What a day!
I’m not sure which was my favorite moment of last Sunday’s 10th-anniversary celebration marking our entry into the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. Possibly when Carolyn Small, our last remaining charter member, stood up (surrounded by her family) to receive our acknowledgment. Or Pastor Jeremy Vaccaro’s (naughty) video. Maybe it was when more than half of the congregation stood to declare they had joined Chapel Hill in the last 10 years. Or perhaps it was it when, as I pronounced the benediction, the past and present leaders of our denomination stood with me, holding my arms aloft.
That last moment was special because it reminded me of what I’ve always felt: that the EPC is a denomination that has supported and encouraged us in a remarkable, faithful way in the past decade. Any time I have called and asked for help, the EPC has been there for us. Most notably, when Pastors Ellis and Rachel and their family were trapped in England a few years ago, barred from returning to us because of Visa issues, they might not have gotten back at all if it were not for the lobbying and labors of the EPC office!
I am grateful to be a part of a larger body; to be accountable to other pastors and presbyters; to have an organization that is fighting for us in the courts to preserve our precious religious liberties. All of that and more seemed worth celebrating and last Sunday, we certainly did…including an incredible party afterwards. So, thank you for joining us on that special day. I don’t think anyone who was present will ever forget it. I know it made me proud to be leading this faithful, generous, fearless Sweetheart Church.
There’s a concern I know you’d want to be aware of: the last five months we have seen our giving drop by $164,000 under budget. Inflation isn’t helping, I’m sure. Nor is $6/gallon gasoline. But the bottom line is, after a generous first half of the year, the last half has been rough.
Could I ask you to review your giving to ensure that you are current? If you have never supported Chapel Hill financially, this would be a wonderful time to jump in! And if you are able, as Cyndi and I are, would you make an extra, generous donation to help us end our fiscal year strong by the end of June? You can easily give online here. And whatever you give, would you please pray that the Lord will meet our needs through his generous people?
Thanks for what I’m sure will be a surprisingly enthusiastic response, as always! I’ll keep you posted. And I look forward to seeing you this Sunday as we continue learning about “Our DNA”… in what may be my favorite category yet!
Pastor Mark Toone