Marianna-Panama City UMC District Office
Saturday, October 25, 2014


“Staying in Touch”

Charge Conference season is in full swing.  It has been a busy first few days.

I kicked off the season with preaching at Compass Lake UMC and then moving on to Grace UMC in Marianna for Homecoming.  It was wonderful to spend time with the churches and hear great singing and share in the spread of food.  The afternoon was filled with three conferences. 

Cypress – A church in a redesigned school like the one I attended when I was growing up in Stockton, AL.  The church has a monthly yard sale. The people bring items and the community benefits from the sale.  Rev. Bill Miller has been the pastor at Cypress since 1995.

Galilee – The church is located in a beautiful rural setting and has a huge outdoor covered tabernacle.  Rev. David Shepherd serves the church.

Salem – Rev. Steven Ashbrook, Jr. greeted us when we arrived at Salem.  Steven travels from Panama City to serve the church.  The people complimented Steven by observing that he memorizes all his sermons.  The church has recently added an expansion to their fellowship space. 

Black Creek – The people of the church are building their own new sanctuary.  They are excited about this and looking forward to future growth.  Pastor is Rev. Bill Hunter.

Wausau/Alford – Rev. Dalton Ott is a leader in the community and the churches are good about joining together to minister to the needs of the surrounding area.

Orange Hill – The church is excited to have Paul Smith come to be their supply pastor.  Paul is an active Lay Servant and has been an instructor in the program.  He has great vision for the church.

New Hope – This church has taken in new members this year and been involved in missional giving.  They are very visible to the community and hope to close in the outdoor pavilion soon to expand fellowship opportunities.  Rev. James Brooks is pastor.

Vernon/Otter Creek – The members of both churches beamed as they told of the ministry of their churches.  It is awesome to see the huge “Thrift Store” building at Vernon dedicated to offering affordable items for the people of the community.  Rev. Ron Alderman serves the church.

This past Sunday we had the opportunity to worship with Marianna First UMC and hear Rev. Bill Elwell.  It was a blessing to see the many children in the church as well as have the opportunity to celebrate “World Communion Sunday”.  We also worshiped at Bascom UMC with Rev. Wendell Beall.  The serenity of this church gave a peaceful setting to once again celebrate our Lord’s Supper.

Sneads – Rev. Dr. Ernie Gray witnessed to tremendous growth this year by receiving many new members on profession of faith.  They have a fantastic outreach program and are mission minded in their giving.  The church has a high level of weekly activities.

Shady Grove/Grand Ridge – Both churches have taken in new members this year.  Members of Grand Ridge shared that two little girls in their church raised over $1000 for the “Imagine No Malaria” campaign by decorating cans and selling baked goods.  Rev. Raymond Owens continues to need our prayers as he receives radiation treatment.

Marianna Grace/Compass Lake – I went back to this charge for the charge conference and celebrated the growth in numbers at Grace and new additions at Compass Lake.   Rev. Jim Harbert is the pastor.

Campbellton – This white church stands as a beautiful landmark in this community.  The church and grounds are pristine.  The people love to fellowship and serve one another.  Rev. Wendell Dinkins is the pastor.

Altha – I don’t think this congregation missed a single opportunity to observe all the special days in the life of the church year.  Rev. Martha Hyles loves to be creative in planning her worship services.  As a result, the church is receiving new members and is generous in giving.

Williams Memorial – The church catches your eye as you pass.  It is warm and inviting inside and out.  The church believes in supporting apportionments and giving 20% of offerings to missions over and above.  Pastor is Rev. Dr. Ken Taylor.

I will share more later, but I just wanted to give a quick snapshot of the amazing ministries going on in our district.  It proves you don’t have to be a BIG church to do BIG ministry!!






Office Phone:  850.215.1131   Fax:  850.215.1151  
Mailing Address: 
121 West 23rd Street Panama City, FL 32405
District Office Hours:
 Monday - Thursday 9:00am - 4:00pm