Dear FPC family and friends,
I know, two enews in one week. Something pretty important must be happening. I want to let you know about an event that took place on December 28, that actually takes place every year. It was significant this year, as it has been for decades now. At the end of the year the Mission and Finance Committee (composed of Wayne Carr (chair), Emily Welk (elder), Mike Carle (elder), Dotty Smith, Angie McVey, Dale Groff, George Pontz, Ginny Russell, and Jim Smith) gathered to assess our end of year financial status. In our most recent years our church has taken in more income than we have spent. As a result, our policy is to give back to mission all that which we have taken in over and above that which we have spent. This year was no exception, oh boy was it no exception.
On Thursday evening your Mission and Finance Committee was able to give to mission for 2017 over $100,000. Our budgeted amount was just over $73,000 and so we were able to redouble our efforts to missions that we are already supporting as well as starting new relationships. To put it into perspective, last year we gave $80,000 to mission. That is a significant uptick in one year. This figure does not take into account our special offerings that we collected throughout the year for blanket Sunday, disaster relief, and other mission opportunities which totaled closed to $50,000. So in all, if you include budgeted and unbudgeted mission giving, we were able to contribute close to $150,000. Take a deep breath, that is extraordinary.
One new mission opportunity is the support of Dustin and Sherri Ellington and their sons Clayton and Christopher who are missionaries in Zambia. Here is a website that speaks more of their work if you are interested: https://www.presbyterianmission.org/ministries/missionconnections/the-rev-dr-dustin-and-sherri-ellington/
You will find on the right a video that speaks about their work. Dusty and I went to Princeton together and spent some time in Israel as well. They are disciples of Jesus Christ and love him unconditionally. I’m excited to share their ministry with First Presbyterian and see what kind of impact they will have on us as they speak to God’s love in that part of the world.
So what can we learn from this reality in which we find ourselves? We have once again confirmed the generosity of the membership of First Presbyterian. Through this church we are making an impact on lives that stretches from the Waterstreet Missions and Lancaster Council of Churches homeless shelters to trafficked women from African countries who just want to go leave Moscow safe and sound. You can see some of the work that we are supporting here: http://mpcrussia.org/repatriation/
We have also learned that it is crucial for you, the member and the friend of FPC to be informed of the work that we are doing and the potential that there is yet for us to do. We have ended the year well, very well. Next year holds the same uncertainties of this past year, but also new and exciting opportunities and potentials which we ought not cast aside in the midst of our uncertainties. Always look for possibilities and be willing to take risks that find yourself on the side of our Lord. Thank you for your incredible generosity. It continues to make me proud to be your pastor.
Your servant in Christ,
P.S. Just a reminder that this Sunday is your last Sunday to give for 2017. With the new tax law, we know that individual deductions will be counted for 2017, but next year is still up in the air. Feel free to take advantage of your deductions this Sunday for 2017 as you give joyfully.