– Ephesians 4:11-13
Dear Friends of Atonement,
Thank you for your generosity, your participation, your kind support and your prayers for Atonement Lutheran Church and our ministry together. I remember the old Sunday school song that goes, “I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together – all who follow Jesus, all around the world, YES we’re the church together!” And it is so true – the church of Jesus Christ is all the believers, hopers, doers and dreamers that trust in the Lord and follow His call.
We often think of the offerings we give as going to “pay the bills.” It is true that some of that money goes to keep the lights on, to “brick and mortar,” to fixing the leaky roof (something we had to do multiple times this year) and making sure the grass is cut. But the bulk of your offering goes mainly to support people – people in need, people doing ministry, people learning about God and growing in faith, and people spreading the gospel.Your giving allows us to have an excellent paid staff serving the needs of our ministries. We know full well how blessed we are to have our talented music leaders. Choir director Ruby Agnir, keyboardist for Sunday services Ken Hanks, and Godify band leader Brian Lindner make up a worship staff that much larger churches would be proud to have. In our office, our new parish administrator Lynn McCurdy and office assistant Kay Edwards greet guests, answer questions, and manage our busy congregational calendar. Our seminarian Esthel Kane is serving Atonement in many capacities even as she studies for her ministerial classes and works to develop our Hispanic mission, Todos Unidos en Cristo. In addition to helping in the office on Thursdays, she takes part in many ministries and will be helping lead the youth this Fall. All these wonderful people are able to use their gifts to help our church grow because of your regular generous giving.
Beyond our paid staff, we have a large roster of volunteer team leaders whose work is concentrated on specific areas of our ministry. Each of these team leaders manages a budget, which is supported either directly through your congregational giving, or (like the food pantry) through giving in kind. These leaders will be submitting their next budget to be approved at the annual meeting (1st Sunday in December), but it is thanks to you that we are able to provide them with the resources to answer God’s call and lead these ministries.
Most importantly, money given to our ministry touches the lives of the countless people God sends us to serve. A young person has their life changed at a national youth gathering, a new resident wanders into a worship service and feels warmly welcomed, an out-of work father receives food for his family, an elderly shut-in receives communion in her living room, a local family brings their child to our Day Camp to learn about Jesus, a new first-time Lutheran experiences the wider church at a Synod Assembly… I could go on for a very long time listing people you have made a difference for through giving graciously to Atonement.Of course, I’m one of those people. Your regular offerings help pay my salary and benefits and help me afford a home in the Wesley Chapel area. As Susan has dealt with increasing health challenges, it has allowed her to quit her physically demanding work cleaning houses and focus on her volunteer work at Atonement. She handles all kinds of odd jobs around the church, works in the food pantry, plays in the praise band, helps with the audio-visual team, and is my personal “pastor’s support committee.” We are grateful every day that the giving at Atonement allows us to be here and minister among you.
“YES, we’re the Church together!” On behalf of all the people of Atonement – members, friends, staff and volunteers, care givers and care receivers of all kinds – thank you for being the church together with us. “May mercy peace and love be yours in abundance” (Jude 2)!