Thanks to the generous support of many members and friends, 2019 has been a great year in the life of the church. In April, the congregation voted unanimously to affiliate with Reconciling Ministries Network. This decision affirms who we are as a welcoming and fully inclusive body that seeks to be in ministry with and to all people regardless of sexual preference, gender identity, race, nationality, etc. Also this year we have increased our outreach thanks to the generous financial gifts of so many people. Through our shared ministry with our mission arm Avondale Samaritan Place, our church:
- provides groceries to low income families and meals to our homeless neighbors
- supports social workers who are helping individuals and families navigate difficult financial hardships
- offers after school programs in tutoring and physical activities through strategic partnerships with STAIR and UAB’s Kinesiology School
- provides a safe space for two Alcoholics Anonymous groups to meet each week
- partners with a cooking ministry who uses our kitchen to provide food for our homeless feeding and other agencies in our neighborhood
- will host our third annual Christmas Village for low income families to come shop for new Christmas gifts for their children
- continues to provide a space for Girl Scout Troop 350 to train and empower girls to grow into strong leaders. This Troop has met here for more than 15 years.
- hosted four summer cookouts that brought the neighborhood together for a meal along with a fun activity like a drum circle, a paint night, Christmas in July, and carnival.
These are just a few of the many wonderful ways that people’s financial giving to our church is impacting lives for the better.
A few weeks ago I began our stewardship sermon series, Reach, with John 3:16. You probably know it by heart: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.” While this verse is the best-known Christian scripture worldwide, many people do no associate it with financial stewardship because the focus for many people is on belief and salvation. But when you step back with fresh eyes, you can see how it calls us to give of our whole selves just as God gave everything to us. Focus for a moment on the part about God loving us so much, that God gave us the most amazing thing God could … Jesus Christ. If we are created in the image of God as it says in Genesis 1, then we, too, are called to love and give in amazing ways. We are called to reach in, up, and out for God just as God reached out in love for us.
We closed 2018 in the black for the first time in several years. What a joy to celebrate that! This year we are striving to continue that trend. I hope you will faithfully give to help us achieve that goal. In addition, please consider making a pledge to our church for 2020. Pledges greatly help church leaders budget for our ministries in the year ahead. Commitment Sunday is this Sunday, October 27. We will have a special time in worship of bringing our pledges forward and celebrating the great things God is doing in our midst. You can make your 2020 pledge online by clicking here…or pick up a pledge card in worship this week. Through our shared generosity, God will reach others with Love and Light. I look forward to seeing you on Sunday!!