As we all know schedules have completely changed.
We are still a church and much is still happening.
Check in regularly for updates.
Happy New Year! On behalf of the 2020 Consistory, we thank you for your support this past year. I can honestly say that no one on the 2020 Consistory thought we would have to consider the impact of a pandemic on the life of St. Mary’s nor conduct monthly Zoom Consistory meetings. During this challenging time, all of us quickly picked up a few technology skills while learning new ways to do what we do here. Sunday services continue via our Facebook Live and YouTube social media outlets. Pastor Sam’s morning prayer 6 days a week has a loyal contingent at 7 AM and others later in the day. Other church activities were reimagined, and new ones started. As it has been said many times, the building may have been closed but the work of the church continued.
Before too much time passes, we thank our outgoing Consistory members (Billy, Connie, and Hartman) as they have completed their two-year terms. Gene is stepping down from the Consistory as he continues his health recovery and anticipates coming back to the Consistory in the future. At the December Consistory meeting, Rob was selected to finish Gene’s remaining year.
We welcome to the next Consistory Mary Ann and Rachel as Elders and Sandy and Lee as Deacons. They join Rob, Tommie, Melissa, and Joe to serve on the 2021 Consistory. Installation will occur during the Sunday, January 10, 2021 online service.
Again, THANK YOU for your continued support and loyalty as we go forward. There is a reason St. Mary’s UCC has endured 258 years (and counting). It is the esprit de corps shown by all of you to imagine new ways to be the hands of Christ with each other and with members of our community. Thank you for what each of you do, every day, in the life of this church. If you are interested in participating or volunteering in new ways, please contact the office with your interest and we will be in touch!
Yours in Christ,
2020 Consistory President
Sunday, January 31 @ Noon
Via Zoom (link will be sent closer to the 31st)
Following presentations, there will be Q&A time.
WHAT IS THE DIGITAL MINISTRY FUND?
The Digital Ministry Fund financially supports the effective use of technology for ministry experiences, Spiritual Formation/Christian education activities, and digital outreach to the wider community. Funds should be used to enhance the worship experience, to engage and develop a sense of community, and to provide more accessibility of these experiences for onsite and online participation through the purchase, maintenance, and repair of technology. While money can be used to upgrade existing technology, ongoing services should be budgeted in the General fund as opposed to this fund. This fund could be used in the following ways:
• Hardware purchases (cameras, microphones, computers, monitors, printers, assistive technology for congregants during a service, etc.)
• Software purchases (programs, applications, etc.)
• Upgrades to existing technology or redevelopment of the website
• Training to use the technology
Below is a summary of Church finances and other related items thru 91.8% of the budget year as of the end of November:
General Fund: Budget %
Total Income: $ 171,631.83 107.3%
Expenses: $ 159,136.88 72.6%
Wider Church Giving:
Income: $ 12,026.00
Expenses: $ 11,458.36
Designated Giving as of November 30th: $ 6,357.00
Expenses: $ 5,747.00
This includes donations to the Silver Run Pantry of $4,254 including $585 in November.
The Digital Ministry Fund collected $740 in November.
We received $145 for Veterans Day. The funds will be sent to the Carroll County Veterans Independence Project to assist local veterans in need.
Thanks to everyone who has contributed time or money to our church’s ongoing operations during these historically difficult times. As you can see by the General Fund percentages, our income has exceeded what we estimated when we approved the budget in December 2019. This is due to two primary reasons. First, we applied for and received $17,100 from the federal Personal Protection Plan (PPP) in May. Second, we received a $25,000 donation in November. There are no words to express our deep appreciation for the generous donation, especially during these trying times.
We are on track to meet the OCWM component of our Wider Church Giving goal $12,500. Consistory agreed at their December meeting that once we meet our $12,500 goal then all additional undesignated money for Wider Church Giving in addition to the Christmas Eve envelope will be divided between two of the four Consistory designated local programs, Carroll Hospice and Keep and Till. The other two programs, Silver Run Pantry and Shepherd’s Staff have received to date over $2,000 and $1,300 (in money and school supplies) respectively.
Thank you for your continued support of St. Mary’s and our outreach activities.
Bob F, Finance Ministry Chairman
Remember you can give online using the Give Online Link at the top of the page.
As we wrap up 2020, we are thankful for all the work that continued in our church through this year, a year that kept throwing us challenges. But we weren’t the only ones met with challenges, our community was too. We were able to continue to support our community because of you! You stepped up with designated donations to specific community support groups either through direct checks or purchases of designated Scrip cards. You also provided support to the community through Fundraiser participation. The good work of our church continues! Thanks to all who made Outreach possible.
Virtual Cookie Walk and Carla Smith’s Jewish Apple Cake Sale!
WE DID IT! The St. Mary's UCC Virtual Cookie Walk and Carla Smith’s Jewish Apple Cake Sale was a success with over $2,700 raised to support many deserving organizations in our community. Thank you doesn't seem to be enough to express how much we appreciate everyone's support of this year's cookie walk. We took a chance on this new way of holding the event and the response was tremendous. The drive thru pickup worked out great and Santa's elves were very organized on Saturday.
BIG SHOUT OUT to Mark, Larry, and Caleb for clearing the snow and ice so everyone could safely drive through our outdoor pickup area and use the church ramp on the 19th.
ANOTHER SHOUT OUT TO Lisa K for receiving online and mail-in orders and keeping us organized throughout this process and the volunteers (Stacy, Carla, Debbie M, and Dawn) who helped distribute orders in the cold on the 19th.
OUR BAKERS AND FUDGE MAKERS came through again as well with approximately 5,000 cookies baked so we could have everything packaged and orders assembled before the snow fell!
Mary, Mary, Tommie, Kay, Belinda, Sandy, Jenny, Jean, Debbie, Stacy, Judy, Dawn, Carla, Debbie, Lisa, Dottie, Michele, Vicki and Terri
Thank you to Dawn for taking on the task of packaging everything so beautifully and setting up an assembly line in her living room to get everything so organized! We feel very fortunate to be associated with such a talented group of individuals and couldn't do all we do without them and those who support our fundraisers.
THANKS TO ALL WHO DONATED items for the Human Services Programs of Carroll County and the Blessings Closet at Shepherd's Staff. The items are desperately needed and VERY MUCH appreciated. We collected 115 items for distribution.
Congratulations to Marge for being the big winner of the free raffle, and thank you for your generous donations.
WE WISH EVERYONE A SAFE AND THOUGHTFUL HOLIDAY SEASON!
The St. Mary's Fundraising Crew,
Debbie, Carla, Lisa, Emily
CHURCH & MINISTRY
Happy New Year Everyone. I want to take this opportunity to thank the staff of St. Mary’s United Church of Christ for working diligently throughout 2020. Everyone worked together to keep each other safe, find alternative ways to complete work assignments, and support the congregation and the community at large. Their continued perseverance and dedication to continue the work of the church is really second to none and is recognized and very much appreciated.
We anticipate staff will continue to fulfill their duties and responsibilities while continuing to take the necessary precautions to preserve their health and safety along with that of their co-workers and visitors as we enter 2021.
The office staff never missed a beat and allowed Church and Ministry to successfully and seamlessly meet their goal of upgrading the technology of the church without any significant downtime or interruption of service. This upgrade supports virtual services and provides a new level of security for the administrative records maintained by the church. Lisa K, Lisa B, and Sabrina provided both technical feedback and administrative support throughout the process.
Thanks to the technology upgrade (and others involved in that effort including Pastor Sam, Rob, and Mark), we look forward to more innovative methods of bringing St. Mary’s to the congregation and visitors through increased use of technology and outreach. This includes special music ensembles organized by our talented music directors, Mary Ann, Jane, and Alice.
Mary Ann’s musical talent brought much joy to me, and I’m sure many others, during these times when we couldn’t safely gather in the sanctuary. She continued to practice endless hours to make sure everything was perfect. And as I remember a Southern pastor’s quote, “while the sermon feeds the mind, it’s often the music that stirs the soul and reinforces the pastor’s message.”
I am happy to tell you that the music will continue, and we all look forward to both Jane and Alice’s collaboration with Pastor Sam and Mary Ann to bring special music ensembles from the Bell Choir, guest musicians, and other presentations from some of our talented friends in a variety of unique ways to provide continued music for our souls.
Have a safe and healthy 2021.
Church and Ministry and on behalf of
Linda, Doug, Joe, and Rob
Pastoral & Congregational Care
Carroll Hospital Center, its affiliated organizations, and nursing homes have banned visitations for the time being. Pastor Sam will not be making visits to any members. However, in the event of a life-threatening emergency, clergy are permitted to provide end-of-life care. If such a situation occurs, please contact Pastor Sam as soon as possible at email@example.com or call me directly on 717-309-7680.
Pastoral care will still be available for members of the congregation. While home visits are discouraged, Pastor Sam will be at the church office for visitations. With good hygiene practices, we can continue safe, limited pastoral care opportunities.
Offering in this time of change
As we increase our congregational activities in new ways, the continued financial support of our members is paramount. You are encouraged to give in two ways:
· You can give online through our secure online giving portal at the top of any of our pages.
· You can mail your checks. The CDC has assured us that mail is unaffected by the virus.
We’d like to remind you that we offer electronic giving as a way to automate your regular offering. Electronic giving offers convenience and consistency and has been proven secure. You may choose direct debit giving from your bank account or use a credit or debit card. The plan is flexible; ranging from a 1-time gift to a regularly recurring transaction at your discretion. Online giving allows you to access our church website – www.stmarysucc.org – at any time to set up a donation plan, change an existing plan, make a 1-time donation or view your donation history. As you contemplate future contributions, please consider electronic giving. Additional information is available by contacting Sabrina, financial secretary.