We recognized what happened as we continued to be open to the presence of the Holy Spirit in 2017.
- Our Average Sunday Morning Worship attendance grew from 166 to 189!
- We celebrated 15 baptisms, not all of them babies.
- We grew 3,015 pounds of fresh vegetables all donated and used at PROP to feed the hungry of our community.
- We have grown as a safe and comfortable place for the GLBTQ community.
- We needed to repurpose 4 rooms to accommodate the growth in our Children’s ministry.
We heard from and gave thanks to our wonderful staff: Deb, Don, Terri and now Jody about their work at and vision for our church. Wasn’t it good to see them all together? If you enjoyed that, come to one of our staff meetings at 10 o’clock on Wednesdays. There you also get to see Rick and Becky.
And then we introduced our new worship theme for 2018; God’s Light: Seeing in a New Way. This theme will be in worship and Sunday School, on Wednesday nights, in our music -- all around EPUMC. We will be exploring how the light of God in our lives helps us to see the events, the people, the times of our lives, as a place where God is already present. If you were here you heard that great story about neighbors Kay Wall and Jody Veatch who discovered they go to EPUMC together and saw each other in a new way.
We celebrated a brand new ministry that is being launched next week called “The Sheridan Story.” This is a partnership we have entered with Oak Point Elementary School and a nonprofit called The Sheridan Story. Our part is to fund and to pass out meals for the weekend for kids who are on school lunch assistance programs.
We spent some time understanding how most, if not all of our issues others might call problems, are for us at EPUMC challenges. We call our issues challenges because most, if not all, come from the vitality we are experiencing. As such, our issues are “Challenges of Vitality.” We identified our financial status as a challenge of our vitality we need to face with some focus for this year. Last year ended with a deficit, which we covered using reserves. This year we are looking at projected deficit, too.
One interesting way we have begun talking about our finances is in addition to looking at our accountant’s spreadsheet, we will also be reporting about our budget by using what we are calling an Activity-Based Budget. This is a way of looking at our budget that includes only four areas:
1. Children’s Ministries
4. Home (our facility and maintenance).
Reporting in this way on a regular basis is one way our Finance/Stewardship Team will be helping us to close this financial gap.
Finally, we claimed that we are a different church than we were even three years ago. In language that is familiar to some of us, we have begun a new life cycle. In the language of Jesus in the Gospel of John, as a church we have been “born again,” “born from above,” “born anew.”
It was a great day… great energy…great participation… now it is time with God’s help to make it a great year.
Keep the Faith,