Dear Church Family
Thank you. Thank you for being a church that gives.
Thank you for giving your prayers. Prayer is at the heart of church life. I know we're a people seeking to 'be devoted to prayer' (Colossians 4:2), understanding that nothing of lasting significance happens without prayer. Thank you for praying in your Belfrey Groups, in St Cuthbert's House of Prayer, at our termly Evenings of Prayer, at Tuesday morning's Dynamic Prayer. We've had so many lovely answers to prayer this year. God is good and he hears our prayers. As we go into this exciting weekend we can do so in confidence, knowing he's heard our many prayers for Saturday's Christmas Cafe (in St Michael le Belfrey Church) and for Sunday evening's Carol Service (in York Minster). So thank you for giving your prayers.
Thank you for giving your time. In so many ways. Not just when we gather in our congregations and groups (although so many do work hard behind the scenes ensuring our congregational worship and group life is excellent) but also outside of church life - serving your family, your street and your community. We're called to be 'ambassadors of Christ' (2 Corinthians 5:20), representing him and his Kingdom of right-living, joy and peace. Thank you for giving your time.
Thank you for giving your money. As we've been working through Luke's gospel on Sundays over the last two years we've seen so clearly how what we do with our money is a reflection of our hearts (eg Luke 21:1-4). Thank you for giving your tithes and offerings to our church, and trusting the leadership to use it wisely and well in serving God's transformation of the North. A good proportion of what we receive as a church we also give, for the benefit of the wider Kingdom; the rest is for worship and mission, to enable this generation to hear and respond to the good news of Jesus.
I'm pleased to tell you that the Church Council (PCC), at their November meeting, approved the church budget for 2018 which is looking positive.You may recall that the church received substantially more for Gift Day 2017 than the original target of £43,300, which is great! The amounts as outlined in the brochure have now all been given to the appropriate recipients, and we've had some lovely responses thanking us for our giving. In order to honour the intent of gift day givers, the surplus which was donated will also be given to the same recipients as in the leaflet, but during 2018. This leaves £4,000 given for Gift Day 2017 which the PCC would like to allocate to income to assist the 2018 budget. If you have any queries about this, please do contact our Finance Manager, Melissa Bryan.
So thank you. Thank you for giving your money.
Finally, thank you for giving your love. We express love in many ways but sometimes it's in the simple acts of kindness where we see love most clearly (see Romans 12:9-13). When someone is bereaved and the church family gather around them and really care. When someone is happy and their Belfrey Group are quick to throw a party to share their joy. When flowers are sent. Words of affirmation spoken. A thank you card is posted. A cake is made and delivered. A smile is shared. Thank you. Thank you for giving your love.
We're not a perfect church, but we are a good church, because our good God is with us and shines through us. So thank you. And keep giving. As someone in our Belfrey Group said last night, 'This church is so full of love. Whenever we meet I sense the warmth and the kindness. I so appreciate our church.' It comes from giving. Modelled most perfectly by the God we celebrate this Advent, who gave the very best thing he had - Jesus Christ - sending him to our world to show us true love.
So thank you for giving. Thank you.