The last several weeks have been very busy for our Church as we prepared for Charge Conference, and as we continued to be in ministry with one another. I would like to thank everyone who serves on a committee and who gave of themselves to help us prepare for Charge Conference. I would also like to thank the UMW for the wonderful salad lunch and for their help in welcoming our District Superintendent, Rev. Mark Norman, on Oct. 21 as we shared a meal with him before our Charge Conference. As a part of our Charge Conference Report to the District office, I am asked every year to submit a report that addresses some of the great things that have happened in our Congregation over the last year, as well as some of the challenges we face as we move into the next one. I would like to share my report with you in this month’s newsletter.
Pastor’s Report to the 2015 Charge Conference
First United Methodist Church of Sheridan
As we enter this time of holy conferencing, I would like to take this opportunity to tell you how grateful I am to serve as the Pastor of Sheridan FUMC. I have been blessed over the last two years to get to know each of you and to be in ministry with such a mission minded congregation. I am looking forward to our continued ministry, especially as we continue to envision what God has planned for our future!
Over the last year, there have been several sightings of spiritual transformation in our lives and ministry together. First, we helped to lead our Ministerial Alliance through a second year of ministry as we planned and completed our second Summer Feeding Program. This year’s program served 3500 meals to children in need throughout the summer, about 2600 more meals than last summer. By being able to partner with the Sheridan and Poyen School districts we were able to add more feeding sites that enabled us to serve these additional meals. It also offered us the opportunity at FUMC to be in ministry with several families through Vacation Bible School. I would like to thank all of this year’s volunteers and Mike Carpenter, our Summer Feeding Program Coordinator, for leading us and the Ministerial Alliance through this year’s very successful and effective program, and we look for next year’s program to serve even more children.
Secondly, I believe that we have begun to experience spiritual transformation in our worship and study together. At the beginning of the year the Worship Team introduced new music for us to use during our worship services which has allowed us to become more intentional in how we plan worship around a weekly theme. These songs have added new life into our singing during worship, and have given us some new favorites. Also, as we began “The Story” program at the start of the school year, every Sunday school class from Pre-K to our most mature adults are joining together in reading and learning about God’s story for the world and our community. The program began with the ‘gifting’ of over 200 age appropriate Bibles to our youngest to oldest members. This program has also enabled us as a congregation to worship around the themes of “The Story” that we might all grow in our knowledge and ability to participate in God’s story. I have personally enjoyed preaching through “The Story” over the last 9 weeks, and am looking forward to continuing “The Story” through the end of the school year. I am excited about what God has revealed to us so far, and the deepening call to ministry that God is placing in our lives together.
As we enter into a new year, we will have some challenges to face, and I believe that with God’s help we will be successful in meeting them! First, the Vision Team and Trustees are considering ways to use our facility more effectively for our ministry. We have some Sunday school classes in need of more space and we would like to address those needs. We also are considering ways for our children to be safer on Sunday morning, and we are considering moving all Sunday school classes to one building. Secondly, the PPR committee identified that we have struggled to be effective in young adult ministry, and that this has been a challenge for us in the past. We would like to be more intentional in our conversations for our ministry with this age group. Thirdly, as we have noted Childhood hunger is a large concern in our area. We have taken steps to address this need, but know that there is much more that can be done.
I am blessed to be your Pastor, and am grateful that God has brought us together to serve in ministry in this time and in this place! I also know that the plans God has for us are even greater than we could imagine, as we are discovering through “The Story!”
In His Service,
Rev. John Embrey
The Story in November
November 1 Chapter 11 Young David
November 8 Chapter 12 King David
November 15 Chapter 13 Solomon
November 22 Chapter 14 The Kings of Israel
November 29 The Beginning of our Advent Study