I returned home very late on Saturday, actually Sunday AM. I really didn’t want to go to church in the morning, but I made myself go because there was a guest speaker from the national church’s stewardship division who is to help us with a major fund raising effort for improving our building.
Our building needs work since part of it is certainly overdue because of being over-the-hill. But we also want to improve accessibility, including bathrooms and access to all three levels for handicapped people.
So….we can go into this project with optimism, knowing that an improved building will better serve our mission.
It remains to be seen just how much money our people can contribute over and above their usual giving. There are complications. As with most churches, we have many elderly and retired people. Perhaps we have more retired people than some churches, since many people choose to retire in our area.
But just in the last few days, we found out that a manufacturing plant 5 miles away is scheduled to be closed. This has to do with the end of the house building boom of the last few years. It is within the ripple effect of that downturn. The closing of this plant will cause a loss of income to the small businesses who supply it with the raw materials and the machine parts. The downturn in the housing market will also crimp the income of the people in the real-estate business, which has been healthy in our area until lately.
The local hospital has had to cut hours of office employees due to economic problems.
And, last but not least, the local schools are on the verge of having a referendum to raise school (property) taxes due to needing funds to make up for declining enrollment and a downturn in the funds supplied by the state.
I’m sure that our church members will throw all these things into their equations when they decide on what they can pledge toward our church’s building project. I would guess that many will be forced to pledge on the low side of what they might have forecast just a few months ago.
My prayer is that our members will pray about their own decisions for giving and give, in whatever amount they decide, with a cheerful heart, knowing that God will bless their efforts.
I also pray that there will not be a spirit of dissention while this takes place.