Dear Third Church Friends and Supporters,
It seems like a generation or two ago that I placed one bookend of our 2021 Generosity and Gratitude campaign at Third Church. We set the other in position during worship this Sunday, wrapping up the public aspect of the campaign. We would be stretching the truth if we said you wouldn’t hear another peep out of us. Truth is, when enough of you decide that you can’t keep supporting this work, we turn out the lights, lock the doors, and sidle off into the sunset. More likely outcome: you continue to share your financial resources with us, and we keep doing and expanding our vital ministries for, say, another couple hundred years. I’m banking on (sorry!!) the second outcome.
Paul Bishop conducted a well-received online budget forum last Sunday. I was happy to begin and end that time with some words and a prayer. If you weren’t able to attend you haven’t heard these thoughts already. And if you were, a reminder is not a bad thing. Paul laid out the straight-up reality last Sunday. We are trying to maintain our ministries in a pandemic when needs are ever-increasing. We also acknowledge that Third Church is not as large a congregation as it once was. Scraping together the resources we need has become more challenging each year. 2021 scares us with the uncertainty we see. A large dose of reality.
I am a graduate of Hope College, so you know which basket I am going to fill with eggs. On October 11, I proclaimed more than once (!!) that when God blesses, God provides! I have no sense whatsoever that God is fed up with Third Church. In fact, I have experienced the blessings that you folks share with this community. You do what you do because God blesses and empowers you to do it. Thus, God will provide. In fact, God has already provided you all who contribute to this communal effort. This is Christ’s Church into which you have been called. You are creative, resource-blessed, generous folks who will provide from your God-given reservoirs what it takes to keep this place growing and thriving. And 2021 will be a year of Renewing Third Church for this New World! (cheers, honking horns, fireworks!!!)
Some people view reality and hope as opposite ends of a spectrum. You can move toward one or the other…but you can’t have both. I see them as bookends (back to that idea) in a particular situation. Both elements contribute valuable information to the task at hand. Which is why we want you to be in touch with Third Church’s financial reality; you may review the slides from Sunday’s presentation here. The picture, though challenging, could be a lot worse…or better! We do so hope that you will rise up and create a new current circumstance, built upon the existing foundation, of a congregation on fire and thriving in expanded ministry as the next chapter of our life unfolds. You hold the keys…and the cash…to the future we ALL desire!
With realistic hope…or hopeful realism!
Office: 585-271-6513, ext. 105; Cell: 618-606-1053 (after hours; emergencies)