This is a season when we begin to anticipate all sorts of new life. Already azaleas are beginning to show forth their blooms and the red buds (one of my favorites) give us indication that spring is upon us. As I write, we are also half-way through the Lenten season. Lent is a season that prepares us to enter into the new life of Easter. On the last Sunday of March, we will celebrate resurrection as we remember that in Jesus, God is about the business of bringing new life into our world.
I also recognize new life sprouting throughout our church. I hope on Sunday mornings you are watching for our many visitors. Several visitors have been worshiping regularly with us for a couple of months and almost every Sunday there are new people visiting for the first time.
In this Communicator, you will find the proposals put forth from the Action Teams that have been working since January 10 to develop concrete steps to help us live into our vision. In these proposals, I see the congregation’s hopes and creativity as well as our collective desire to cultivate new life in this place.
There are also signs of new life in the hard work that our Finance Committee and Personnel Committee have done to develop a sustainable budget as we enter the 2016-2017 fiscal year (UBC’s fiscal year runs from April-March). A budget proposal will soon be mailed to the membership for discussion and a vote later this month.
Of course, many of us dedicate hours to cultivating our gardens in anticipation of spring blooms. The season of Lent is about slowing down and paying attention so we are prepared for Easter. And hours upon hours of work by the congregation are behind all the proposals and the work to form a budget.
Now, as we get ready to see new life sprout in our church, we have one more task we need to engage as a congregation. Due to all the transitions that took place within our fellowship in 2015, we are carrying a fiscal year deficit. As of the end of January the deficit was $26,578. While our new budget, which begins in April, should curtail future deficits, it would be helpful if we could close this fiscal year by eliminating most, if not all, of our deficit. How grand it would be to begin April with a sustainable budget, a congregational vision for our future, and no deficit from the previous fiscal year.
So, throughout March the Finance Committee is inviting the church to participate in a special Easter Offering—think of it as an offering for new life here at UBC, the last bit or work we need to do to get ready for all that is to come. The offering will go to our general budget in hopes that we can eliminate our fiscal year deficit. If you make a contribution, mark on your envelope “Easter Offering.” While it will go directly to the general budget, that will help us keep a total given to this special effort.
Already, the church has received a $10,000 contribution to start our Easter Offering. That is a good start, but now we are all invited to contribute as we can. Maybe some of us can find a way to give something up (like a meal out once a week) and contribute those funds during March. Maybe others can make substantial one-time contributions. Perhaps all of us can think about how our offerings might be part of our Easter worship—a celebration of God’s promise that in Jesus, new life is always coming into our world, into our church.