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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!


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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?”


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Corona Virus: Worship Virtual

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Dear Friends,

In love and concern for our congregation, and the interest of public health and safety, we are suspending all church worship and activities, starting March 15. (Click Here for the most recent info.) We are seeking to help stop the spread of the Coronavirus. This decision is on the side of caution. We value the health of our congregation, particularly those more vulnerable.  

Shalimar United Methodist Church seeks to lead by example. We also want to comply with the efforts of our President and other leaders stopping the spread of this virus. All citizen's compliance is needed to help our nation and world in this historical time. As a Church, we know our God is with us in such times.

The Church office will be open regular hours. Pastors and staff will be available to tend to the needs of our congregation.  

This decision was not easy. I consulted our laity Lead Team and Pastors, and they are supportive. If you read my Beacon post, you'll know my opinion shifted this afternoon. Not having people on campus, means we will be following the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control for the State of Florida. They ask for no gatherings of more than 250 people or people over 60 years of age. We meet both of these criteria. Major sports events and broadway plays were suspended for the same reasons.

There is good news. Livestream Worship will be available on Sunday! Services will be at their regular time: 8:00, 9:30, 11:00, and 11:07 am.

We invite you to tune into worship from home. As we will not have our worshippers physically in person, we ask that you maintain your giving this month online or sending your contribution by mail: PO Box 795, Shalimar, FL 32579.

I will be preaching on "What Heaven is Like" this Sunday. I invite you to tune in by Livestream:

Please keep our nation, world, and church in your prayers as we seek to get through this health crisis together by staying apart for a few weeks!  

Dr. Philip McVay
Lead Pastor

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