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.