As we near the end of this calendar year, it is becoming apparent that our church will be facing a significant budget deficit as we enter 2021. The pandemic has caused us to cancel many income generating events and while we are confident that we will continue to thrive as a congregation, we need to be even more attentive to our finances than usual.
Our Fall Stewardship Campaign concludes during worship this Sunday. If you have not made sure that your current pledge to FCC is up to date, please do so. If you have not yet considered your pledge for 2021, please do so. If you have not yet gotten around to sending in a special contribution, please do so.
As part of our Campaign this year, those of you who are not on the Vanco direct deposit program received the what follows in the form of a letter. Since not everyone got a copy of this, I am sharing it here, with some modifications, for the benefit of everyone:
One in five churches in America will close in the next 18 months.
That’s quite a figure. It comes from the Christian research organization, Barna Group, and is a reflection of the toll that Covid 19 is taking on the financial health of our churches.
At the beginning of this pandemic, 70% responding pastors said that they were “very confident” that their church would survive the pandemic. More recently, that number has dropped to 58%. It is forecast that, as the pandemic continues, that number will continue to fall.
Here at First Congregational Church, we seen a drop in income due to canceled events; the annual Christmas Fair being the most significant (this typically brings in around $12,000). We are also hampered by our continued inability to welcome everyone back to worship in the Sanctuary on Sunday mornings.
That is why this year’s Fall Stewardship Campaign is so important. As we look ahead to 2021, it is realistic to assume that it will still be many months before we can resume our regular patterns of worship and ministry here. Maintaining our financial health is, obviously, crucial.
I’ve come to believe that, in the end, surviving this pandemic at FCC comes down to relationships. It comes down to how deep or shallow those relationships really are. It comes down to how important this community of faith has been, is, and will be in your life.
God continues to have great things in store for our church! Please take some time now to help us ensure that we can respond to God’s call in this place as we look with gratitude upon our past and with hopeful excitement at our future.