Dear Family and Friends,
Last year for the yearly report I wrote: “2019 was very good to us.” We were coming off an increase in attendance that hadn’t been seen in decades, we saw a 10% increase in giving from the year before, we were grateful for what God had accomplished through us in our many programs. 2020 was a year that will live in infamy. No one could have predicted the catastrophic effect the pandemic would have on lives as a result of death, sickness, broken relationships, disrupted lives, tenuous employment and potential financial ruin. I don’t tend to be overly dramatic, but I think the last sentence encapsulates the many fears that we had throughout this year. We have never seen a year like 2020.
But God has. When I think of 2020 I think of Isaiah 43:1-5 where God tells the prophet in one section: “When you pass through waters, I will be with you…when you walk through fire you shall not be burned.” God has remained faithful to FPC throughout 2020. This year we are forced to strip away the normal benchmarks to evaluate how we are doing. We can’t look at attendance figures, although many of you have expressed how blessed you feel to be so connected to the church even during these difficult times. Our streaming capabilities have increased dramatically over this time and we are reaching so many more people as a result. We can’t look at programs and their successes since so many of them did not operate in 2020. But we can look at our nascent CAC program which provided economic relief to over a dozen of our FPC families. We can look at our nimble Food Bank and how it adjusted on the fly in order to continue feeding the hungry in this area. This program has grown and continues to do so.
We can’t look at finances because we haven’t been in person since March. But you have remained so incredibly faithful that the church was able to bring in about $15,000 more than we spent. This does not count the nearly $50,000 that we brought in through the forgivable PPP loan. We still have to figure out what to do with those funds even while we paid all of our employees regularly throughout this pandemic.
I would never say that 2020 was good to us, simply because it was not. There were some signs of strain on our personal relationships within the church. As much as we tried to all be on the same page, not all of us were. That happens in families. We don’t always agree on some issues, some really important issues, but we hope and pray that once the dust settles that we still see ourselves as brothers and sisters in Christ and members of the same family. As I have said all along if we can continue to maintain as our primary focus our Savior Jesus Christ, we will be equipped to not only make it through all times, but thrive in the times in which we find ourselves.
So, while 2020 was not good to us, it has left us in a position where we are poised to grow and continue to make an impact upon the community. I hope you are ready for what comes next, I know I am.
Your servant in Christ,
HAPPENING IN THE LIFE OF FPC…
Undecorating the church on Saturday, January 9 at 1pm: All hands on deck, in a very orderly, distanced, and masked way…This Saturday we will be undecorating the church as our Christmas season ends today, this day of Epiphany. Please join us on Saturday at 1pm as we undecorate the church. If we have a good team of people it should only take about an hour or so. Thanks, and see you there!
Bible Study this Thursday evening at 6: Join us on Youtube for a Bible Study on this past week’s sermon. You can find the link here: Youtube
Great Beginnings Preschool: The preschool continues to meet and welcome children into the building. Keep them in your prayers as we look to share the love of Jesus Christ to them in this setting.
Church leaders retreat: Keep your elders, deacons, and trustees in your prayers as the three bodies will meet virtually on January 30 for their yearly retreat to discuss the life of the church and to set goals for the future.
Saying goodbye to the Sands family: We were honored to have stay with us for a few weeks Karl and Jackie Sands as they are itinerating as missionaries from central Asia. It was an honor to be able to host them in one of the homes of the church. They are discerning God’s call a to whether go back on the mission field or to stay stateside for a bit longer. Thank you FPC for making it happen!