Pastor Grateful for Church’s Improved Financial Health

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By Rev. Doug Walker, Senior Pastor of Wilmington Island UMC

Over 25 years ago, Wilmington Island UMC in Savannah was blessed to receive a gift from Mr. Bill Satterwhite and Mrs. Lucy Baker. They both loved WIUMC and wanted to ensure that our congregation would prosper in the future. They both gave sacrificially to this church, and we are still reaping the benefits today. We invested these gifts with The Methodist Foundation (the South and North Georgia United Methodist Foundations merged in 2010 to become the Georgia United Methodist Foundation), and we have been connected to them ever since.

Our 700-member congregation has a vibrant ministry in our community and around the world. We actively support Operation Christmas Child, Feeding at Savannah’s Forsyth Park, Souper Bowl of Caring, Wesley Community Center, Mission on the Move, and many other organizations.

Family Promise is one of our special outreach ministries that helps families with children who have come upon difficult times. For 10 years, our members have served meals, provided one-on-one support, and helped with transportation. This past year, one of the families we helped became members of our congregation and have gotten integrated into several ministries of the church.

Thankfully, our investments with the Foundation have given us stability. Last year during the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr. Rick Lanford (GUMF regional vice president) provided leadership to our Stewardship Consecration Focus.

As a pastor, I cannot express enough gratitude for him. Dr. Lanford came to us with enthusiasm and wisdom on how to move our congregation from deficits to surpluses. We are now considering ways to grow our church’s outreach and impact upon God’s world. We are no longer approaching our church’s ministry with a “scarcity” perspective but with what the Apostle Paul says, “And my God shall supply every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” Amen. We have much gratitude to God and the people He has provided to help us get back on track.