A Look Back Over Our Shoulder
It can be said of every year, “There will never be another one like that one.” But it can really be said of 2013, “There will never, ever be another one like that!” Jubilee. Fifty years of ministry. Jubilee in the Park, public baptisms at the Old Ferry Dock and, of course, our Jubilee Celebration on November 17, the exact day that, 50 years ago, we came into existence as a church. Our hope one year ago, as we began to unroll the Year of Jubilee, was that this twelve month journey down Memory Lane would be more than nostalgic; that it would instead provide repeated opportunities to say, “Oh, my… how good the Lord has been to us!” I trust we succeeded.
As our Jubilee Year comes to a close and we approach Christmas Eve, one of our great annual festivals of faith, I’d like to reflect once more upon God’s faithfulness in 2013:
- It was a year of growth: 91 new members, 31 adults conversion, 22 adult baptisms (a record), 39 child baptisms.
- it was also a year of death. We said farewell to 27, a record year of loss for us both young and old.
- It was a year of complete turnover in the youth department. With our new Middle School Director Ryan Palmer’s arrival next week, our brand new youth leadership team is in place. And just last Sunday, our Youth Department Anthropology outreach had over 220 in attendance, and 13 students made professions of faith.
- it was a year of settling in. Our “newbie” pastoral and ministry teams are now “veterans.” (Believe me, one year at Chapel Hill is like dog years in most churches!)
- It was a year of significant adult ministry. Hundreds of women were blessed by Pastor Megan’s new study book on Hebrews (which is likely to be published this year!) and hundreds of men learned how to be better husbands, dads and friends through Men’s Life.
- it was a year for children (it always is around here!) 390 kids involved in Upward Basketball & Cheer, and Going Global kids created 90 healthcare kits for the homeless.
- It was a year for local outreach. Our special offering to support the Key Free Clinic raised a shocking $12,475, enough to pay the rent for 2½ years! And Jared Smidt, one of our staff members, cut and delivered four loads of logs to families who needed firewood… just because he wanted to.
- And it was a year of generosity. For the first time in six years, our annual giving is trending upward. Through Titus ministries, we gave $101,000 to assist those in need, mostly outside our church. And our special Jubilee Debt Retirement offering now stands at $1,182,500!
Closer to home, this was a year of transition for the Toones. Rachel completes her degree in Theology at Whitworth this month and has been accepted at Gordon-Conwell seminary to pursue her Masters of Divinity. And our senior Cooper was just accepted at Whitworth! 2014 will be empty nest for the Toones!
As you join me in one last backward look, I hope you also join me in expressing deep gratitude to the Lord for all that he has done in our midst! Isn’t God good? Thank you for being a part of bidding farewell to the first fifty years and launching the next. I can hardly wait to see what God will do, can you?
P.S. December is always a crucial giving month for us. Presently we have $340,000 more to go for the month of December to stay on track with our budget. Please remember that for your donations to be counted for tax purposes in 2013, must be postmarked by December 31. Thanks for a strong year-end push!