We'd like to invite you to be a part of Christ's family that has a cherished past since 1834 and a very bright future. We are a very active church filled with things to do for every age from precious newborns to those full of the wisdom of many years on God's good earth and all those many wonderful times in between. There is a place for you here. We would love to be your church family and have you travel with us the journey of faith that grows and lasts a lifetime. Please explore our website to learn a little about us, then plan a visit so we can have an opportunity to serve you!
Dear Friends in Christ,
Let me introduce myself to you. I am Pastor Shelly Forrest---just call me Pastor Shelly. I have a husband, Mitch who is a social worker at the Central Illinois Agency on Aging in Peoria, and our children are Garrett (14) and Cece (11). The above left picture was taken with my parents and grandfather on last summer’s trip to Minnesota which is where I’m from.
I grew up just outside a mid-sized town that felt much smaller. It was safe, and had good schools. My home was a country school that was re-modelled into our house. My grandparents on both sides were farmers, and my father left the farm to be a tool and die maker, and now owns his own metal fabrication shop.
I have been a pastor since 1998 when I completed my studies at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, IL. My first church was in Johnston City, IL where I served for 7 years, then I was an associate pastor in Monticello for 4 years where my focus was on children and youth ministries, and I have been serving in El Paso for 7 years. Each place has brought us much joy and we have loved the people and the church each time. We look forward to knowing you as well! While I certainly love children and youth, I believe that the future of the church is in inter-generational ministry. We need to be one body.
I was born and raised in the United Methodist Church. Once I heard someone say, “I’m Methodist born, and Methodist bred, and when I die, I’ll be Methodist dead.” I love the United Methodist Church and am committed to helping it grow and be healthy.
The first memory in life that I have was my own baptism (at the age of about 3). Then, I did all the things that good church kids do---Sunday school, VBS, church camp, youth group, etc. So, part of my story is that I do not know a single moment in my life that Jesus was not my Lord and Savior. That’s a story I want all of our kids to have as well.
However, when I was in college, I experienced a dark time, and an incident that left me very broken. At an Upper Room/Last Supper re-enactment, I felt Jesus speak to me in a powerful way. It was as if he was saying directly to me, “this IS my body that was broken for you, and this IS my blood that was shed for you. I did this for YOU for the forgiveness of sins. How dare you carry this burden in your life?”
I am not grateful for the incident, but I am grateful for how God used it. God used it to place a strong sense of God’s grace in my heart. I am motivated by that grace. I am motivated to share the Jesus who would live for us and die for us, and be resurrected for us to give us new life and new hope. I know that God can heal and use broken vessels.
I grew the most spiritually at church camp, and I am committed to our conference’s camping ministry.
I also serve on the ISU Wesley Foundation board. It excites me to be connected to such a vibrant ministry that is making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
I love that your mission statement is: “Jesus! Love Him, Serve Him, Share Him” because that is right where I am. I love Jesus with all my heart, mind, soul and strength. I will admit that I am more of a Martha than a Mary a lot of the time (though I do pray and read scripture daily!)---I show my love for Jesus by serving Him. And I believe that our sharing Him needs to become more intentional. We can no longer grow the church by expecting others to see the difference in our lives and want what we have. I try to be good, but I am not that good! We MUST use words and actions to share Him.
I truly look forward to meeting each of you. God bless you. Let us be in prayer for each other through this transition.
In Christ’s Peace, Rev. Shelly E. Forrest