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Things to Know Before June 2nd

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Our congregation is considering building plans that will impact our future with a congregational vote at Church Conference on June 2nd. In the upcoming Beacons, I will include things I would like you to know before that time. Below are some of my initial thoughts.

Things to know…There will be a new FRONT ENTRANCE into a central common gathering area for the whole campus and will be connected to both the Sanctuary and Family Life Center. This front door will have multiple benefits including hospitality, function, and security. It will lead into a large gathering area where all worshippers can meet and greet each other before and after worship. This new area will be the center of our campus and offer a large hospitality space.

Things to know…Upcoming plans will bring more SECURITY to our campus. Presently, Shalimar UMC has over 60 exterior doors which make it confusing for guests, impractical in function, and unsafe for students and children. All these exterior doors add unnecessary risks to our campus. The new plan will simplify the flow of people through one major area and will reduce the use of multiple exterior doors while simplifying our security.

Things to know…Also included in the plans will be the addition of long overdue RESTROOMS. This is one of the most practical additions as they will be larger and more centrally located. We already know that our current restrooms are inadequate, inconvenient, and very inhospitable to guests. Think about it…Our traditional sanctuary building does not even have them. This means hundreds of worshippers (many with mobility issues) have to step outside the sanctuary and walk for several minutes to reach restrooms located in another building on campus. Our plans call for changes to add restrooms just steps away from both worship venues.

These new plans will help us live as one church family. Currently, we are pretty scattered throughout our campus in our worship, Sunday school, and weekly programs. Once we are able to enter through the same door, we will be encouraged to fellowship as one. Think about what a difference this could make to have a single central space where we would be less scattered and more gathered as one church family!

Next week, I will continue to add my thoughts about with "Things You Need to Know Before June 2nd - Part 2," "Things to Know Before June 2nd - Part 3," and "Things to Know Before June 2nd - Part 4."  Have a great week basking in the hope of the resurrection!

Shalom, 
Philip

Learn more about our Church Conference and the Master Planning Committee's plan here.

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Lent Leads to Easter Message!

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What a great Lent and Holy Week we are having at Shalimar United Methodist Church! On Palm Sunday, our chancel choir, orchestra, and worship and technical arts team did an amazing job with Two Crowns. A special thanks to Dr. Brad Bradford and his uncanny ability to always prepare the right message and musical for our special season of worship together! There were as many people in the chancel area participating in Two Crowns as I ever remember! We had good attendance in spite of the day’s early stormy weather.

Lent has been most special for those reading through the Gospel of Mark each day! Our forty days of Bible Study Through the Eyes of Mark concludes this week focusing on the Holy Week passages. What a journey this has been since Ash Wednesday over six weeks ago. We will have been in the sanctuary beginning each day for 47 straight days on Easter Sunday! I want to thank Henry Jablonski, Heather Lang, Moe Melanson, Terri Wilkins, Suzy Chapman, Les Morrill, Ed Keller, Heyward McKenzie, David Dale, and Joe Kocanowski for such strong support in preparing each one of the 40 days of Lent. What an experience to begin each day preparing to hear God through His word! The message of the Gospel of Mark is riveting and we have been inspired and transformed by these words.

Our Easter Fest was great last Saturday. Children, booths, rides, and fun were in abundance on our campus. We thank Jennifer Guidoni and her army of volunteers for such a great Saturday for the children! The Sunday prior, we received twelve (that’s a good biblical number) confirmands who were instructed by Rev. David Garvin. We celebrate the impact both Jennifer and David have made on children and students during their first year serving on staff at Shalimar UMC! What a difference they’ve made!

We conclude Lent with Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday worship! Sunday, of course, is Easter. Easter is a once a year day but a daily message for us all year. Seven words from the Gospel of Mark changed the world. “He is not here, He is risen!” The Easter message is one of victory! In Jesus we are victors over sin, evil, death, and eternal life! Friends, there is no greater message! Have a blessed and happy Easter!

Shalom, 
Philip

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The Farmer Said It’s Always Cold Just Before Easter

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Over thirty years ago, I lived in a parsonage on a dairy farm where the cows would wake me with their mooing most every day. The farmers taught me a lot about life on a dairy farm and I learned at least two lessons while living there.

One day, I saw a fence was down and I went out frantically searching for Farmer Earnest to let him know so his cows would not escape. I finally found him and he thanked me. Several days later, I saw the fence still on the ground unrepaired. I worried even more that the cows would find the opening and escape so I asked Earnest at church the next Sunday “are you not worried about your cows getting out?” “NO,” he responded. I asked why not and he said “I feed them and they know I will feed them!” The lesson from a farmer is feed your cows! Does this have application in the church? Absolutely! Preach the good news about Jesus! We need to feed our sheep with the teachings of Jesus! This was lesson one.

While serving this farm community, I attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta. I learned the date of Easter was set by the first full moon after the beginning of spring. This means the date of Easter varies each year. It can be as early as March 22 or as late as April 25. Sometime later, a farmer told me it always gets cold just before Easter. In an effort to dazzle him, I said not necessarily as it all depends on whether Easter falls earlier or later in spring. The farmer was unimpressed with my knowledge repeating, “It always get cold before Easter!”

Well, about thirty years have come and gone since that conversation and I must admit no matter when it falls on the calendar, it does always seem to get cold just before Easter. The farmer was right. What did I know? Lesson two was that it always gets cold just before Easter.

What is the spiritual message of it always getting cold before Easter? Well, each year, our faith can get cold. Life circumstances can drag us down into the chilly winds of despair. What do we need to take off the chill from our soul? We need the warm message of resurrection, victory, and hope!

According to the farmer “It is always cold just before Easter.” If our soul has grown cold, there is good news. There is a radiant warm front coming soon! I look forward to warming our souls together as we move through Holy Week and Easter!

Shalom, 
Philip

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