On January 24, we held our annual State of the Church address and Church Conference meeting. We began with worship and a video highlighting the past year. You can view it online. As you’ll see, 2022 was a productive year. Almost everything that COVID cancelled has returned with new life, and many new ministries have begun. In case you missed it in the video, I want to highlight a few items:
- Worship was back in a big way in 2022 – we saw a 20% increase in in-person participation and continued online participation from people in our church and new people across the country. We’ve had prayer requests come in from New Mexico. Thanks from California for the messages, and questions about faith from people seeking God near and far. If you worship at the 10:00 service you’ve seen a multitude of new faces who have stepped up to offer their musical gifts with the band. And there is now a youth band providing worship on Wednesdays with the rezYouth for their Oasis ministry. Our worship is growing.
- Speaking of Wednesdays, back are the Wednesday night dinners; but now they are for the whole community, not just the youth. We used to provide a once-a-month Dinner on Us in conjunction with other churches, but when COVID ended that we said we’ll do it every week ourselves. I want to share a story of one young family from the community who came every week until Christmas. At their last dinner, held despite a snowstorm, the mother said she was glad we didn’t cancel because that meal was so important to her family. She also said they were moving to Iowa after Christmas and that her children were sad to leave because they so enjoyed Wednesday dinners. One of them told her, “When we move we have to find another church like our church here.” Now I don’t think I’ve ever seen them here on a Sunday, but for that child this is their church and a special place for them. When we say one of our visions is to bless the community, we mean it.
- Over 30 community groups meet here, from recovery groups to Girl Scouts to the community band, to art group and elections. And if you ever come in over lunchtime on a Monday or a Thursday and smell something delicious cooking, it’s probably a group of persons with disabilities who are using our kitchen to practice making lunch for themselves.
- Of course we bless people not only in Hastings but around the world. For the first time we donated our Easter offering to missions through our Be the Hope campaign. Over $20,000 was raised. And when a typhoon struck the Philippines and Pastor Duane discovered the plight of friends of his and their church, we responded with over $5000 more.
- 2022 saw renovations of classrooms with volunteer labor, the start of a new experiential confirmation program, our first Boundary Waters youth trip in a long time, Christmas bingo, worship in the park, sidewalk and parking lot replacement, flood bucket collection, and a new MOPS group for young mothers. We also had new families, new persons coming to faith, and the list goes on and on.
- In this coming year, we will have a new boulevard sign that was graciously donated to us, and new logo and new ministries that are just now being formed. And we have a new bishop and district superintendent, too. If you’d like to meet Bishop Plambeck there will be a gathering on February 18 at the Grove church in Woodbury. We’ll take a van load over to meet her, so be looking for a sign-up soon.
God has been so good. In so many ways. Including in the generous giving that has allowed Resurrection to do what we do.
Following this address, Kim Tharp, our Finance committee chair, gave an update. Our giving in 2022 was up over the previous two years. We paid off an additional $112,928 in principle over and above our regular mortgage. The mortgage on our $1.4 million renovations is now down to $606,668. The average giving commitment for 2023 went up $363 to $3,282 per pledger. And we have a balanced spend plan (budget) projected for 2023 with total General Fund expenditures of $627,084.
This year we began a new annual recognition of a person who reflected the humility and servanthood of Jesus as described in Philippians 2. It is called the Humble Servant Award. While we have many, many humble servants of Christ at Resurrection, this year’s award went to Kim and Colleen Tharp who hosted the Fall Fest at their farm, gutted and renovated four classrooms, built cabinets for our rooms, led Wednesday dinner, organized the lunch for the outdoor worship in the park, and humbly served in many other ways. Congratulations, Tharps!
We concluded by electing some of our leadership. Thank you for all who agreed to serve on these committees. There are copies of the leadership list available on the literature rack near the front door at church.