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An Important Update From Dr. Howell

October 4, 2019


The past few weeks at church have been profoundly inspirational to me. Record numbers of 3rd graders receiving Bibles, and Confirmands beginning their adventure toward membership, small groups starting up and mission folks out in the community. I love who we are and all we do.

But a lot of that is at risk, because our deficits are at historic levels for us. After some encouraging catchup giving during September, we’re still a bit below revenues for last year – and with an increased budget. We have initiated a spending freeze – which saddens me, yet it feels necessary.

I am happy to say that over half of our modest budget increase from 2018 is in compensation. We have the greatest staff ever, and after being careful and a bit chintzy with them for several years, we granted our amazing people appropriate increases. I’ll stand by that all day.

We have new giving from our new people, which would have us in great shape. But we have quite a few who have withheld or stopped giving – the primary reason being what’s going on in the denomination. Friends, our church is a leader in our denomination, the flagship church trying to do what is hard: staying together despite differences, conservative and progressives. All have a place here, and the world is looking to us to be strong, an ex ample of what is possible. But here we are.

Let me ask you to give as generously as you are able. We love our church. To have to cut staffing, or ministries in or outside the church would break our hearts, and shrink what we are able to do for God and people who need the hope and love that are ours. If you pledged, consider an extra gift. If you didn’t pledge, feel entirely free to give! We don’t have any small handful of wealthy benefactors ready to bail us out. It’s up to all of us, together, to end the year with enough.

You probably know that I am not fond of asking you to give to meet a budget. We give because God has so richly blessed us and given us more than enough. We give to enact our love for God. We give to grow closer to God, and to discover the joy of a passionate and significant ministry in a hungry world. Giving is transformative.

Speaking of the community and world out there: our giving to Jubilee Plus!, our 100% out the door mission fund, is similarly lagging. And so we are already cutting and doing less, which hurts children and all sorts of people and partners who look to us for hope and life. Give as you’re able here as well! Every dollar matters.

I am privileged and proud to serve humbly as your pastor, and I love each one of you. Together, I know we’ll come out on top, and glorify God by doing so. Thank you in advance.

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