Monthly News — 9/2017
St. Thomas United Methodist Church
Greetings to all good stewards of St. Thomas,
Last week I went to the Annual Stewardship Summit at Barrington United Methodist Church. There was about three hundred clergy and laity from all over the Northern Illinois Conference participating. The speaker was Rev. Molly Phinney Baskette from California and she started with a statement “Vision is Essential”. She shared that we ought to ask three questions: WHAT do we do at our church? WHY do we do it? WHAT do we want to do next? The point is that we need to communicate from inside out, starting with a question WHY do we do what we do. For example, Why do we come to church? Why do we do PADS? Why do we worship? Why do we give (time, energy, money…) Why do we serve? When we have a clear understanding of WHY we are doing what we do, church becomes a vital congregation.
Do you know our St. Thomas’s vision and mission? We revisited the vision and mission in January this year. If you go to our website (stumc.net) you will find the big word says “God’s love is available to you and everyone in the world.” That is our vision, and that is what we are aiming for as our goal. Our mission is “to honor and extend God’s love in service to others”, which describes how we are going to get to our vision. So through our worship, outreach, witness, nurture, services, giving, fellowship, we are promoting God’s love and we want all people to know that they can find God’s love in our church. This is why we do what we do at our church, to experience God’s love and share God’s love. We want to be a church that is inclusive not rejecting, demonstrating unity not isolation. I hope all of you can experience God’s love at church or wherever you are. We connect through worship, prayer, communication, and fellowship. If you feel like you are disconnecting from church and the St. Thomas community please share that with us. We will find a way to reconnect you, as there are several ways you can be reconnected.
During the Stewardship afternoon session, they offered 4 other different topics that related to stewardship. 1. Beyond Membership: Sunday life lived seven days. 2. Beyond Budgets: Setting the captive free, dreaming beyond the budget. 3. Beyond Bills: Generosity changes lives; budgets not so much. 4. Beyond Change: Conflict is normal; healthy conflict transforms. I liked all the sessions, and it helps us to be reconnected with God’s love.
First, Beyond Membership: the speaker shared the idea of small group and I believe that is one good way for us to be connected with God and others. We have a few dining-out groups already and I want to start one or two more different small group such as a cooking class small group. A second group is our covenant group in which we get to share our spiritual life together. The speaker suggested that we should start with telling stories, a spiritual autobiography. We also have Bible study groups, one on Wednesday evening and one on Thursday afternoon. Please sign up and be with that group. If you have any other ideas of small groups, please share that with me or others in our leadership team.
Second, Beyond Budgets: the speaker started with a song “If I Have a Million Dollars” and changed it to if we have $1000 extra dollars after our budgets for the year, what is God’s dream for that $1000 that we can do. For example, they bought Bibles to give away and by the end of the year the total Bibles they gave away cost $1000 dollars. Then she challenged us to think what ways we can use $1000 or $2000 or $3000 to dream God’s dream in our ministry. We can be connected in God’s dream to share God’s love with other.
Next, get connected with a serving ministry like PADS, FOOD PANTRY, CROP WALK, and many other ministry opportunities. Beyond Bills, the speaker talked about how generosity changes lives. People who give generously are the people who are happier. She talked about the power of giving and by giving we can give away happiness. By being involved in ministry is being generous. For those physically able, serve physically; those who have time, give your time, those who want to do but can’t, support with resources and money. There are many ways we can be connected to God’s love and share God’s love. Generosity is God’s idea. God freely gave us so much and he asks us to do the same.
“Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.” 2Cor 9:10-11
Stewards of God’s people, be generous in all that you give and do, for God will reward you more than you can handle and be honored. Let us be connected in God’s love. May God be the glory!
The Leadership Team met August 18 & 19 to discuss what we are doing at St Thomas and planning for the future. There is concern about our shrinking income and how we will continue to support the church building, the parsonage, our staff and our programming. The Leadership and Finance Teams will be meeting together on Thursday, Sept 7, 7:00 p.m. at the church to discuss options about how we might continue to function.
–Leadership Team Coordinator
Hebrews 10:24-25 Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the day approaching.
September 10 is a special Sunday for us at St Thomas UMC. It is Friends & Neighbors Sunday, a time for everyone to be in Worship at 10:00am. New people come to church because church members invite them to come. Have you invited someone? Is there a new family on your street that you could talk to about our church? Let’s make some new friends and welcome them to St Thomas!
And as we talk about inviting new people, think about how we welcome people into the sanctuary. In addition to the initial greeting by the greeters at the front door, our ushers are very important. Their friendly “hello” sets a tone and, at their direction, available seats can be found. It is helpful if, when you find a row to sit in, please move to the center of the row as you able. Be friendly and move on in!
The Chancel Choir starts rehearsing again so they can lead the congregation in praising God during Sunday morning Worship. (See the article that follows for details.)
Looking forward to seeing you in church!
Sanctuary Choir will begin practicing on the Wednesday after Labor Day at 7:30-9 pm. Any voices are welcome. We love to sing and would like anyone who would also like to praise the Lord with song come join us. Also, on September 6th we will have a get together at 6:30 pm with a pot luck. So please bring something to eat along with your voices that night.
The choir will begin leading the church service music on September 10th and will rehearse at 9:30 that morning.
— Choir Director
Staff Parish Update
Staff Parish Relations Committee will be Celebrating the St. Thomas Staff on a special Sunday in October!
Please watch the announcements and the October WORD for the date and details.
If you have any comments, please bring them to the attention of any one of us…
— SPRC Chair
Blood Drive: Monday, Sept. 18th
Our next blood drive is on Monday, September 18th, from 3:30 pm – 7:00 pm. Each pint donated has the potential of saving three lives. It is estimated that about 500 donations are needed each day to save patient lives. Please consider providing one of those donations. The Heartland Blood Center website at www.heartlandbc.org has an abundance of information about eligibility, the donation process, how to prepare and what to do after donating. The whole process should be complete within an hour including registration, screening, a “mini-physical,” donation, and rest and refreshments after. If you are able to, sign up online to reserve the time of your choice. You can also call Karen Littlefield at 630-424-0140 for scheduling or find her around the hospitality table or in the narthex after church when she’ll be able to schedule you online with her phone. Walk-ins are welcome, though, so feel free to stop by even if you’ve forgotten to sign up! Remember to load up on those iron rich foods whenever you can before donating! This time, donors will be given coupons for admission to Siegel’s Cottonwood Farm Pumpkin Fest. Check out their website for all the attractions at this Lockport establishment. Many families have made visiting the Pumpkin Fest a fall tradition. Look for information in the narthex. And please give the gift of life!
— Blood Drive Coordinator
Save the Dates:
Friday – Sunday, October 20-22: Women’s Wellness Weekend
Thursday, October 26: All Church Conference with the District Superintendent
Sunday, October 29: Fall Auction
Going Green…BREAD tags
SCARCE is glad to announce that they are now collecting plastic bread tags for recycling in partnership with Danielle Cares for Chairs. Plastic bread tags are those square clips commonly used to seal bags around a loaf of bread, bagels, or even produce. If you are trying to reduce your plastic use, they can be hard to avoid. Further, plastic bread tags are not recyclable in your curbside recycling bin. Therefore, millions end up in landfills each year, just adding to our disposable plastic problem.
Why Can’t They Be Recycled at Home? Well, two reasons. First, they are tiny! Recycling equipment simply isn’t able to sort them out. Second, they are made of #6 plastic a.k.a. polystyrene which is not recyclable in any form (we’re talking about you styrofoam and solo cups!) in Illinois’ curbside recycling programs.
Reduce Environmental Impact, Increase Social Impact: Danielle Cares for Chairs is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit in Indiana that collects and recycles plastic bread tags for funds to purchase wheelchairs for those in need. It was started by high school junior, Danielle Rothchild, after an upcycling challenge got her working with bread tags. She found an organization in South Africa collecting them to raise funds for wheelchairs. She was inspired to take action.
SO, drop off the tags in the round container on the ledge—the one that also is collecting the Labels for Education. Any way we can make a small difference in this world is meaningful and helpful!
GOING GREEN IN A FEW WORDS…
Use it up, Wear it Out,
Make it do…
or Do Without!
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE!
Update from Stewardship & Finance
We have accomplished great things but challenges still lie ahead. Let me recall for you the accomplishments. After last February, when I notified the congregation that our financial condition was weak, many of you increased your pledges. Furthermore, many of you gave your time and excess stuff to our successful August rummage sale. Last spring, when the parsonage roof sprang a leak, again, nearly everyone contributed to the repair costs and the Village Vocal Chords even gave a benefit concert to help out with the roof project. Also, we received a grant from the Northern Illinois Conference of the United Methodist Church to pay part of our medical insurance costs. These miracles have provided over $30,000 in gifts that could only be imagined last February.
Challenges lie ahead in funding of our operations and our parsonage roof costs. Despite strong giving by our members, our monthly expenses still exceed our income. As a result, our operating fund balance, which was $10,000 at the start of the year, had dwindled to $0 by the end of July. We dipped into prepaid pledges for $113 to pay the July bills not covered by donations. Furthermore, our final roof replacement costs exceeded the base contract amount by over 50 percent, due to rebuilding the deteriorated dormers. The estimated cost to repair the interior damage has not been determined. To pay our upcoming bills, we will depend mainly on your continued support. If you have questions about your pledge payment status, please contact Steve Weaver. Also, expect interim donation statements this fall
— Stewardship & Finance Chair
Village Vocal Chords Chorus Benefit Concert &
UMW Ice Cream Social
A ROUSING success!
Just over $3000 was donated to the
Parsonage Roof Fund
as a result of this event.
Thanks to all who participated!
St. Thomas United Methodist Church
2 S 511 Route 53
Glen Ellyn, Illinois 60137
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