|As many of you know our church has just come through a very challenging 2015, but we are looking forward to a better year as we have turned the page to 2016. It has been announced that, with the help of some special over and above offerings, we were able to make our principle and interest payments as scheduled. We are thankful to God for that.
We are also excited to announce that our Senior Pastor, Steve Wingfield, will be returning from his 6 month sabbatical on January 31. He and Beth will be worshiping with us on that day and he will resume preaching on either February 7 or 14. Steve and Beth have been through a very difficult 2015, and I know they have missed their church and their church family as they have been away. We encourage each one of you to reach out and welcome them back. There are cards in the foyer that you can fill out with a greeting, share some of the ways their ministry has blessed you over the past 28 years, or a simple "welcome back" would be a blessing to them. The card can be dropped in the basket, mailed with a pre-addressed envelope, also available, or given to them in person this Sunday.
We would also like to extend a thank you to our entire church staff. They have, like all of us, endured a very difficult year as well. During Steve's absence they have all stepped up in many ways to serve the church. We thank each of them for that.
We also want to thank each person in this congregation for your prayers, words of encouragement, and patience as we know this time has been a challenge to many of you as well.
Finally, looking forward into 2016, we have experienced a sharp decline in giving which has lead to some very difficult budget challenges which will necessitate a reduction in ministry spending and staffing. We will be gathering a group of individuals from experienced pastors to those gifted in the area of finance to assemble a leadership team that will help us determine the best way to move forward for the health of our church.
What can you do? While we have some very difficult decisions, practical and emotional to make, we are also looking forward to getting back to our vision to REACH, WIN, GROW. We have a great church, a great facility and a great community to serve. Most importantly, we have a great God.
Please continue prayer support as we commit to getting back to the joy of serving God with a fellowship of believers that love and support each other in all we do.