Letter from Rev. Jon
Dear Members and Friends:
Once again our annual pledge drive is upon us. It launched last weekend and will continue over the next six weeks. Our theme this year is The Courage to Hope.
Where did this theme come from and what might it mean for us? We have all experienced many changes in the patterns of our daily living over the last three years due to the COVID pandemic. Schools, churches, healthcare institutions and businesses have all needed to adjust due to health precautions. And this has required us to adjust to losing familiar patterns of interaction as well as learning new ways of being together.
These more personal adjustments are more than matched by what is also happening in the world. Our government and courts are in conflict mode. Environmental destruction continues. There are wars and natural disasters requiring response. And economic inequalities affect all of us. It is understandable that we would at times feel very hopeless about the world.
Yet, despite these challenges, is it possible for us to summon the courage to be hopeful? Where can courage take root so that it might bloom into hopefulness?
Spiritual communities should be one of those places where we nurture courage. We are the beneficiaries of those folks who have gone before us, who have left us stories of their efforts against formidable challenges. And we hold in our arms and hearts children and grandchildren for whom we hope the world will be as rewarding as it will be daunting.
In our appeal for financial support this year we face a heavy lift in three ways. First, we have an opportunity to fully fund our growing Family Ministry program after several years of decreasing support (while in building transition) due to irregular attendance. But the numbers of children and families participating in this program now grow each month. And we are understaffed!
Second, years ago the Board decided to provide staff with an annual Cost of Living adjustment. As you well know, inflation has pinched all of us. The adjustment this year is higher due to inflation. But myself aside, I know that one of the greatest assets of this church is our excellent staff.
Third, we will complete our capital campaign this year. I hope you have been able to honor your pledge. All unfulfilled pledges must be added to finance the line of credit balance we had during construction. That debt could be as high as 1.75 M dollars. Interest payments on that debt begin next year and could be as high as 5K per month. That is not an obligation we can postpone.
Together these three challenges comprise an increase of nearly 25% in our annual expenditures. A heavy lift, indeed. And so I invite you to make the most generous financial pledge/gift you can afford. This place which nurtures your courage to be hopeful needs your financial support.
When Annie and I think about our pledge we do so with gratitude and hopefulness. Gratitude for those who left us this healthy, strong and vibrant church community. Hopefulness because we want to leave it equally so for those who will enjoy this church long after we are gone.
It is a blessing to be in your company,
Rev. Jon M. Luopa