And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 (NIV)
In brief, even with the dramatic changes and difficulties, we continued to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ to the needs of our members, community, and world. God is faithful! Thank you for your prayers, time, and support! Many of our ministries are strong and vital, others are struggling. The critical needs of the church right now are volunteers for a Sunday School Superintendent and a Church Treasurer. Financially, we can celebrate all that we accomplished, but for many reasons, we had an $18,000 short-fall in giving compared to 2019. Praise God for every one of you who stepped up in one way or another to help our ministry in this harsh season.
Regarding stewardship, as you know, we are part of the largest global Protestant church, the United Methodist Church. We have contributed 100% towards our portion of that global reach for the 1st time since 2005. That is a wonderful accomplishment amid the global pandemic. Of course, there is more we can do, but let’s celebrate our accomplishment! Praise be to God!
Locally, we continued to support Anchor House in Trenton, DeBows and Jackson Food Pantries, Amvets with clothing, Narcotics Anonymous with meeting space, Operation Christmas Child, and several families with emergency food. Besides our regular missions, we financially supported our local hospital workers, first responders, and families impacted by COVID-19.
Because of the pandemic, we continue to struggle with some aspects of our ministries but have used Zoom (online) to continue with most. CFF, Sunbeam, bible study, GriefShare, memorial services, baptisms, and worship continue, as other aspects of our church needed to pause. We have several critical volunteer positions in the church that need to be filled, and without volunteers stepping up in the next few weeks, several of our ministries will begin to suffer. God has brought us together and given each of us gifts to use. As we use them for God with hearts of gratitude for all He has given, we find God’s abundance and blessing. So please consider helping. The two most critical positions are Church Treasurer and Sunday School Superintendent.
Financially, thanks to your generosity, we have been able to remain financially stable through this tough season. Our 2020 general donations were about $18,000 less than last year, and our expenses were less than last year as well. We were able to bridge the gap with government support (through the Cares Act) and a grant from the Annual Conference. Plus, often we have specific missions and ministries that we ask for your financial help with that are not included in our general donations, like Vacation Bible School or UMCOR. We didn’t ask as much in 2020, so that was $17,000 less than 2019.
Thank you for all you have done to sacrifice for the church last year. I pray that as things get back to a more normal situation, we can move forward financially. Praise God for all we continue to do for the Kingdom of God here and around the world! Thank you for your continued stewardship. Let’s keep moving forward together as the body of Christ.