Dear St. Matthew’s Church Family,
I hope you had a Merry Christmas and are enjoying a relaxing week with friends and family.
To start with, I want to thank everyone who helped with our worship services on Christmas Eve. It takes an enormous amount of effort to hold these special services and many of you gave up valuable time and energy to prepare and participate. I’m grateful for musicians, Scripture readers, Communion servers, Altar Guild members, ushers, greeters, nursery workers, the Children’s Ministry team, and everyone else who served in some capacity. A special word of thanks to the Worship Committee and everyone else who offered delicious food and hospitality on Christmas Eve for those of us who were at the church all afternoon and evening. We were blessed by your graciousness and your generosity. Thank you.
Sunday, December 30, is the final Sunday in 2018. In our worship services, we will read Isaiah 65:17-19, 24-25 and Revelation 21:1-7 and consider that God’s work of creating and re-creating is never finished. The beginning of a new calendar year is a natural time to pause and reflect on where we’ve been and where we’re going. As followers of Jesus, we can take this time to give thanks for the past year and ask for God’s guidance in the year to come. The message will be entitled: Hitting the Reset Button. I hope you’ll plan to join us if you’re in town as we remember that, by God’s grace, we can always make a fresh start.
Then on January 6, we’ll be starting a new sermon series called, Finding Joy in an Anxious World. The world in which we live is filled with anxiety, worry, and stress. Sometimes it is all we can do to survive. Everything from political and world events to personal suffering contributes to discouragement and despair. We know that joy is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, but we struggle to experience it. Invite a friend and join us as we explore some of the Bible’s answers to the challenges of 21st century life.
In the next few weeks, I will share more detailed financial information for 2018 and 2019, but right now, I want to thank you for your generosity and assure you that your willingness to share your time, talent, and treasure is making a difference in the lives of people in the church, community, and around the world. More than 45,000 people have been impacted by the ministries of the church in the past year. God has been working in powerful ways through St. Matthew’s Church and, thanks to your faithfulness, will continue to do so in 2019 and beyond.
As 2018 draws to a close, I want to remind you that Monday, December 31, is the last day for 2018 offerings. If you elect to mail your year-end offering, please ensure it is postmarked on or before December 31. Don’t forget that you can give online or by text message.
We are continuing to receive Estimates of Giving (EOG) for 2019. I want to thank everyone who has shared their plans for generosity and made a commitment to participate in God’s plans for St. Matthew’s Church, but we need to hear from at least 60 more families. If you haven’t done so already, please go to our website and use the Give link to complete your EOG (or download a form if you prefer a hard-copy), and sign-up for online giving. Don’t forget that if you use our automatic online giving service, it must be reauthorized every year.
A Final Word
Finally, on behalf of St. Matthew’s pastors and staff, I want to thank you for the generous love offering you gave us this year. As you already know, we (the pastors and staff) believe that we have been called to serve God through the ministries of the church and are blessed to be partners in ministry with you. We are looking forward to discovering what God has planned for St. Matthew’s Church in 2019. Thank you very much for your continued support and for the generosity of the love offering.
Anne, Rob, Andrew and Emily join me in wishing you and your family a blessed Happy New Year.