A week ago this past Saturday there were four of us from the church who went Forrest Ridge (for more information about Forrest Ridge, you can go to their web-site: forrestridgeyouthservices.com). Along with providing baked goodies, and a craft/Christmas Card, and singing, we also did a short program. For the program I talked about Mary, Joseph, Jesus, Elizabeth and John. When I spoke of Mary living in Nazareth, and going to visit Elizabeth, which was a nine day journey by foot, and that Joseph probably lived in Bethlehem, about four miles from Elizabeth. So, when Mary went to visit Elizabeth that is when Joseph went over to see her. One of the girls asked "Why didn't Mary and Joseph just live together?"
How would you answer that question, in a short amount of time without having any warning? That is something that never crossed my mind, no one had ever asked that before at least to me. My answer to move us along was that people back then did not do that until after they were married. You see, sometimes stories that we know well, can be confusing for other people who are hearing them or having them explained for the first time.
Sometimes it is also that way when it comes to matters within the church. By now most of you should have received our Christmas Letter. The Christmas Letter indicated that our Christmas Eve Offering would go specifically to our general fund to help pay for our apportionments or you could designate it to go to Upper Des Moines Food Pantry. The Finance and Stewardship Committee are the ones who chose where our Christmas Eve Offering should go this year. We recognized that at that time we still owed $26,000 for apportionments, but knew how much you have given as a congregation to the needs throughout the year. However, we also felt that we needed to be able to support something beyond ourselves, reaching out to our neighbors.
In 2015 there has been amazing ministry and mission done: helping a single mother who had a house fire at the beginning of the year, two young people on their mission trips, sponsored a community picnic, separated the junior high from the high school with each age group having their own youth group, started an alternative worship service on Wednesday evenings, a weekly meal on Wednesday evenings, raised a $1,000 for the 'We Care' offering to help people right here in Emmet County, a children's Christmas Program on Sunday, December 13th, and have raised $68,689.21 that has been given this year alone for the New Beginnings Campaign (Furnaces & Air Conditioners) and have another $22,975 pledged to be given over the next two years to totally fund the $90,000 project. These are just a few of the things that we have done over the year! This is truly amazing, and I am thankful for your continued support and faithfulness.
It is because of all of this giving that the Finance and Stewardship committee felt that we would let the need be known without too much of a push coming on Sunday mornings for 'extra giving'. However, in doing this, some people were confused. Hence, the writing of this article. To date (12/22) we have been given around $5,000 specifically towards our apportionments, and we were able to pay a month's worth of apportionments at the end of November. So, now we estimate that we are a total of $17,000 short of being able to pay our 2015 apportionments in full. Any extra that you are able to give would be appreciated. You can do so by giving money in the offering plate, on-line, or by mail. Thank you for your continued generosity.
My husband, Allan, and I moved to Estherville in June of 2015. We are excited to be here, and to be in ministry with Estherville UMC!