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How to Remember Day of the Week in this Wacky Time

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The other day, Karen asked me “Why are you doing what you normally do on Saturday?” I responded, “It is Saturday!” Have you ever lost track of the days of the week? Do you need your phone to not only tell you the time of the day but what actual day it is? These past eight weeks have been the wackiest days, weeks, and months of our lives!

Dr. Howard Goodpaster said that if it were not for Livestream worship, he would not have any idea what day of the week it was! What a profound statement that is true historically and certainly Biblically.

Remembering the Sabbath is one of God’s big ten! The fourth commandment teaches us to “Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). There is a Biblical tradition of remembering the days of the week based on beginning the Sabbath.

Through the years, I have heard church members say if they miss worship on Sunday, it throws their whole week out of whack. I do concur with such a statement! Beginning the week with worship is not only a good idea, it is also God’s idea and command!

In these wacky coronavirus times, I would invite us to “Remember the Sabbath” more than ever before. We need the rest, worship, and renewal all the more. Why not use this time to recalibrate the rest of our lives? God created us to maintain a rhythm of working six days instead of all seven. Have we forgotten to start each week worshipping God and resting on Sunday?

Could we make Sunday our reference point to know what day of the week it is? Could this be one takeaway from the coronavirus crisis-that we prioritize the Sabbath and reset our clocks on Sunday? Whenever our time of gathering publicly returns, the Sabbath remains the Sabbath! Or said another way, “You can take the people out of the church building on Sunday, but you cannot take the Sabbath out of the people!”

Hope to see you on Livestream this week at 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, and 11:07 am as we continue to learn from John 3:16.

Shalom,
Philip

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New Covid-19 Task Force Formed

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Our resident Bishop, David Graves, has asked each local church to form a COVID-19 task force which will be needed to navigate safely and with confidence to reenter in person worship and other ministry programs. As a result of the Bishop’s recommendation, we will form a task force to help us plan for the months ahead.

Why do we need our own task force at Shalimar UMC? For one reason, there are no two churches exactly alike. The reentering of public gatherings will vary depending upon the size of the church, the number of worship services, and of course the numbers of people involved. The task force will assess how to make our specific campus safe from the spread of COVID-19. Second, we are a very active and vibrant church. There is so much to consider in addition to worship. The weekday ministries that occur in addition to worship happen almost every day of the week and vary in numbers of people. The COVID-19 task force will seek to implement best practices for reentering all phases of our church life.

Who will be on this task force? The task force will be led by our Lay Leader, Angie Turnbow. Our staff point person will be Brad Bradford and we will have expert representatives on the team. Dr. Eric Fortenberry has agreed to help us as an active physician. We will have Trustees Chair, Dr. Howard Goodpaster and Angelina Savage, a nurse. Other members of the team will include Terry Rowe and Duke Eliason. Staff will include Church Administrator, Scott Newbold and Program Director, Kim Margold. The other pastors will serve as needed. The Lead Team, Jeff McInnis, Church Council, Wendy Thomas, Staff Parish, David Mobley, Finance Chair and I will be ex-officio members and will serve as needed. Please pray for this team as they have their first meeting this Thursday.

Task force Members

  • Angie Turnbow - Taskforce Chair, Lay Leader
  • Brad Bradford - Staff Point Person, Worship Pastor
  • Dr. Eric Fortenberry - Active Physician
  • Dr. Howard Goodpaster - Trustees Chair
  • Angelina Savage - Hospital Nurse
  • Terry Rowe
  • Duke Eliason
  • Scott Newbold - Administrator
  • Kim Margold - Program Director

ex-officio Members

  • Jeff McInnis - Church Council Chair
  • Wendy Thomas - SPRC Chair
  • David Mobley - Finance Chair
  • Pastor Philip
  • Pastor Brian
  • Pastor Faith
  • Pastor David

Our immediate future is unknown, but we do know we will worship only by Livestream until May 17. We will continue to follow the guidelines of the President, Governor, Centers for Disease Control, and our Bishop in bringing things back. We look forward to the upcoming guidance and recommendations of our task force which will be more specific to Shalimar UMC.

In the meantime, as noted before, our church is not closed in this time. In some ways, our church has been more impactful than ever before. We are being the church in a different way. The good news of Jesus is still being proclaimed and our serving continues! Can you imagine Shalimar United Methodist Church back together in person again along with what we have learned about being the church in a time such as this? These are tough days, no doubt, yet for God’s people, hope is always just ahead! I sure do miss seeing you and I am praying we will be together soon!

Shalom,
Philip

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Stepping Up & Stepping Into Ministry In This Extraordinary Time

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Our church continues strong in ministry during these most challenging times! How is this possible? Our congregation and staff are stepping up and stepping into ministry during this important time for the church. Our previous work as a church has helped move us toward the future. The Good Lord is blessing us in these times so let us remember to praise Him from whom all blessings flow!

Our faithfulness to God has stepped up and into the ministry of this unexpected time. We have a very loyal congregation! You meant it when you joined the church and offered your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. You continue to stay connected and being the church. Your faithfulness in giving is incredible in such a time. You are making a great impact so thank you!

Our lay leadership is stepping up and into ministry. The Lead Team, Staff Parish, Finance, Trustees, Missions, Worship Leadership, Audio and Technical Support, Blessings for Children, small group leaders, Sunday School teachers, and other leaders are stepping up and into the many opportunities presented right now.

Shalimar UMC made the good decision to go to Livestream worship services years ago. I was not here but have heard the story that some visionary members championed the cause before anyone really knew what the benefits were. Last Sunday, we had over 1,000 people impacted through our worship. This again included over 20 states. Below is a thank you from one of our own members, Terry Silvester, and a photo of last Sunday from Stephanie Parham of her son watching a Livestream service.

“So, thanks for being there, and thanks for the online steaming. I'm sure a couple of years ago when someone suggested setting up online streaming, we thought it was a little unnecessary. How blessed we are that you had it set up and the glitches worked out when this virus came along. Please thank the online streaming team for their foresight and for all their work in making this happen every week.” -Terry Silvester



Our staff is stepping up and into ministry in this unusual time. The staff may be working from home, but the work goes on and has increased in quality! Stories will emerge of all the work that has kept the church moving forward. Thank you to all the staff for their amazing work and incredible resilience. I believe our staff is functioning at the highest level of cooperation and teamwork since I have been here.

We have so many in the congregation that are silent servants. Thank you for the many spontaneous acts of care and kindness toward our community. Many of our silent servants have stepped up during this time of uncertainty with so much love and compassion.

The coronavirus makes it difficult for us to know what our immediate or long-term future will look like. Based on what I observe, though, this uncertainty will only strengthen Shalimar United Methodist Church. After only six weeks, I am so proud of our congregation! Let us remain humble before the Lord as we get through this time one day at a time, trusting and confident of His victory in the future!

Shalom, 
Philip

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