Dear Third Church Friends,
I often worry that I make a point so frequently that folks stop hearing what I have to say. The following words can’t be stated often enough: Thank you all for your generous support of our shared ministry in this challenging year!! When Covid-19 shut stuff down, I was in Jacksonville, Florida, wrapping up an interim there. I wondered if I would remain employed, or find new employment going forward. You took me on here in Rochester; and we have been carrying on our ministry ever since. And support continues for the work we do together. All of us on staff at Third Church are more grateful for you all than we could ever communicate!!
AND we are journeying through an important time in church life. How well this ministry moves ahead in 2021—in what we know will be a better year—remains dependent on your generosity. I have challenged Session to develop and pass an annual budget BEFORE the year begins. Your elders (with a big assist from the Trustees and committee leaders) plan on taking that action next Tuesday, December 8. A couple of things to keep in mind: We have not yet received all of your commitments of support for 2021, so we are stepping out in faith that the resources will be available when we need them. We will most likely need to make adjustments in the first quarter of next year based on the final tally of pledges. While Session intends to approve a budget this month, we recognize that bending and flexing will be required going forward.
Three helpful actions to suggest for you:
- Turn in your pledge by December 7, 2020, so we can include it in our revenue projections at our next Session meeting.
- Be sure to fulfill your 2020 pledge by the end of this lovely year.
- Consider a special year-end gift. As I have also stated a multitude of times, the stronger we end this year from a financial standpoint, the more attractive you will be to the dozens of pastoral candidates who will soon be digging extensively into the nooks and crannies of Third Church life, imagining if Rochester is the next place they would like to serve in ministry.
On to Sunday, the Second Sunday of Advent. We will be reading frequently from Mark’s record of the gospel story this next year. Mark’s record is the shortest of the four and bears an inescapable sense of urgency in getting the story out. He skips the birth narrative altogether and begins with Jesus already up to his waist in gospel work. I will say something about Mark’s staccato focus on the work of Jesus and how we can borrow from his reservoir of urgency even as we make our way through this season of preparation and waiting. Log on to see how well I make my case.
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