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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.


Posted by Philip McVay with

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

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!


Posted by Philip McVay with

Our Connection at Work

In the coming weeks in October, our congregation will be able to join with other United Methodists and see our connection at work. First, we are invited to help the Hurricane Florence victims. Second, we will be hosting and have an opportunity to hear Reverend Andrés Gonzalez from Cuba. Third, our laity will lead us this upcoming month in the United Methodist tradition of observing Laity Sunday each year. Fourth, everyone is invited to join our Bishop, David Graves, in an upcoming town hall meeting on October 7, 2018 hosted by Navarre United Methodist Church.

If you would like to help the victims in the Carolinas from Hurricane Florence you may give to United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR). Make check payable to SUMC and put in memo line UMCOR. UMCOR is already helping respond to the devastation of so many along the Eastern Seaboard. Our United Methodist Church is especially nimble in acting swiftly following disasters through UMCOR. Shalimar is also a collection point for flood buckets (health kits) for our Pensacola District. If you would like to know how to prepare a flood bucket (health kit) you can go to the website for an instruction guide. There has also been an appeal for rakes, flat blade shovels, and box fans. Karen and I are giving a special offering to UMCOR this week along with our weekly tithe. In the coming weeks, we will keep Shalimar aware of any additional ways we can help.

In a few weeks, October 13-14, Shalimar will host our annual Laity Weekend. We are grateful for the planning of our Lay Leader Beth Russell. This year, after the planning began, we learned Rev. Andrés Gonzalez will be in Shalimar for a visit this weekend. Andrés 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 Andrés will bring the message at our Saturday Night Service (October 13) and our 11:07 service (October 14). He will also speak during our Sunday School hour in the Family Life Center. We look forward to hearing from our laity and pastor Andrés during this special weekend.

Our Bishop, David Graves, will be leading a town hall meeting for the Pensacola District on October 7, 2018. The event will be held at 3:00 pm and hosted by Navarre United Methodist Church. I would like to encourage our lay leadership to attend. I would also like to invite anyone wanting to know about the upcoming special called session of General Conference in St. Louis in February. There is additional information about the Town Hall meeting preparation that you can access at