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Hurricane Michael

What a week this has been as reality continues to set in of the devastation of Hurricane Michael. Let us continue to remember in prayer our neighbors to the east. There are some members of our congregation that have also experienced losses from the storm. Let us hold in prayer all affected by Hurricane Michael.

Also, let us continue to show our love through our financial giving in this catastrophic time of need. Thank you for what you have already generously and quickly given. I am so honored to serve as your pastor in a church that is so generous in times of need!

This week I have heard of our congregation members offering love and support to our neighbors to the east of us in the recovery from Hurricane Michael. I am grateful to our members who have traveled to Panama City and served in such a time as this. We also have members who have opened their homes to evacuees seeking to find some sense of normalcy.

Our first church team is heading over to Panama City Thursday, Oct. 18 to deliver some essentials such as bottled water, gas, baby food, non-perishable food, and gift cards. I’m grateful to our lay volunteers who are traveling with me to be of help. Thank you, congregation, for your generous outpouring of supplies to those in need. We will continue to look for the best ways possible going forward in which our church of great resources and wonderful leaders can be of the best help in this devastating time for so many.

Our Annual Conference is also keeping us informed of ways to help. See below for the latest information as of this writing for our consideration as well. Please notice there is a word about training and the appeal for Stephen Ministers.

Hurricane Michael Disaster Response, October 17, 2018 (Annual Conference)

Many of you have expressed interest in how you can immediately help the survivors of Hurricane Michael. Prayer, monetary donations directly to the conference, and supplies are ways you can help now. The United Methodist Church has a history of being in storm-damaged areas for the duration and will be in partnership with the Gulf Coast for years to come.

Commercial grade tarps larger than 16 x 20, roofing nails and furring strips are in great demand. Our district collection sites are prepared to accept those items in addition to the previously announced supply list.
We are now making our first calls for in-conference trained ERT teams who can be self contained (bring your own food, water, gas and either have your own housing/lodging or enter and leave the same day). These teams are needed to clean up debris and tarp roofs. If you can serve in this way, contact Katie Winton at 205.381.2356. There are also several upcoming trainings in the coming days. Click here for information. Assessments are needed in order to apply for our another UMCOR grant.

We also need people to serve food and distribute supplies in certain areas (no ERT training required but an ERT-trained leader or participant in the group is needed). If you can serve in this way, please contact Katie Winton at 205.381.2356.

Rev. Britney Toner has published a list of items she is transporting to the Port St. Joe area. Community Life UMC in Gulf Breeze, FL, is collecting these items.

Stephen ministers will be needed to work shifts to listen and pray with those who have survived this tragedy. Contact Rev. Ashley Davis for more information and to register. 

We will frequently continue to update these needs and communicate that to the conference. Thank you to everyone who is bringing hope and the love of Christ to those who need it most.

 

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Quick Updates From a Most Unusual Week

Our busy church schedule abruptly changed a few days this week, as a result of preparing for Hurricane Michael. We had a short office week and many of our normal programs where canceled. As of this writing, we know Michael left a trail of devastation to the east of us, Panama City, Mexico City Beach, and many other surrounding communities. Our hearts and prayers go out to all our neighbors impacted by the destruction of this powerful hurricane. We will be learning and assessing in the coming days how we can be of most help to all victims of destruction. In the meantime, we encourage everyone to give a special offering to help with relief of Hurricane Michael. Make check payable to SUMC and mark in the memo line HURRICANE MICHAEL.

Our weekend of worship will be very special! Shalimar will host a guest preacher from Cuba and our annual Laity this weekend, October 13-14. You may want to worship several times this weekend as each service will be different. We will have both Rev. Andreś Gonzalez of Cuba and our laity leading our worship this weekend. Andreś is the pastor of our sister church, First United Methodist Church, in Ceigo, Cuba. Our Cuba Mission team has been instrumental in helping our sister church in the last five years in Cuba. Pastor Andreś will bring the message at our Saturday Night Service (October 13) and our 11:07 service (October 14). He will also speak during the Sunday School hour in the Family Life Center. Our laity will be bringing the messages at the 8:00 am, 9:30 am, and 11:00 am services. We look forward to hearing from our laity and pastor Andreś during this special weekend.

In addition to lifting up Laity Weekend, I would like to thank our Lay Leader, Beth Russell. Beth has organized the laity weekend and also offered indispensable leadership as Lay Leader the last three years. In all my years in ministry, I am not sure I have ever encountered such dedication among laity. Beth is one of the reasons for this wonderful spirit for lay ministry. We are grateful for Beth and all our laity that serve so faithfully at Shalimar United Methodist Church.

We heard Bishop Graves at the Town Hall meeting last Sunday at Navarre UMC. (We had a about twenty persons from our congregation attend the town hall meeting). Bishop Graves spent about an hour answering questions and sharing his heart about the called session of General Conference. Bishop Graves was clear and honest in saying in such times we need to be most concerned in: 1) Leading people to Jesus. 2) We need the power of the Holy Spirit. 3) We need to be committed to the truth. 4) In such times, we need the grace of Jesus. 5) He also challenged us to live in covenant together. Let us be in prayer for our Bishop and all in leadership of our denomination, as we prepare for General Conference in February.

It has been a different kind of week. Let us remember those who have been impacted by Michael and offer our prayers and gifts to UMCOR.

Shalom, 
Philip

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Upcoming Events This Week

Our Bishop, David Graves, will be leading a town hall meeting for the Pensacola District this Sunday, October 7th. The event will be held at 3:00 pm and hosted by Navarre United Methodist Church. This event is important. I’m asking those of you concerned about the upcoming General Conference to attend. I will also be attending and will look forward to hearing from our Resident Bishop. The Town Hall meeting is open to all. My hope is attending this session will lessen some of the anxiety about the upcoming General Conference in St. Louis in February. There is additional information about the Town Hall meeting preparation that you can access at www.awfumc.org.

As we approach General Conference, we are facing some other unknowns
about the future. We are preparing to initiate the beginning phase of our Master Plan in 2019. Our church is anticipating a capital campaign also in 2019. It is not by chance that we are preaching about the Red Sea Rules which teach us to trust God and continue going forward in times of uncertainty. We seek not to go backward, be lost in confusion, be stuck, but rather to go FORWARD trusting God with the future. The Red Sea Rules and other Biblical teachings, prayer and fasting and our recent Alive at Shalimar event, all are preparing us for the future.

Our church has both challenges and opportunities ahead. I look forward to
journeying with you through this time. Historically, the church has always risen up in times of challenge. In my heart, this is what I sense is going to happen in the next year. We will emerge even more Biblical and Discipleship focused. Our church in the midst of the challenges is being blown forward by fresh breezes of the Holy Spirit. I fully expect this to be a great time for the church.

Please remember to offer your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness in such times. The level of our commitment, discipleship, and leadership ultimately determine how far we can go as a church. In anticipation, some of you are ready to be more involved, so I will be forming a third year of 12x12 in January. Let me know if you are interested!

Shalom, 
Philip

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