Money Matters | End of Year 2022

Money Matters | End of Year 2022

Friends, this edition of Money Matters is personal. It is not meant to be divisive. Information related to our conference financial picture is found near the conclusion. For the faithfulness of our churches in paying their tithe, or portions of their tithe as finances allow, I say thank you. Ministry needs are being met and the work of making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world is ongoing in our communities, our conference, and beyond. 

Additionally, the group which is overseeing the part of our Comprehensive Study of Staffing and Resources will be presenting their findings to the task force along with directors and district superintendents in the next few weeks. I am so appreciative of our conference staff who has, and continues to work diligently even during uncertainty as to what the findings will be. 

Today my social media feed is overflowing with articles and comments meant to divide us. Items encouraging debate ranging from government policies to who should have won The Voice and everything in between. But by far the most discouraging and harmful are those comments and articles related to disaffiliation in The United Methodist Church. Seeing these, two teachings come to mind: John Wesley’s “do no harm” and Jesus telling the crowd that day (and us today) “you without sin cast the first stone.”  Since I am considered by most a conservative (because we label others according to our own preferences), others are puzzled by my firm conviction to stay UMC. For me, this decision was arrived at through prayer and guidance of the Holy Spirit. And, I will trust that those who stay and those who go will arrive at their decisions in the same manner.

You see, I will respect each individual and church decision and, for those exiting send them forth with prayer and grace to new opportunities and ministries. My burden, my concern, is the need to distract, discourage, and in some cases to disseminate false information on social media platforms. Do no harm. There are persons on our Facebook friends lists who do not know the grace and love of Jesus, of God, and there is harm being done. Please consider before you post: Is it true? Is it helpful? Is it necessary? Let’s agree to disagree on some issues and refrain from harmful and divisive social media posts. There are enough of those from sources outside the church.

Then, I am encouraged and thankful for ministry happening all around us. I had the privilege of dropping off a load of food boxes at a local middle school on Monday.  My vehicle was completely packed with food donations from two small churches, each with an average attendance below 20. Then, on Thursday there was trip to Shades of Grace with another full load of coats, blankets, towels. The daily posts from that ministry thanking their partners encourage me greatly. And, the articles and posts from our editor of The Call, highlighting ministries, recently in Bishop, VA as well as Whitwell, TN are sources of encouragement and challenge. 
And, last but certainly not least, I am encouraged by the continued generosity in challenging times of our Holston churches in their tithes to our conference budget and ministries. As of the first of December there is less than 1% decrease in giving for the same period last year. Thank you to all who are supporting our shared ministries.  While the amount received is still a shortfall in budgeted amount needed, I am encouraged as we begin to rebuild following the pandemic and in the midst of a challenging time in our denomination. The office of Finance will continue to accept tithes for the 2022 year through January 10, 2023. Let’s strive to end the year on a positive note. There are so many unmet needs and opportunities for ministry within our conference bounds as well as in our local communities. May we shine forth the Light of Christ in ministry that others will come to know this Jesus whom we follow.

Again, thank you for your financial commitment to ministry which we can’t accomplish individually but can be accomplished together.

Merry Christmas!

Grace and peace,
Carolyn L. Kidd, President Holston CCFA
 

Author

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Carolyn Kidd

Chair of the Holston Conference Council on Finance and Administration