Pancake Breakfast and Santa this Saturday 7:30-10:00 am!
Let me start with the most exciting news. Jen and Michael Douce (Michael is our Family Worship Leader) have checked into the hospital where Jen will be induced this morning. Michael and Jen, our prayers are with you and the baby.
Tomorrow, Nancy and I will head to New Albany to see Arisa, Nathan, Ava, and Dain. Arisa is a beautician and has offered to style Nancy’s hair for her. Two hours is a long way to go to meet your hairdresser, but if it allows you to connect with your daughter and grandchildren then why not.
Monday night, the Finance Committee approved a budget of $755,000 for 2015. This is the same figure we used in 2014. We made increases in some staff salaries and the line item for natural gas, but we were able to fund those increases with cuts in other areas. Tuesday was our Charge Conference held at Southport UMC. The most notable event of the evening was the laying on of hands for the ministerial candidates submitted by each church, which included Matthew Phipps and Leanna Zimmerman.
Last night, our newly formed Hispanic Support Team met with Ann Handschu from the Conference Church Development Team and Felipe Rios to establish our benchmarks and leadership plan for this ministry, necessary items to finish our grant application. It became apparent in the process that Felipe’s vision of the ministry was different than ours. He desires a full-time ministry as soon as one year from now and we see this ministry taking much longer to develop. The person in this position will need to be bi-vocational for some time and that is simply not where Felipe’s heart is. We want a sustainable ministry that integrates well with the rest of the congregation and this will take someone willing to commit for the long haul.
Ann Handschu says the Church Development Team believes strongly in our congregation’s potential for Hispanic Ministry. She is encouraging us to have our Hispanic Support Team meet with Sergio and Janie Reyes, co-pastors of a strong Hispanic congregation in Fort Wayne to develop a new strategy after the first of the year. Sergio apparently is developing a number of lay pastors from their congregation in Fort Wayne. They are willing to commute from Fort Wayne to develop the ministry and, if the situation looks promising, they will then relocate, find employment and formally plant a church within the Old Bethel congregation. In the meantime we will be shutting down the ministry that Felipe has started which involves around 10 people beyond his family.
It has been a rather eventful week. In addition to all I’ve described above, I was made a generous offer from someone who wants to see us meet our goal of $585,000 in pledges for 2015. Currently our pledges sit at $569,000 so they have issued a challenge to the congregation. If we can raise $10,000 in NEW pledges for 2015, beyond what we have already received, then they will match that $10,000 with another $10,000 increase in their pledge. They are also willing to include in that total any special end of the year contributions that are over and above your usual giving. So if you typically make charitable gifts to improve your tax situation, this is a great chance to see your gift to the church doubled. What an opportunity! If you would like to help us meet this $10,000 challenge contact Deborah Hartman through the church office or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Sunday, we complete our journey through the Old Testament. We will consider how Israel’s time in exile created a longing for a savior and how they maintained hope in the midst of a very difficult period in their history. I switched up scriptures for my message, which didn’t make June Hannah very happy since her anthem went perfectly with Isaiah 9:1-7. So in preparation, I encourage you to read both Isaiah 9:1-7 and Isaiah 42:1-9.
See you Sunday,