“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength and your neighbor as yourself.” This is what Jesus tells those who want to know what faith is all about, what church is all about, what being a disciple is all about. It’s his commandment to us to love whole-hearted, to live whole-hearted, to serve whole-hearted, and to give whole-hearted.
Whole-hearted also describes the incredible ministries and mission of First UMC. We’re about worship, service, music, fellowship, prayer, study, and fun. Amidst the daily and weekly whirlwind of ministries, programs, and mission adventures, we have expanded or added several new ministries this year—simple church, Sacred Yoga, monthly Community Meals at Family Place, to name a few. We have expanded collaboration with our Preschool and enjoy the fruits of more frequent events and times together. We continue to make huge strides in upgrading our facilities to keep them beautiful, welcoming, efficient and safe. We have prayed and cared for one another through painful times of challenge, illness, and loss and celebrated life’s high moments as well.
Do you know that by adding new opportunities for worship we have increased worship participation by 5% already this year? Do you know that 6 new 6th graders have joined our youth group? Do you know that some 55 different people have participated in the monthly Community Meals? Do you know that half the participants in our Financial Peace University are from the community? Do you know that our new Pop-Up Library has enjoyed extensive use since the first day it opened to the community?
Thanks to generosity in last year’s Stewardship Campaign, we have leapt forward in our ministries here at First UMC—in worship, mission, ministries with children and youth, interfaith witness, communications. Tricia Lindley has become our full-time Director of Children and Youth Ministry. Jack McHugh has come on board, providing music for simple church and with our youth. Anne Premer has become our new part-time Congregation Care Visitor, extending pastoral care and the ministry of our Health Ministry Council.
To live whole-hearted as a disciple of Christ Jesus invites us to align our giving to our highest priorities and most valued aspirations. It is to strive to attain the whole-hearted, selfless giving modeled by Jesus himself. It is to align our words and our ways with his words and his ways.
You are witness to what pledging creates and sustains. I invite you to take a new leap of faith in your giving to First UMC in 2017 and consider a pledge commitment. Stretch even farther—and grow as a disciple of Jesus Christ. I invite you to take a step forward in faith and make an annual gift commitment for 2017 to help our church leadership put feet under all our plans and dreams.
Please help our church leadership put feet under all our plans and dreams. A pledge card is enclosed. Please bring it to worship on Consecration Sunday, November 13, or mail it to the church office at any time.
The faith we share as disciples brings wholeness to our lives and transforming witness to our world. Nothing and no one is left out. Let us pledge out of the fullness of who we are and the bounty of all we have in grateful celebration of all that has been and all that is yet to be.
Patricia Farris, Senior Minister