I’m having a hard time settling down to write a January newsletter article in the midst of the unending preparations for our Christmas celebrations. The final Christmas Eve bulletins are finished. I think that all of the details are in place, and now it’s time to look further ahead.
The Church Council and all of you interested in working alongside us in planning for our future, will gather on Saturday, January 25 from 9 to 1 at the church. Every year we run at a deficit for part of the year. Every year. And every year your generosity catches up with that deficit in the month of December – at least enough so that we can cover the deficit with funds we hold in reserve for such an event. Last year we had a surplus. This year we are finding that our deficit is greater than we expected, and we don’t yet know how it will turn out. So, how do we plan for the coming transition, keeping the church on a firm financial footing If you want to see the faith of your church council in action, join us for this day of planning and offer your best wisdom and faithfulness to the conversation!
Teen Time on Main Street is still in progress This is the program we are working on with the County Executive’s Office, RIA, Franklin Middle School, the Franklin Precinct, and a few others. Just this morning we received word that the Library’s closing date has been pushed into March, giving us more time to complete our work on licensing and finding the other staff member we need. You may know that Susan Harry has been working with others in the community to offer a once-a-week after-school program called Campus Life at Franklin Middle for the last several years. It has had its ups and downs in the numbers of youth that have participated, largely due to difficulties in getting space and getting on the calendar at the school. Just a week (maybe 2) ago, after about 8 weeks of meeting weekly with just a few kids, 19 kids showed up! It was a great (if exhausting for the adults!!) day, and Susan took the opportunity to chat with the young people about Teen Time, and they were very enthusiastic. Please pray for the success of this program that, while not a Christian ed program, offers an opportunity for RUMC to show Christ’s love for the young people of this community.
Junction Coffee. Some of you heard us report in worship a few weeks ago that our coffee shop team went to what’s known as a Ministry Hatchery and were awarded a grant from the denomination and also from the annual conference, totaling $2600. As I write this, we are waiting for word on whether we will be awarded another grant from the annual conference for this work. At the Hatchery, the team was able to get “unstuck” in some ways that I believe will help move this essential ministry forward. I realize that not everyone understands why we should do something that seems like just a business. However, the mission of the ministry will be to relate people, mostly young adults and youth, to God. This means touching lives that we would otherwise have no access to by offering what to them is a non-threatening atmosphere for conversation and events that will invite spiritual connection and conversation. I left that event with hope that the shop can be ready to open in the fall. Please pray daily for this process!
These are the 3 highest priorities for the next few months, from my point of view in addition, of course, to preparing for the pastoral transition – a time of letting go and opening to what is new.
I am so grateful that we will walk through these next few months together!
Blessings on you,