Blessing Brothers and Sisters in Christ at CUMC:
I want to thank all of you so much for your wonderful service in ministry this year. Through the fire, through heartache, you have shown what it means to be a body of Christ. You have cared for one another, prayed for one another, rallied around one another and welcomed not just one another but others. It is truly a blessing to be your pastor. Thank-you so much for all you do!
As this year comes to an end, I wanted to share one last update. Today (Sunday, December 20, 2015), we vote on the sale of our beloved Church property at 429 North 8th Street. I know that this moment is bittersweet as this continues the closing of one chapter in the history of Christ UMC. If the vote is to approve the sale, then we will have need for work parties under the guidance of the Trustees to go through one last time and make sure we have cleaned and taken everything out. This will happen in January and the Trustees will meet Monday, January 4, 2016 to coordinate the process. After complete clean out, I will hold a decommissioning service of the property. More details will come in January on clean out and decommissioning if the sale is approved and completed.
The building committee met twice this week. First, a small group of the committee met with the Conference Volunteers In Mission to work on plans for how they and we as partners can save money by doing some of the work on the new church. This part of the planning is in the beginning phase. Second, the full building committee met on Wednesday to go over additions & deductions, work with the numbers that have come from our architect, and give approval for our architect & the building committee to move to full drawings for permitting, zoning and revised land development. Please pray as the next several months of work that our architect and building committee will be completing will be vital to the building project. We are looking at a budget of around 2.1 million with the hopes of only borrowing $700,000 (charge conference gave approval to seek to borrow as high as $850,000).
The office staff and I met with our claims agent this week to work on finalizing our contents claim and complete more paperwork. I am pleased to announce that we are 98% completed with listing everything we need to claim. As of this week, the contents claim has reached $288,607.36 with depreciation of $82,310.33 and a payout to the church that has come in or is coming in for contents at $206,297.04. Some items were not depreciated due to being new at the time of the fire or because we have already replaced them and hence have received the full value. I expect that the final number of the contents claim will get close to $300,000 in full value contents and $215,000 in payout with $85,000 left in possible replacement value recoverables. We will not recover all $85,000 (we already know that we settled on the organ and so we received $36,000 for the organ and will not be receiving another $24,000 as part of the settlement deal, so the $85,000 estimate is really down to $61,000). These final numbers are estimates but are pretty close as we are near the end of claiming contents. Now comes the part of replacing, recovering full value, deciding what not to replace, and/or deciding on whether to take a settlement offer on part of the $61,000. I will continue to keep you updated as we bring one phase to an end in January and work on the next phase after that.
Many of you continue to give to our building fund entitled “Imagine Christ.” Thank-you so much for your contributions which this year alone have totaled $60,493 (with 2 Sundays left to add to that total). In February, you will have an opportunity to make a new commitment to the project that will help move us closer to our reality of being a new church facility sometime in 2017. Please be in prayer about how you and your family would like to contribute to the new facility through additional giving to the building fund in 2016.
Last Sunday, we read these famous words from the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Philippians, “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13) We can do everything that is in God’s will through the one who gives us strength, Jesus Christ. We can be faithful to his call to be as brave as Mary when she said “I am the Lord’s servant.” Mary had nothing, according to the world, as a teenage mother but she had really everything as she was the Lord’s servant. As we move forward today, and throughout 2016 into 2017, may we be brave, bold and open to the movement of the Holy Spirit as God’s servants. Christ UMC, you are an amazing and caring church on behalf of Jesus Christ. May the Lord bless you and keep you as you strive to continue the mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. We can do this because we can do everything through Christ who gives us strength.
In His Love with a Christmas blessing to all of you,