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Governor Orders Florida to Stay Home

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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis just put out the order for Florida residents to stay at home unless they are pursuing essential activities. President Donald Trump has also asked for continued social distancing and similar precautions through the month of April. Bishop David Graves had previously asked the churches of Alabama-West Florida to not hold in-person worship for the entire month of April. Let us be in prayer for our world, nation, state and local community during this extended time of staying home and heeding the caution to end the spread of this deadly Coronavirus.

We will continue to offer Livestream worship each Sunday at 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, and 11:07. Holy Week will offer additional Livestream services on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday at 7pm each evening. Given our unique circumstances and people’s greater need to worship now, I anticipate that those two services will set records for weekday Livestream services.

Our Easter services will be available by Livestream at 8:00, 9:30, 11:00 and 11:07. As previously noted, we will claim another date when we are able to worship together again and have an “EASTER CELEBRATION.” This means we will claim the promise of the early church that every Sunday is a “little Easter” and will have several this year! The Lord knows we can all use the resurrection of Jesus with all we are going through now!

Again, I would like to thank our worship arts, essential musicians, and technical people for making Livestream possible right now. We appreciate your service to us during this unprecedented time! The photos below are of each crew from last Sunday.

  



On a lighter note, even the ducks know something is up in this bizarre time and are practicing social distancing. I have two new friends and named them Shirley and Curly. My favorite leisurely activity is to turn on the TV after a long day and find a rebroadcast of a sports game in which I do not know who’s won. It’s not the same, but it helps. I hope you are also finding ways to find some rest at home.



I miss seeing you guys in the flock! I miss shaking hands and giving out hugs at the door. The sights, sounds, and laughter of Shalimar United Methodist cannot be replicated on Livestream and they are all greatly missed. I am truly hoping this Coronavirus will end soon!

Miss you and love you!
Shalom, 
Philip

 

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Odd Times, Unprecedented Challenges, and Our Church Steps Up!

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This is a most unprecedented time…a virus crisis. A pandemic in the likes we have never seen. We live in odd times. I have been considering the new oxymorons like being “separate together,” “socially distanced,” and yet “distantly connected.” Our Nation that had been bitterly divided only a few weeks ago, now has wonderfully united to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. We live in odd times. Even in a crisis, we are beginning to see the good that can come. I was speaking to one of our members today and he reminded me of a quote by Richard Bach, “There is no such thing as a problem without a gift.” What possible good could come from this pandemic?

We are starting to see people step up in response to our national crisis. I see it through our church too! I saw it this morning. One of our Administrative Assistants, Donna Whitney, decided she had been home long enough. Julie Covert, Brian Dale, and I joined Donna and took our love to our member’s doors. We made spontaneous visits to curbs, yards, and parking lots with wonderful signs saying, “Shalimar UMC loves you!” 

Our awesome staff is stepping up! They met by ZOOM and are functioning at high level to help our congregation through this crisis. Our lay people have also stepped up! Sunday School classes, Splash of Joy, 144 groups, Children’s Church, and Pastors Class are all meeting by ZOOM. Pastors are calling our members and will continue in the coming weeks. All in all, in some ways, we are better connected than a few weeks ago. God is helping us find different ways to be the Church in this most crucial and unprecedented time. Thank you for being the church when we need the Church the most!

I am proud of the way our church is rising above the circumstances and I am so honored to be your pastor! On the next page you can view photos capturing some of the different ways we have been connected and showing love this week!

Shalom,
Philip

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Thank you to Our AVL and Tech Team

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Let me give a big “SHOUT OUT” to all those on our AV and Tech Support ministry team for doing a phenomenal job last Sunday with the Livestream production of our worship. They all served with great enthusiasm, as they used their gifts when we needed them the most!

Last Sunday, we had at over 400 computers/devices logged in to our livestream. We likely impacted many more as we do not know everything about how many people tuned in with each device. We do know we had people livestreaming from 10 states including: Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Alabama, Virginia Wisconsin, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina.

Livestream will be our option for worship in the coming weeks. We would not be able to have this impact without our dedicated servants behind the scenes. Below are the individuals that make our AV and Tech support possible right now.

Joe Kocanowski, Renata Steiner, David Kid, Aiden Savage, Moe Melanson, Ron Judy, Hal Crowson, Allie Morse, Ron Morse, Steven Cardinez, Heather Lang, Tanner Dubose, and Brian Franklin.

Let’s give a big shout out to our AV and Tech Team this week! They are making our church online worship possible. We appreciate them all the time but especially now!

Let us be in prayer for our world, nation, and community as we move through this Coronavirus crisis together. Let us practice social distancing and follow the protocols to “flatten the curve” and prevent the spread of the virus. Social distancing or not, we will not cease to be the Church! Hope to see you on Livestream this week as I will be preaching at all our services on “What is the Kingdom of Heaven?”

Shalom,
Philip

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