Welcome To My Church

If I were to try and introduce you to my church, Oak Harbor First United Methodist church on Whidbey Island, I think I would share these descriptions:

Oak Harbor FUMC has 170 years of “boots-on-the-ground” and “skin-in-the-game” ministry. We are on pastor #29 and will be getting ready to receive #30 on July 1, 2024. We have long been a church filled with many strong community and military leaders.

Oak Harbor is a small city of 25,000 people on the northern end of Whidbey Island.  This area has been home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island for 81 years. We are a navy town through-and-through, and are home to many military retirees. Our church family has a strong history of establishing ministry in and for the whole community. We founded the local food back, the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, aided in founding the local Haven overnight emergency shelter for those who are homeless, the city-wide Community Chorus and the historic Veteran’s Day Community service.

We grew to be a very strong discipleship church through the years, promoting the foundations of biblical mastery through Disciple Bible Study, Alpha, Small Groups, and Ray Vanderlin classes. We held three worship services at our peak, established a strong Steven Ministry, and flourished by most members attending and being transformed by the Walk to Emmaus.

Our Mission work in our community became the foundation of our faith being put into action. Small Groups would find ways of serving in the community, like meals at the S.P.I.N. Café for people in need. UMCOR became a huge outreach focus for our socially minded congregation who wants to be a helping and healing presence in our world. Youth Mission became a staple for teens to experience and express the passion and purpose of Christ in mission to the world. School supplies, Christmas gifts, and ongoing food and hygiene needs have long been a part of our stewardship life.

Covid threw a wrench in our church engine. Grinding to a halt and “sheltering in place” was an important strategy for health and welfare, but came with the very high price tag of lost members, money, and ministry. Our struggling children’s and youth programs died altogether. Our Nursery closed. Our small groups were cut down to three, and our mission outreach team is currently leaderless. We are a missional people struggling to find our path to renewed mission and vitality.

We are not done. We are still here. We love our church, and we want to serve our Lord in our community. We are seeking to use our facility to bless our community. We are now hosting a Saturday night new independent church start; we just hosted the S.P.I.N. Café this winter on our campus to have a warm shelter for people during the day; we have welcomed a Thursday night very large AA group onto our Campus; We are also now hosting Island County Parenting Classes.

We collect supplies and volunteer at our local Crescent Harbor Elementary School;  We continue to play host to our large community Chorus and to our previous Cub Pack 4059, largest Cub Pack in our district. One of our members has just birthed a brand new ministry called “Memory Café” to minister to local families with persons struggling with dementia, and we recently helped to host a joint discipleship summer series with four other churches.

We are Oak Harbor FUMC! We are strong and resilient. We are not done. We are still here! We are followers of Jesus, and we are ready for our next assignment. Come and Join us on our Kingdom Adventure!

God Be With Us!

Pastor David

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