Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
I Thessalonians 5:18
As this is being written, on a cold and cloudy morning, I am reminded of the struggles we have faced and are facing – a COVID pandemic which keeps hanging on, political division, economic issues and the list can go on and on. For many this has certainly been a challenging and difficult year. Nevertheless, in the midst of all the uncertainty and struggles we can continue to give thanks. God has been, is, and will continue to be with us.
As we celebrate thanksgiving this week and prepare to begin our Advent journeys, we are reminded of the many ways God has been working in our lives and in our congregations. While some congregations have continued to struggle with how and when it is safe to gather in worship and fellowship, ministry has continued beyond the church building walls.
Magnolia Avenue UMC, in Knoxville, has continued to reach out to those in the community even as the building was deemed unsafe and doors shut. Now, as repairs continue, the building is once again open and worship is happening on Sunday evenings.
As persons in our communities were struggling with food insecurities, we saw blessing boxes pop up across our conference.
Elk Garden School Ministry, Jubilee Project, Project Crossroads, and Camp in the Community have been present in underserved communities meeting needs and offering Christ.
Throughout Holston congregations have risen above circumstances and found new ways to reach out to neighbors. Give thanks.
While our conference is still struggling, as are our congregations, with meeting budget needs we are thankful for the congregations who have continued to send conference tithes. We are thankful for those who were not financially able to pay the full tithe but have sent what they can. Thank you for your faithfulness in our shared ministries throughout Holston and across our connection!
The Money Matters blog will resume regular posts in the new year with many more stories and witnesses. There will be a couple of financial status posts in December as well. As we celebrate Thanksgiving and move through Advent to celebrate the birth of Christ our Savior, may we each be intentional in giving thanks and in giving generously!
Grace and peace,
Carolyn L. Kidd
President, Holston Council on Finance and Administration
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Chair of the Holston Conference Council on Finance and Administration