The Backpack Ministry
Our church provides food to elementary school children who do not get enough to eat on weekends when school is not in session. Lean more about The Backpack Ministry by clicking HERE.
We are aware of the urgent needs of some in our community for food, clothing, shelter, utility bills, medical needs, and so on. Money donated to the Grace Fund is used to assist individuals in our community. If you wish to give to the Grace Fund, just make a notation on your check’s memo line and the gift will be added to the Grace Fund. Funds donated will not be used for any other church needs. We will accept donations in memory or appreciation of your loved ones, families, or organizations.
We collect canned and packaged foods and take them to the Kilsyth Baptist Church for distribution. You can leave donations in the foyer or contact the church for pick-up.
Our congregation also supports Bluestone Camp.
Nepal Disaster Relief:
A Word About Stewardship (September 2015 Presbytery Newsletter):
David Lee, Chairperson, WV Presbytery Stewardship Committee
Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” This is never more evident than when we are feel that we are facing scarcity. When our resources are limited, we are especially careful where and how they are used. The task given to the presbytery’s Stewardship Committee is to determine how best to support faithfully and wisely the ministry and mission of the Presbytery of West Virginia in a season of diminishing membership and resources. Because many of our congregations are facing similar challenges, I thought that I would share some of the thoughts guiding our decisions.
There are two extreme reactions to the threat of scarcity. One extreme is to streamline, reducing all expenses to the lowest possible levels. The other extreme is to invest in the present moment to the point that reserves are exhausted.
I like to refer to the first extreme as the Life Boat approach. Convinced that the great ship that is our denominational institution is sinking, we (as a presbytery or as congregations) scurry to provision our own life boats to survive its demise. We leave behind any and all unnecessary encumbrances – and even some very necessary ones! – in order to stave off our own demise as long as possible. Members withhold their giving; congregations slash their Shared Mission pledges; presbyteries and synods lay off staff, all in order to stay afloat in a stormy sea. Stated as an extreme, this approach is clearly not only fearful but also faithless. It is rooted and grounded in the emotional conviction that there is little or no future left for us. Yet in the absence of a better vision, it is the most realistic option in the minds of many of those whose daily choices are the life of the Church. Their (mostly unspoken) conviction is that it is when, not if, our church closes… or cannot pay the gas bill… or cannot afford a full-time Teaching Elder…
It is my own conviction that choosing to implement fiscal policy based on that fear will lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy. If we plan to fail, we will fail. If we budget to die, we will die. If we dare to give only what is left over, we will soon discover that there isn’t even enough for essentials, much less anything left over. “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” And the parish perishes, as well.
I like to call the other extreme the Lottery Ticket approach. We take everything that we have – not only what we are, but also everything that has been built up and set aside by the faithful generations before us – and we wager it all on a whim and a prayer. If we lose, we are out of the game, but we went out with a bang. And if we win, we are in a stronger position than ever before. Taken to the extreme, this approach is not only foolish but counter-productive. It dismisses the value of all that has come before us, and alienates those persons who have so faithfully sustained our ministry and mission to date.
The Stewardship Committee has begun its work on the 2016 budget somewhere in between those two extremes. We are intentionally moving closer to the second approach than in the past, however. We have committed ourselves to investing in the future of this presbytery, drawing deeper from our reserves rather than slashing our expenses. Why? Because in our current culture, our members and our churches do not need a reason to withdraw; they need a compelling reason to stay. I’m not talking about leaving for another denomination. In many ways, that is just jumping from one life boat to another. What we need – what we crave – is an inspired and engaging vision of how our transformation in tum transforms our world. We need to see how our hard work and countless prayers and years of financial support are making a real difference in our world. Most of us don’t need to be told that we are needed; we already feel the burden of that responsibility. Sometimes we may even grow to resent it. We don’t need to be told that the presbytery can help us, in tum, although it is good to know. Most of us aren’t so small-minded that we believe we are the fullness of the Kingdom in and of ourselves. We want to be part of something bigger, something bolder, something blessed to be a blessing.
If the Stewardship Committee has any right to ask you to invest yourselves at all, then it should be for a vision and a purpose that is worth asking you for more, not less. If it isn’t worth more of you, then it probably isn’t worth much to you. The same is probably true of your congregation as well: if what is happening there is worth anything to you, then perhaps it should mean more from you.
For the Presbytery, the Stewardship Committee is recommending:
- An increase in the Per Capita from $28.50 per year to $29.00. Both the Synod and the General Assembly levels of the church have raised their Per Capita rates (which are included in ours) since we last raised ours, and are scheduled to increase again in 2016.
- We are asking congregations, to the fullest extent that they are able, not to reduce their Shared Mission Giving pledge. It has taken almost $2 of Shared Mission Giving for every $1 of Per Capita to meet the presbytery budget over the past several years. So we are challenging congregations whose pledge is less than their Per Capita assessment to prayerfully consider raising their pledge to match their Per Capita assessment. We appreciate the commitments that have made balanced budgets possible, and thank you for the ministry and mission that you and your congregations have made possible.
- You will not be asked to carry this burden alone. We intend to go deeper – perhaps even significantly deeper – into our reserves to underwrite the 2016 budget. We will continue to honor those whose faithfulness made those reserve funds possible, but we are aggressively seeking new ways to utilize those funds, even in a volatile market. This is not a gamble. This is a faith-based investment in our common future. Now more than ever, we are in this together! As our culture snuggles with challenges and changes of its own, our world needs the voice and light that we bring more than ever. We have not been Called by Jesus Christ to succeed, or even to survive. We have been Called by the Spirit of God to follow Jesus, take up our cross, and to be witnesses to that love that overcomes the divisions, hatreds and fears which so beset our world. We are the people for this hour. We have been Called, redeemed and equipped for just such a time as this.