Pastor Boyd Shugert

Pastor Boyd Shugert has been called to lead Sherwood United Methodist Church and Bethel-Forder’s Bridge United Methodist Church near Cecil. Shugert has been leading the two churches since late June.

SHERWOOD — Pastor Boyd Shugert knew from a young age he was being called to ministry, however, he had other thoughts in mind.

Shugert, who was appointed pastor at Sherwood and Bethel-Forder’s Bridge United Methodist churches in late June, eventually found his way into ministry, although it was definitely a process.

“I grew up in the Methodist Church, then the United Methodist Church (UMC), attended other churches, but eventually found my way back to the United Methodist Church,” said Shugert, a Portsmouth High School and a Methodist Theological School in Ohio graduate. “I felt the call to ministry as a teenager at church camp, and then proceeded to run from it.

“I joined the Air Force, and then worked at quite a few jobs, but one day as I was praying for my daughter before she was born, I heard God’s words, ‘I’ve got her, what I still want is you,’” continued Shugert. “So I said to myself, ‘I didn’t really just hear that,’ but that started me on a journey where he wanted me to be. God has been very good to my family and me.”

That new spiritual journey began in Portsmouth, where he started in lay speaking, then pulpit supply, theological school and his first assignment as a pastor, at Franklin Furnace and Scioto Furnace United Methodist churches, where he spent four years. From there, Shugert, his wife, Dawn, their children, Rebecca and William, went to McClure UMC and Weston UMC, where he spent the past 18 years as pastor, before his call to his new assignment.

Before his call to Sherwood UMC, located at 512 N. Harrison St., and Bethel-Forder’s Bridge UMC, located at Paulding County roads 192 and 73 near Cecil, Shugert explained he was told there may not be a church for him to lead, which led him to contemplate retirement. Thinking his time as a pastor was done, Shugert and his wife went house hunting in northwest Ohio, which led them to a home in Defiance County.

After purchasing the home, Shugert got some news.

“Last November when I was told there may not be a church for me, and since I am close to retirement age, my wife and I decided it was time to look at something different,” said Shugert. “After looking for a home around the area, we finally found one on Jericho Road around the end of February. The first of May I got a call and was told I would get a church, I told them, it was fine, but then I had to figure out how to tell them we just bought a house.

“At the time of that call, they didn’t tell me where I would be going, but two weeks later I was told I would be introduced at Bethel-Forder’s Bridge and Sherwood United Methodist Churches,” added Shugert. “So let me tell you, God found us a house, in our price range, almost exactly halfway between the two churches. God knows what he’s doing, whether I have a clue or not.”

Since his arrival, Shugert has seen God at work, and he’s seen a great spirit of cooperation between the two churches.

“These two churches have been connected for some time,” said Shugert. “I’m following a well-loved pastor in Kevin Doseck, but I have to say, the people of the two churches have done a wonderful job of welcoming us. The two churches work really well together, and even when I’m needed in both places, the people are so understanding, it’s a wonderful blessing.”

Shugert explained that plans are in the works for starting in September for youth activities on Wednesday evenings at Sherwood UMC. For children in grades 1-5, the church will open at 4 p.m., with those students getting a snack, a story, play time and crafts.

On Wednesdays from 5-6:30 p.m., youth in grades 6-12 are welcome to join discussions about current events, learn how to cook, discuss doing local mission work and a mission trip camp to Appalachia in Kentucky sometime during the year.

“Mission work is important,” said Shugert.

At present, Shugert is working on becoming familiar with the people of the churches, to learn how to best serve their needs, now and going forward.

“Right now I’m doing a lot of listening and trying to use people’s names,” said Shugert. “I’m finding people are open to me coming to visit, especially the shut-ins, and I’m seeing the churches are relatively full on Sundays. There is a lot of laity involvement at both churches, the committees and trustees are active ... I can definitely see God at work here.”

Work is in progress to provide a live stream of services at the churches, which Shugert hopes will start in October. Currently Sherwood UMC worships on Sundays at 9 a.m., with worship on Sundays at Bethel-Forder’s Bridge UMC at 10:30 a.m.

“Again, God is good, he truly knows what he’s doing,” said Shugert.

For more information about Sherwood UMC, call 419-899-2492. For more information about Bethel-Forder’s Bridge UMC, call 419-258-2123.

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