leaving town, sometimes without even leaving our houses.  Making sandwiches for work crews, building clean-up kits, shopping for items, etc.  If you can help in this way, please contact Larry Lewellen or Pastor Brian
  • Be part of a team there. We are trying to get volunteers willing to travel to Panama City for short, three day trips.  Since we are so close, we could come home each night and sleep in our own beds.  Right now, the primary task is tarping.  Some of the houses that were tarped a year ago must be re-tarped.  No date is set yet, but if you are willing to serve in this way, please contacts Larry Lewellen or Pastor Brian.

 I am very proud of our ability to respond in these ways through our Methodist connection.  Other churches have willing hearts and hands, but they lack the covenant relationship with churches all over the world that makes the United Methodist connection so capable.  When we work together, even the smallest gestures of help and the tiniest trickle of money join together with many others to form a great torrent of blessings for those in need.  God bless you all.

Pastor Brian Dale

Posted by Brian Dale with

A Recipe for Overcoming Misery

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What is the recipe for overcoming misery? The late Reverend Ed Chandler used to teach that the root word for miserable is “miser.” A miser, according to Webster, is one who will live in discomfort in order to accumulate wealth. This attitude over time can make a person miserable. The remedy for this, of course, is being generous instead of miserly and joyous instead of miserable.

A life-long miser is constantly uptight and misses the joy of letting go. When we let go, we come into a giving posture. Joy comes when we give to the Lord. Our highest motivation in giving is two-fold. First, we give to the Lord to glorify Him. Second, we give in response to our gratitude for all His blessings. When we are motivated to give first to the Lord out of gratitude, we will reap joy and not misery. The Scripture inspires us to be motivated to give out of our worship and love of the Lord.

(Psalm 24:1) We cannot out-give God. Everything we have already belongs to Him. The Psalmist says “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.” Just think of how absurd it would be to offer God what already belongs to Him. Yet, God chooses to make us stewards of all in the world.

(Malachi 3:10) A tithe (10 percent of our income) is the most measurable standard of giving to God in the Bible. The tithe honors God first with the first ten percent of what we have. Most tithers I have known speak of this as a blessing that positively impacts every area of their lives as well as a needed spiritual discipline. “‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room for it.’”

(2 Samuel 24:24) The willingness to make sacrifices helps us grow. When we sacrifice, we are able to worship more fully. King David said “I will not sacrifice that to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.”

(Matthew 6:21) The amount is not as important as the heart. If we have very little, we can still be commended by God. The widow who gave the mite was commended by Jesus for she gave all she had, as condescending onlookers gave out of their abundance. Jesus also said “where your treasure is, there is your heart also.” Our heart is the focus when we give treasures in Heaven.

(2 Corinthians 9:6) A spirit of generosity is also commended in the Scripture “whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.”

(2 Corinthians 9:7) God loves a cheerful giver. Joy is the right spirit in which to give. “Each of you should give what you have decided to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

Thank you for giving to the Lord through Shalimar United Methodist Church! Our generosity makes a difference. Generosity leads to an atmosphere of joy and away from misery. May this joy abound in our congregation!


Posted by Philip McVay with

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