Dear Magnolia UMC and friends,
As I Imagine the Possibilities for Magnolia UMC, I want to let you know how thankful I am for you. I am grateful to God and to Magnolia UMC for this opportunity to make a difference for the Kingdom. This last year has been a joy to serve the Lord with you as pastor at Magnolia UMC. It has been a remarkable season of ministry with absolutely wonderful people both in Magnolia UMC and the Magnolia area.
Since July 1, 2017, we have experienced amazing ministry as a blessing. I would like to remind you of these blessings by giving you a “small snapshot” of where we have been blessed this last year, where we are currently blessed, and where we would like to see God’s blessings in the future.
- Where we have been blessed this year:
Vision and Direction: We are reiterating what the church leadership values.
- This last year, our church evaluated “who we are” and “what we are about” through Colinas Way with Gifford Long, and discerned 4 Core Values in which we plan to adhere: Worship, Education, Fellowship, and Service
- Our Spring theme was “a home for every heart” in Magnolia for 180 years… and that same grace-filled love for God and others lives on today in 2018.
Financially: We are in a sound financial position moving into the Fall, but will be praying.
- We paid our Apportionments 100% last year.
- The Parsonage was remodeled (new floors, carpet, bathroom, kitchen, club house).
- The Sanctuary was re-roofed.
- Members in our church funded one scholarship for an LPI student.
Membership & Attendance: We have grown at a manageable yet somewhat accelerated rate.
- 30 people joined our church, going from 168 to 193, increasing approximately 15%. (-5 members due to death or removal of membership ).
- We had a significant increase in our Worship Attendance.
- Our Chancel Choir has doubled.
- Our Christmas Eve service play (151) and Easter Sunrise (70) services were more than quadrupled.
- We have had 3 members go on to be with our Lord in life after death, baptized 2 infants, baptized 3 new believers, and confirmed 5 confirmands.
Children & Youth Ministry focus on Families: MUMC wished to reach younger families.
- A new Youth and Children’s Director Joshua Jones was hired.
- Children’s Church and our Acolyte ministry was restarted.
- A new Confirmation Class had 5 confirmed.
- Youth Events and weekly Youth Meetings are drawing students.
- Trunk or Treat had over 100 people attend.
- Easter Egg Hunt attracted over 60 people.
- We had 2 Lydia Patterson Institute Interns this summer.
Special Events: We leveraged special events to draw people in with which to build relationships.
- 180th Celebration of Magnolia UMC had Servelation, a Carnival, and special services for leaders in our church and community.
- We sponsored a 5k run with our Magnolia Fitness Center in the local Unity Park.
- Houston Methodist Hospital Sunday, including Chaplains from the HM Hospital.
- God Squad small group ministry engaged over 40 people.
- Our church made a Christmas Parade Float placed 2nd.
- Super Bowl Party attracted many youth and their families.
- Boy Scout Sunday reached out to dozens of Scouts in our community.
- We went to two Astros games with complementary seats for our church and their friends.
- We started a Church Band that has led in worship a few times.
- Partnered with PVAMUMC for worship on Maundy Thursday.
- Freedom Fest – Magnolia UMC hosted an outdoor concert to honor those who have served our country and the freedom with which we worship, partnering with Camp Hope Chaplain Samuel Askins and the Magnolia Cowboy Church.
- We started “God is Big Enough” theme for our church.
- Our Youth and Children had a Back to School Sunday with the Blessing of the Backpacks in bless “All of God’s Children.”
Mission: Our people were excited to reach out to the community.
- Over 300 people ate Thanksgiving Dinner at our Community Luncheon.
- We helped many families after Hurricane Harvey, partnering and reconciling with Wildwood UMC.
- We donated over 700 boxes of Macaroni and Cheese to SOS to help feed families this summer.
- Homework Helpers served 10 families weekly as MUMC helped “All of God’s Children” with their homework or reading.
- “Servelation” assimilated our people into 8 work teams to serve our community on a Sunday morning.
- We opened our doors to Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Tops, Weight Watchers, Raj Hope (a special needs ministry), and the Magnolia Fitness Center.
- Our first “Faith on Tap” partnered with our neighbor (Lone Pint) to reach out into the community with the Gospel.
- Leah Taylor led a Texas Methodist Foundation seminar entitled “Getting your House Straight” as we made plans for the future.
- VBS and Triumph Sports Camp were a blessing at Magnolia UMC, where we doubled our VBS from last year (70 in all, with 40 kids and 30 volunteers).
- We hosted Faith UMC from Orange, TX, for two days and had a worship service with the Restore Youth Team and Keith Tilley preaching
- We hosted a Youth Mission Team from Lake Highlands UMC as our UMW cooked dinner for them and they worshiped with our youth.
- Our Youth Ministry sent 10 (8 kids and 2 leaders) to Lakeview Methodist Camp (for the first time).
Speakers: We had a variety of speakers who were distinguished to reconnect our congregation to the Texas Annual Conference. Our congregation responded very well to some quality leaders and preachers such as:
- Bishop Scott Jones, Bishop of the Texas Annual Conference
- Kip Gilts, District Superintendent of North Central District
- Evelyn Cox, Retired Pastor and member at Magnolia UMC
- Steve Wende, Retired Senior Pastor of First Methodist Houston
- Charles Millikan, Vice President of Spiritual Care at Houston Methodist Hospital
- Socorro De Anda, President of Lydia Patterson Institute
- Morris Matthis, Church Growth and Development Director
- David Meeker-Williams , Previous Interim Pastor at Magnolia UMC
- Chaplain Dave Wethington, Chaplain at Houston Methodist Hospital
- Joshua Jones, Youth and Children’s Director at Magnolia UMC
- Monica Pernico and Fatima Tarin, Lydia Patterson Institute Ministry Interns
- Leah Taylor, Texas Methodist Foundation Representative
- Greg Oberg, Sam Houston State University Wesley Foundation Pastor
- John Esquivel, Texas Annual Conference Lay Leader
- Keith Tilley, Senior Pastor from Faith UMC, Orange, TX
- Chaplain Samuel Askins, Chaplain for Camp Hope
- Steve Ramsdell, retired Waco FUMC Senior Pastor, leader of God is Big Enough ministries
- Many speakers from the area during our 180th celebration
Personal Witness to the Community and Texas Annual Conference: I have personally grown this year as I have built solid relationships and connected to people in the community.
- I am the new Chaplain to the Magnolia Rotary Club.
- I am a new Board Member to Society of Samaritans, a local missions agency.
- I coached The Red Sox Magnolia Baseball Association Little League Baseball team.
- I am a part of Magnolia Minister’s Association, hosting a special breakfast and working closely with them in water bill issues with the churches and city.
- I was the Assistant Spiritual Director to the Emmaus Men’s Walk #94.
- I often lead the invocation or support my youth director as members of the Greater Magnolia Area Chamber of Commerce.
- I hosted a Lydia Patterson Institute dinner at Leah Taylor’s house to gain support.
- I am a new Board of Trustees member to the Lydia Patterson Institute.
- I led a seminar on Young Adults at the Central North District Training.
- I had my last year of the Advanced Pastoral Leadership Cohort IV membership.
- I have truly enjoyed being a part of a God Squad and a Men’s Small Group.
For Continuing Education: As a life-ling learner, I am continually finding ways to be stretched, grow, and experience new frontiers of education.
- I went to Paisano Church Camp in July by Marfa, TX.
- I went to my final APL seminar in Oct. at Asbury Seminary, KY.
- I am in a Covenant Small Group with other UM pastors called “The Wild West Group.”
- I went to the Elder’s Retreat at Lakeview in Palestine, TX.
2. Where we are currently blessed:
Coming Up: We are making plans now for the immediate future.
- August 26, we will “Remember Hurricane Harvey” with Rev. Scott Moore, Director of Center of Missional Excellence, giving a testimony of our church’s response.
- September 2, we will “Remember our Baptism”
- During September, we will have a Stewardship Campaign.
- September 15, Renaissance on the Stroll outreach event and parking lot fundraiser.
- September 22, All-Church Bazzar & Tour de Magnolia TAC Bike Race.
- October 5, UMW Tour of the Methodist Home in Waco, TX
- October 11-15, Mission Trip to Lydia Patterson Institute in El Paso, TX.
- October 28, Trunk or Treat outreach to our community.
- Where we would like to see God’s blessings in the future:
Prayerfully, please consider where you see God’s leading and potential blessings as dream together and look forward to the possibilities of 2018-2019.
Again, it is such a blessing to serve the Lord with you here at Magnolia UMC. I am so grateful to serve with such a beautiful, kind, loving, and supportive church. I am looking forward to what God has for us together as we embark on this new school year!
Take care, and God bless you, your family, and Magnolia UMC!
Pastor Mark Welshimer