Dear Members and Friends,
Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? What are you waiting for? This is the time to do it!! Let me explain.
In our household with two children in high school and two adults working at a university, September 1 is the start of a new year for us. The return to school marks the beginning of new classes, new schedules, new calendars, new sports, and so much more. During the peaceful days of the summer we contemplate our hopes, dreams, directions, and resolutions for the new year. Resolutions are the toughest, because new habits can be hard to institute any month of the year.
We can acquire habits in a variety of ways. I was born into the habit of participating in and pledging to a local church. As with most habits we have from a young age this seems to come naturally. I’ve also acquired habits by partnering with other people. Perhaps the best example of this for me is exercise, which I do not embrace naturally. Let’s just say that living with Russ is like having a personal trainer and I’m grateful (usually) for his persistence. Our family’s habit of good food is an example of a habit that that has grown collectively within input from a wide assortment of people.
As you review your enclosed financial statement, take a moment to contemplate your habits of giving to Old First. Are there new habits you’d like to initiate? Is God calling you into a new year’s resolution? Here are few ideas to prayerfully consider.
- Start a Pledge: Consider making a pledge for the remainder of 2011. Pledges are confidential and simply indicate the amount of money you intend to contribute to Old First. This is important for church budget planning, but moreover pledging can be important for our personal financial discipline. Just send a note to the church office to the attention of Gerry Woodroffe to make a pledge for the remainder of 2011.
- Pay Automatically: Electronic bill paying is widely used for household expenses, so why not pay the church electronically? I suspect that more than half of us pay utilities bills automatically, but fewer than 10 households make their contributions to Old First electronically. Contact your bank directly about how to accomplish this new habit and then start this new habit on a weekly or monthly schedule. Checks and electronic transfers received during the week are brought to worship to be blessed. Consider the symbolism of contribution to the church first, even if it’s not a Sunday.
- Gratitude Gifts: Has there been a time when you especially felt God’s presence in your life? Blessed assurance during a time of doubt or trouble? Overflowing joy when God’s grace is incredibly tangible? A special occasion when you are showered with gifts or praise and you know that in reality it’s all God’s doing? Or have you been in worship and been washed over with gratitude for Old First? During worship we give thanks to God in prayer and song. Now, consider making an extra offering to Old First as a gratitude gift. Please indicate these extra contributions to the church budget as “gratitude gifts.”
Before I let you get back to your summer contemplations, I’m delighted to report that in addition to regular giving Old First received the following donations during the second quarter of 2011: One Great Hour of Sharing $942, Walk Against Hunger $220, Easter Offering $1,555, Heifer Project $1,049, Blanket Sunday $475, and a bike rack $350. That’s a total of $4,591. We are a blessed and generous people. Thanks be to God!
Now, as we look ahead, let’s pray for God’s wisdom and boldness is selecting new habits and then trust in God’s strength to provide steadfastness in our new endeavors. And Happy New Year!
With anticipation of the new,
Karen Winey, Stewardship Director