The new year is in full swing, and things are hopping at Christ UMC! We’ve got exciting plans for worship, we’re signing folks up for new dinner groups, we’re going strong with Room in the Inn and other outreach ministries, we’re preparing for the second annual Women’s Retreat, and we’re even launching a new website. In addition to all this, on Saturday new committee chairs, team leaders and Administrative Council members will be gathering for our annual leadership retreat, so please be in prayer as we gather for prayer, goal-setting and training.
As we begin our new year together as a church family, I thought it was important to let you know how we are doing financially. The Finance Committee met on January 8, and we are glad to bring you a positive report!
Because of your generous giving, we finished 2011 right on target. No deficit! That in itself is something to celebrate. (Cue the confetti and the balloon drop!) But wait, there’s more! The Outreach Committee wants you to know that you gave over $150,000 to outreach ministries in 2011. Most of our missions and outreach giving does not run through the operational budget, so it didn’t show up in some of the graphs that you saw during our pledge campaign. So, almost 15% of our giving in 2011 went directly to help the poor, the marginalized and the needy.
But wait! There’s even more! Because of the hard work of our Finance Committee and, most especially, because of your faithful giving to the Rock Solid Capital Campaign, we were in a good position to renegotiate the terms of our mortgage loan. We are able to get our interest rate lowered to a level that will save us more than $40,000 a year.
Looking ahead to 2012, our pledges as of Sunday, January 15, have reached $912,000, which means we can move ahead with our 2012 budget as planned. The Administrative Council and the ministry teams of the church have lots of plans for an exciting year, plans that will move us further into ministry and deeper in our relationships with God, with each other and with the world.
As I reflect on all of this good news, I am so astounded at the goodness of God. Last fall, I must confess, I was a bit anxious about our finances. I worried that we would finish 2011 with a deficit and that the pledges for 2012 wouldn’t come in like we’d budgeted.
But, once again, God has hit me over the head and reminded me that worry has no place in the kingdom of God. Of course, we’re human and we can’t help ourselves sometimes, but worry is a sign that we’re not trusting God. I thank God for reminding me that God is faithful, and, no matter what, God can and will work through the church to spread God’s love in the world. For my part, I’m grateful to be alongside all of you all in that work. Thank you, and thanks be to God!