Have I told you lately how proud I am to be your pastor?
You’ve heard me say those words a lot since I arrived at Community UMC seven months ago. But each and every time I say them or, in this case, write them, I truly mean it.
Why am I so proud?
This church is blessed with a cohort of strong, faithful disciples, many of whom have taken on significant leadership roles in the life of the church, and some of whom have been doing that for years. This church could not function without them, and I am truly grateful for all they do.
Another way that I know we are strong is in our faithful response to God through our tithes, gifts, and offerings. I am here today to report that, thanks to you, and thanks to our amazing financial team leaders, Community UMC finished 2021 on solid financial footing. Thanks to you, we have been able to continue mission, worship, and ministry in a time of Covid without missing a beat.
Let me break it down for you a bit with some numbers. But as you read these dollar amounts, take a moment to reflect on how these dollars represent people: the people who so faithfully give to the mission and ministry of the church to make a difference in the community; and the people who are being blessed each and every day because of your financial support. Thank you!
In 2021, the church ended the year with a surplus. That is, we had more income than expenses. That amount was $33,117.
Member giving came in strong in the last six months of last year. It totaled $361,912 for the year. An additional $103,200 came in from our ministry at the Child Development Center.
Total expenses finished the year at $432,095. One of the largest expenses we did last year, other than staffing, was our Mission Share – or apportionment – giving. This $59,741 we send to the Baltimore-Washington Conference is part of what it means to be a connectional church. That is, we join with more than 600 other United Methodist churches in the conference to provide support for mission and ministry that goes well beyond Crofton and Anne Arundel County. I am proud to say that CUMC contributed 100 percent of its Mission Shares in 2021. Thank you.
I also want to say a quick word about why our expenses were down. In 2021, this church underwent a total change of staff. Pastor Stan left in June; I came in July. Because of that, we also lost Michelle, Pastor Stan’s wife, who was on staff with children’s ministries. We also lost our church administrative assistant, Marissa, almost one year ago. We also lost Hilary last July. Because those positions were not filled by paid staff – emphasis on the word “paid” – but by some of those capable and faithful lay disciples, the church underspent by a significant amount.
One of the challenges facing us, now, though, is rehiring those positions. The Staff-Parish Relations Committee, chaired by Barbara Julian, already has filled two positions by combining them into one. Thus, last December, we welcomed Katie Foster to CUMC as our Communications/Administrative Assistant person. I hope you have had a chance to meet Katie! She’s already proven to be a great blessing to me and to the church.
And speaking of Katie, earlier this week I sat down with her and Barb Julian to fill out our statistical report for 2021. This report, mandated by the Book of Discipline, has to be filled out every year by January 31. As we did the report, one of the numbers it asks for is the number of people who were impacted by our ministry and mission last year.
And so, we added it up.
And after doing our best estimations, we came up with a total of 8,850 people.
That’s all thanks to you. And that’s done through our feeding programs, like Backpack Meals and the Food Pantry at CCCC, through the Giving Tree, the Stitchers, the Child Development Center, the Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts we charter… just to name a few.
Your sacrificial giving makes a difference. It changes lives every day.
I couldn’t be more proud to be your pastor.
And Sheila and I thank God for you, every day.