This post was printed in this week’s First Words:
On January 4 as I talked about “Great Expectations” for 2015, I mentioned a couple of things about 2014 that I wanted to confirm here with a bit more detail. Average attendance for the three services increased 2.8% from 534 in 2013 to 549 in 2014. While worship attendance is on the decline in so many places, we rejoice in a positive number!
Not all of the financial results are in, but, after conversing with Barbara Iversen, Office Manager, and Ed McFarland, Treasurer, we can say this much at this point: we had a very good year! We did not receive the amount of our original budget goal, but we did pay all bills, fulfill all missional giving goals, and end the year with a positive balance. This is partly due to the very generous second-mile giving of some (Thank you!), and partly due to responsible spending under budgeted amounts. We can report more specifically at a later date when all numbers are in and reports finalized.
Other giving to celebrate: for our Christmas offering, we received over $10,000 for the Haywood Christian Ministry heating fund and over $7000 for ZOE African orphan ministry!
Finishing as we did, and considering a very positive financial pledge campaign, we enter 2015 with much confidence for our continuing financial health. As I often say, the general budget is the financial engine that makes everything work. When we support the budget through our gifts, we support a multitude of ministries and missions that would not stand on their own, and we provide a framework for our extended giving to projects, ministries, and missions that we hold dear. If you have made a pledge for 2015, thank you! If you haven’t, please consider contacting Barbara Iversen with your pledge today. (828-456-9475; email@example.com).
The 2015 Leadership Team has met and begun their work. New members have received orientation. Check elsewhere in First Words for a report on their first meeting. They will be available at Wonderful Wednesday on February 11 to update you on their work and hear any ideas or concerns you wish to share. We’ll print a list of our leadership in the next First Words.
During the coming Sundays, we continue in the Season After Epiphany to read and consider Scriptural accounts that reveal Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God. With a quick visit to the Gospel of John this week, we’ll be back with Mark the week following and stay with Mark through Easter Sunday.
There are wonderful opportunities before you for study, learning and spiritual growth. We have a wealth of Sunday School classes, with many options for adults. A new Disciple Bible Study is beginning, which is one of the finest studies for grounding participants in the Bible, and Jane Baker will offer a “Living the Fruit of the Spirit” class beginning next Wednesday at 6:20.
Even now, with Christmas and Epiphany just past, work is well underway for Lent, which begins on Ash Wednesday, February 18. Yes, we’ll again have the Lenten devotionals written by our own lay and clergy members. It’s exciting to me that we have a completely different group of writers from last year—we have so many willing and able to share their faith in this way.
So here we go. I’m confident that another great year is ahead of us. How can it not be, as long as we remain faithful to God’s call upon us “to be the living Body of Christ…welcoming ALL…growing in faith…engaging the world!
See You Sunday…with a friend,