I’m speaking to you today with two hats on.
First, on behalf of the ad hoc Stewardship Group that has worked together over the past month or so, to announce that we are launching our 2016 Stewardship Campaign today, and to tell you how excited we are about it. When we began, we thought about the changes that we are in the midst of – changes in ministry staff and potential changes as we re-imagine our future. Rather than let these things make us anxious though, we thought about all the reasons we had to celebrate and the opportunities for renewal that lay before us.
A few of us were David Letterman fans, so we used his notion of the “Top Ten” to list our reasons to celebrate who we are and what we’ve done. Each week during the Stewardship Campaign, we’ll highlight two of them. Here’s two for this morning:
10. Refugees. Over the years, Crescent Fort Rouge United has sponsored a total of 24 refugees (Hungary, Viet Nam, Uganda, Ethiopia and most recently Somalia), as well as twice offering political sanctuary
9. Fort Rouge Childcare. By providing an affordable rent as a way of serving our community, this day care found a home with us back in 1978, when it began as “Lunch and After School Program” of our congregation. Now an arms-length organization, the Childcare has 24 preschool and 30 school-aged children, well-cared for by 8 dedicated staff.
Let me introduce our committee: Bill Gillis, John Bulman, Helen Norrie, Cam Mackie, Dianne Baker, Alan Crossin and barb janes. I must also acknowledge Sherri van Aert in the office who has been helping with names and the preparation of the package you will receive in the next week or so.
We have set an ambitious goal: $290,000 for local church expenses. This is nearly 50% more than we have received in the past couple of years. You know that we struggle each year to meet expenses. Since becoming Chair of Ministry and Personnel a year and a half ago I have seen first-hand the juggling that has to go on as Sherri and the Finance Chair have to decide which bills to pay, which can be held off, and how far into overdraft to go. Because of that we have a second goal and that is to really encourage you to consider setting up PAR – a regular debit from your bank account which spreads your church contributions evenly over the year and is predictable for our budget. It has an added benefit for folks like me who are often late to church – I don’t; have to run around looking for an envelope on Sunday mornings!
The Stewardship Group and some of the Leadership Team have already made their pledge: even as we launch the campaign today, we have 12 pledges for $31,000 or more than 10% of our goal.
Now, I’ll speak as a member of the church for the past 27 years, to tell you why I’m still here and why I’ve increased my pledge.
This church is part of my family. It is the place where Gordon and I got married, 24 years ago TODAY, where our son Dave was the first baby baptized in the font donated by Doreen and Evert Botterweg, and where I connect not only with my faith but with the most talented and caring group of people I’ve ever met.
Please think about what Crescent Fort Rouge means for you over the coming weeks and how you might respond. Stay tuned for another Stewardship Message next week.