E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 8, 2019

Advent Quiet Day, Ugandan Craft Sale, Our Lady of Guadalupe and more in the E-Newsletter for December 8, 2019 – Available in full online here.

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
Dear *|FNAME|*,

With Advent now underway, I hope this email finds you in a good place, not too overwhelmed by the holiday season but instead finding some time for rest, prayer, and spiritual preparation for the Christmas feast.

Last Sunday's offering of Advent Lessons & Carols was deeply moving to me and I know also to the many people who attended, not only from St. John's but from several area churches. It also raised over $600 for the Music Fund, a great gift and resource for Director of Music, Nick Palmer. 

Our #GivingTuesday Fundraiser on Facebook has also been a success, raising nearly $400 so far for our parish's Children & Youth Ministry. 

The pledge total for next year also continues to increase as those final pledges come in. We now have $314K pledged, that's 95% of our goal of $332K to maintain our existing ministries in the year to come. It might even be enough to restore some of the cuts the Vestry made in their draft budget for next year. The average pledge has increased 2.3% from last year, currently at $54 per week (or $2,808 per year). Just seven more households pledging at around that average will enable us to reach our goal. With a total of 156 households at St. John's, and 111 of them currently pledging to the General Fund, the Vestry is hopeful that we will indeed be able to make that goal. 

The Finance Commission is meeting on Monday, December 9, to recommend a final budget to the Vestry. That means only days are left for your pledge to make an impact and enable our congregation to move into 2020 with as much strength and generosity as you have shown so far in this holiday season.

One reality that the Finance Commission and Vestry will need to consider when they meet, however, is that this year's pledge payments have fallen off at the end of the year, meaning we are currently projecting a deficit that could be as much as $13,000. A good portion of this is due to the numerous parishioners we've commended to God through funerals this year. The Finance Commission and Vestry want to be sure that we don't exhaust our already small cash reserves, and so if the deficit remains that large, they will need to devote a portion of the 2020 budget to restoring cash reserves to a healthy and sustainable level. (You can click here to log into your Realm account and see where you are on your own pledge to St. John's and to make a gift to catch up, if needed.)

Of course, what I've learned over these past eleven years as a priest, is that December is filled with many miracles—not just the celebration of the birth of Christ. And your continued generosity through small fundraisers—whether it was the Thanksgiving Fundraiser that raised over $700 to feed hungry kids, the Lessons & Carols, #GivingTuesday, or the constant support of the UNITY School in Uganda, means it is possible the Vestry and Finance Commission won't have to make cuts to our ministry.

In these next days, if you have not yet made a pledge to St. John's, know that you can do that online here. You can also change your pledge at that link, if your outlook on 2020 and God's blessings in your life have changed. And, if you want to make a special end-of-year gift to the General Fund to help cover some of the losses our church experienced this year, perhaps in memory of someone you loved who died, you can do that online here or by mailing a check to the parish office. 

I'm grateful for the generosity which flows in such abundance at St. John's, for your willingness to respond to needs when they arrive and to ensure the important ministry of our church in the Tri-Cities continues to impact lives. 

Through Grace,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, December 8, 2019 online here

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