Dear Magnolia UMC and friends,
We are looking forward to a wonderful Christmas Season with “The Promise of Christmas!” We will be looking at characters of the Nativity Scene and see how relevant they are for us today. Some of our new families that have joined this year will be lighting the Advent Candles, our Choirs will be playing beautiful Christmas music, and our Sanctuary will be decorated for Christmas!
Last month we had our annual Charge Conference. Our leadership team met with our District Superintendent Rev. Kip Gilts and other churches as we gave an account for our ministries this year and look forward to what we feel God has for us in 2019.
I want to let you know how thankful I am for the Magnolia UMC charge. I am grateful to God and to Magnolia UMC for this opportunity to make a difference for the Kingdom. This last Charge Conference 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 the last Charge Conference in November 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 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 Rev. Gifford Long, and discerned 4 Core Values in which we plan to adhere: Worship, Education, Fellowship, and Service
• Our Spring theme was “Imagine the Possibilities… 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 this Fall, but will be praying.
• We paid our Apportionments 100% last year.
• We dedicated the Parsonage as it was remodeled in the summer of 2017 with new floors, carpet, bathroom, kitchen, and a club house.
• The Sanctuary was re-roofed.
• Members in our church funded one scholarship for an LPI student.
• We reconciled with our Insurance Company over claims.
Membership & Attendance: We have grown at a manageable yet somewhat accelerated rate.
• 34 people joined our church, with 25 professions of faith and 9 transfer of membership.
• Our Total Membership went from 178 to 204, increasing approximately 19%.
(-8 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 8 members go on to be with our Lord in life after death, baptized 3 infants, baptized 5 new believers, and confirmed 5 confirmands.
Children & Youth Ministry focus on Families: MUMC wished to reach younger families.
• Magnolia UMC supported our newly hired Youth & Children’s Director Joshua Jones.
• Children’s Church and our Acolyte ministry was restarted.
• Our Confirmation Class had 5 confirmed.
• Youth Events and weekly Youth Meetings are drawing students.
• Trunk or Treat had over 120 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
• 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 60 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 Rev. 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).
• Our Lydia Patterson Institute Mission Trip took Magnolia UMC to El Paso to witness the blessing of LPI first hand.
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
• Rev. Kip Gilts, District Superintendent of North Central District
• Rev. Evelyn Cox, Retired Pastor and member at Magnolia UMC
• Dr. Steve Wende, Retired Senior Pastor of First Methodist Houston
• Dr. Charles Millikan, Vice President of Spiritual Care at Houston Methodist Hospital
• Dr. Socorro De Anda, President of Lydia Patterson Institute
• Rev. Morris Matthis, Church Growth and Development Director
• Rev. 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
• Rev. Greg Oberg, Sam Houston State University Wesley Foundation Pastor
• John Esquivel, Texas Annual Conference Lay Leader
• Rev. Keith Tilley, Senior Pastor from Faith UMC, Orange, TX
• Chaplain Samuel Askins, Chaplain for Camp Hope
• Rev. Steve Ramsdell, retired Waco FUMC Senior Pastor, leader of God is Big Enough ministries
• Rev. Scott Moore, Director of Missional Excellence, TAC
• 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
• I am the new Chaplain to the Magnolia Rotary Club.
• I am a new Board Member to Society of Samaritans, a local missions agency, and Chairperson of the Church Liaison Committee.
• I coached the Red Sox and the Wolverines for the Magnolia Baseball Association Little League Baseball teams.
• 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 supported my youth director as a member 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, and am the Church Relations Committee Chairperson.
• I led a seminar on Young Adults at the Central North District Training.
• I have truly enjoyed being a part of a God Squad and a Men’s Small Group.
For Continuing Education: As a life-long learner, I am continually finding ways to be
stretched, grow, and experience new frontiers of well-rounded education and experience.
• I went to Paisano Church Camp in July by Marfa, TX, and will be preaching there this summer of 2019.
• 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.
• I went to the Refresh 2 CE event in September, and will be going to part two in January.
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 Charge Conference year!
Take care – God bless you, your family, and Magnolia UMC, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Pastor Mark Welshimer