We continue to meet and grow together in our understanding of how we are led by God’s Spirit and where we are going together. I thought I would take a moment to reconnect us with the purpose behind our participation in this Compass Project.
2 Years ago, at our Annual Charge Conference, our presiding elder asked us some difficult and important questions about who we are, what we do and how/if we plan to continue into the future. Rev. Baron was that presiding Elder and she asked us these questions because she noted in our standard paperwork some of the same information that we publish regularly in our Muse. We regularly have more expenses than income. Each year, we develop a deficit and previously, we would take from our interest to cover our expenses and more recently, we have been dipping into the accounts to withdraw not only the interest but also from the principle. How long can we do this? Should we do this? Should we consider a better way to be stewards of the gifts that have been given to this congregation and to the ministry of God here in Alplaus? It is these difficult and important questions that led us to participate in the Compass Project.
I think it is equally important for us to remember that we have been active Christians and faithful stewards of the resources available to us as disciples here in Alplaus. Our lovely little congregation does not exhibit typical signs of a “dying” church. We are also notably atypical in how well we get along and work together! Here at Alplaus, we share a commitment to ministry outside of the church. We do not simply exist to take care of each other. We do take good care of each other, but we also are committed to serving the community as well. We regularly meet our Ministry Shares commitment each year (formerly known as “apportionments”). In addition to the ways that we are committed to service in the larger UMC, we have dedicated offerings to ministries in the Schenectady area. We make these donations in January and because we would like to do and offer more, our fundraisers throughout the year are dedicated to one or more of these local ministries. We regularly serve at CIty Mission and we have at least 12 collections for the SICM food pantry.
I am taking this opportunity to point out that our congregation is not only good at worship (we are!) and keeping our doors open (they are!), we are continually reaching out to offer and live faith beyond Sunday mornings. So, to those who have been active and supporting these efforts, Thank You! To those who are surprised to learn some more about what we do and who we are, I ask: How can you join us? How can you support us? Encourage us in this Compass Project, hold us in prayer.
Blessings, Pastor Kristi