As the challenging season of Lent continues to lead us to the cross, I find it hard not to get caught up in the story of Jesus and his times of trial. I am overcome with the love he displays and shares; a love that leads him to death. But I am also overcome by how that love leads him then to a new life that is beyond what I can imagine; a life resurrected. That resurrected life gives me hope for my tomorrow and that of our community. Thank you for being an important part of a community that lives in that hope all week long!
Hope Is Alive at Holy Covenant!
Over the past four months, we worshiped every Sunday; come snow, ice, the Superbowl, or the Academy Awards, we still gathered to praise God for the wondrous gift of our life together and be challenged to live into our mission. We welcomed the Beatles into our sanctuary in a worshipful manner that had leaders in churches 100 times our size saying they couldn’t have done as well. Almost 300 people worshiped with us for their first time. We shared nearly 75 loaves of communion bread, most of which were baked in our community’s kitchens. We added a Wednesday night worship service.
More than 100 small group, education, and fellowship meetings happened in that time with well over 900 in total attendance. We welcomed two new staff members who have committed themselves to the community from day one. From early morning coffee to the twilight pub gatherings, our congregation made a public witness to our mission all day and then some.
We shared our building with the community to help with addiction recovery. It has also been an inspiring space for rehearsals and performances of critically acclaimed theatre. Through our mission team and our partners at Dignity Diner and Humboldt Park Social Services, we prepared and served more than 1,200 meals. Through your donations, we purchased tables that will allow us to share hospitality with more Dignity Diner guests. We wrote a stack of letters to General Conference delegates. We collected books by the boxful for our city’s underserved youth. We gave nearly $9,000 to local and international mission projects.
This is who we are. Together, we share stories. Together, we share life. Together, we live in grace. And we experience the joy of resurrection again and again. And this is all because of the generous grace God placed in your heart to be a steward of our mission, vision and ministry. Thank you for helping to make all this possible.
We entered 2012 cautiously optimistic about what the year could hold. We crafted a budget that was both faithful and frugal, allowing us to operate a whole congregation at costs lower than many Lincoln Park household incomes. While our income is less than expected at this point in time, I and your volunteer leadership believe we can overcome this shortfall. Whether you are a part of a long-time pledging household, new or renewed in your pledging, or a sporadic giver, your contributions are the lifeblood of our shared ministries and faithful witness to Chicago and beyond. And, If you are not currently giving in a planned way, we want to take this opportunity to encourage you to do so. There is still time to have a big impact on 2012. With just eight new pledges of $100 per month or more our deficit will be covered!
Beyond the Pledge
We are not opposed to one-time gifts. In fact, there are many times throughout the year when ideas and programs develop that are not included in our budget. I encourage your leadership and staff to dream dreams and see visions, but we don’t always have a way to pay for the gifts of their imaginations. If you’d like to get behind one of these start-ups, contact us for a list of the opportunities that are waiting for a partner like you to make happen.
One pressing issue we face right now is funding a sum of $29,000 that your leadership built into the budget to prevent reductions in the kind and frequency of ministry you enjoy. By and large, this amount funds the salaries of your staff and the amazing work they do in music leadership, small group organization and administration. Regardless of your current giving status, I would ask that you please consider making a one-time contribution of $200 or more to this special effort. Emily and I will be doing so in addition to our tithe. If every Holy Covenant household does so, we will raise DOUBLE that amount. Think about all the ministry we could do with an additional $29,000!
Below you will find a form by which you can designate a special one-time gift, make a pledge toward the 2012 general budget, or increase your current pledge. Simply print it out and bring it into church or drop it in the mail. You may also set up electronic giving and share your gifts online.
I hope you will prayerfully consider how you are being called to serve and act as a steward of God’s gifts this spring, and I look forward to continuing the blessed work of sharing in your faith journey. What a joy it is to live in a community that has been given so much, and to participate in a congregation that has so much to give! I thank God and you for both.
Yours in Christ,
YES! I want to share what God has given me to further the mission of HCUMC!
Enclosed you will find my gift of:
[ ] $500
[ ] $300
[ ] $200
[ ] Other $_______
I would like to increase my pledge by
[ ] $100/week
[ ] $50/week
[ ] $25/week
[ ] Other $______
I am not currently pledging but would like to begin! Please accept this first installment of my pledge for:
[ ] $200/week
[ ] $150/week
[ ] $100/week
[ ] Other $____