The Season of Christmas has come and gone. Once again, we are moving through the Church year, counting Sundays between Epiphany and Ash Wednesday. We have also passed January 1, the beginning of the Western calendar year. Our fiscal year has been reset, our committee year has begun again, all while the ongoing work of our churches offering Christ to Hampden, Winterport and the wider world continues.
At the end of January, both Hampden Highlands UMC and Ellingwood’s Corner UMC have before us a year of possibilities and opportunities. We are setting audacious goals to offer Jesus Christ to our communities. To do so well, we need to resource our mission, offering time, talent and treasure for the cause of Christ. Have you prayerfully considered where you can be involved in our collective work for Christ? What will you do for Jesus with the time, talent and treasure entrusted to you this year?
How will you offer your time in 2012? Will you join the youth group in traveling to Nicaragua, to help the work of the Iglesia de Christo there? Will you volunteer to work with the Sunday School, the youth group, or VBS (and, remember to get your background check paperwork in so we can all feel secure in our Safe Sanctuaries policy)? Will you volunteer to mentor someone going through Confirmation? Will you attend Annual Conference, serve on a committee in the local church, the District or the Annual Conference level? Will you volunteer at the food cupboard, homeless shelter, or with hospice, to touch those who are hungry, lonely or hurting? Where is God calling you?
How will you offer your talent in 2012? Some of you have spectacular gifts that you use in your professional life—gifts for teaching, music, and even finance and administration. How will you use the gifts God has given you, not just for a paycheck, but also for Christ’s Kingdom? Some of you have spectacular gifts you only use for Christ, and all of us have gifts God has given that we have yet to discover. What gifts do you want to use in new ways this year? Where might you look in your life for new gifts to use?
How will you offer your treasure in 2012? I hope you will continue to grow to be generous with all people, and especially for the sake of Christ through your local church and other organizations offering the Good News to the world. I’d once again encourage you to move toward tithing (giving 10% back to God) as a spiritual discipline, if you haven’t already made that commitment. I’d also like to offer a simple observation—our statistics don’t break out for adults and children, so yes, this is over-simplified: a tithe on $26,000 a year net amounts to $50.00 a week. If every person in worship at Ellingwood’s Corner UMC and Hampden Highlands UMC were to give an average of $50.00 a week (even every adult), both congregations would finish 2012 with a projected surplus—what might we do with abundance? What will you do with your abundance?
At the end of January, both Hampden Highlands UMC and Ellingwood’s Corner UMC have before us a year of possibilities and opportunities. What will you do for Jesus this year? I’m excited to imagine what we might do together!
In Christ, with you,
The Rev. David Nicol, Pastor of Hampden Highlands UMC
Pastor-of-Record to Ellingwood’s Corner UMC