“2018 in Review”
We have prepared our end-of-the year report package. It’s available in the back of the sanctuary and in the church office. For my December Pastor’s Page, I want to share with you my 2018 pastor’s report. First of all, we are here as a church to “make new disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.” Let this set the tone for my remarks.
2018 marks my eighth year as pastor here in Spearfish. For me personally it has been a rich and full year, and so it has also been for the church.
Spearfish UMC’s 2018 at a glance:
– It has been a heavy year for funerals, a joyful year for weddings, and a good year for baptisms. We as a church are powerfully engaged in the community as we guide people in the basics of our Christian faith in these very basic events.
– We celebrated Rev. Grace Huck’s funeral as she passed away in August at the age of 102.
– We have fourteen 7th and 8th graders in Confirmation this year.
– Northern Hills Sources of Support (NHSOS) saw an enormous leap of growth this year and is now an organization independent of our church as a 501C3 organization. It is beginning to become active in the community as a functional assisting organization. Although the progress has been dramatic, there is a lot of progress that is yet to be made in 2019.
– As we have been in the past, we maintain a very active interdenominational participation with other churches in town and a very active interaction with our Northern Hills United Methodist ministry team.
– Our Children, Youth, and Family Ministry Team (CYFM) has had a fantastic year as we completely remodeled our children’s area upstairs, introduced our new ―Orange‖ curriculum, and have our Children’s Church program. It is still fairly small, but the strength is huge. We had a very good year in Vacation Bible School with there being more children from the surrounding community participating than there were from Children First. Our weekly Nursery program under the leadership of Carrie Swanson continues to be a powerful asset for us.
– Children First (CF) is thriving with continued strong administrative leadership. We are working hard as a church to reach out into the CF families by inviting them over to our side of the parking lot with Muffins for Moms, Donuts for Dads, and Goodies for Grandparents. We provide Mac n’ Cheese days for the students on a regular basis. I love to go over to read to the kids, as do other volunteers. We have repainted and re-carpeted the hallway. A strong scholarship program is part of our outreach to CF.
– Our youth program continues to thrive as each year we send somewhere in the vicinity of fifty to camp from our church with our scholarship program. We have about 16 down in our weekly middle school program with a smaller number in high school. Brenda Swanson keeps the kids busy with events inside and outside the church.
– We have seen deep stability in our governing structure this year. Trustees are fully functional. Our Stewardship/Finance team is guiding us to a very strong finish for the year. Council is seeking to guide us in new visioning directions following completion of MCCI last year. Nominations Committee has done a great job with our committee structure for the year that is to come.
– Our Congregation Care Ministry continues to be extremely effective in meeting the care needs of our congregation.
– College ministry happens with students coming over to our house on a regular basis for Sunday night suppers. We engage as many as possible in the daily life of the church and pay attention to their needs. We are always working to involve them in the every-day life of our church.
– Members of the church participated in mission trips this year to the Dominican Republic; Racine, WI, Puerto Rico, and Tree of Life ministries in Mission, SD.
– We strengthened our music ministry through the addition of new worship team members and growth in our Sanctuary choir. There were two big…actually huge… transitions for us this year in worship. The first was that John Elving, our worship coordinator died. This has been a tremendous blow to John’s family and to our church family. We continue to walk with Babs, his wife, as we seek a new balance in life. The second was that Donna Golliher retired as our head organist. We beautifully transitioned with Emma McKirdy-Wilsey as our new head organist.
Looking ahead to 2019
– We are excited to introduce Children’s Church into the 10:30 Sanctuary Worship.
– We are hoping that this will be the year to introduce a traveling Vacation Bible School (Sidewalk Sonday School) into our summer.
– General Conference will be meeting in February to discuss issues of human sexuality. We know there will be denominational changes occurring, so we are in prayer for this moment.
– We are developing deeper resources in order to become a Regional Church leader, helping to supply preaching and leadership resources to the surrounding United Methodist congregations.
May God add the blessing as we continue to reach out into our Northern Hills community and around Spearfish to build the Kingdom of God.