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Newsletter 

December 2021

Worship Ministry

The advent season is here, and with it comes lots of different activities! Please look at the schedule of events below and join us when you are able! 

 

11/28 - Hanging of the Greens and after party starting at 2:30 PM

12/11 - Historic Church Tour 3-7 PM(see insert below about tickets) 

12/12 - Children's Christmas Pageant during worship service

12/18 - “Christmas Comes to Life” drive-thru event 5-7 PM

12/19 - Christmas Fund Offering

12/24 - Christmas Eve services 4 PM and 7 PM with Communion

 

Consider This

Benjamin Franklin wrote a yearly almanac under the pseudonym Poor Richard  (Poor Richard’s Almanac) which was published from 1733 – 1760.  This almanac was a collection of information, advice, and sayings. In one of these almanacs he wrote, “The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”  With these words he draws a distinct line between the virtues of faith and reason.  He asserts that logic can often get in the way of the cultivation of faith, whether it is in God or the belief in an idea or person.  Clinging too closely to what we know, Franklin warns, can obscure the vastness of what we still have yet to learn.  Something to ponder…

(Submitted by Belinda Finn)

 

 

Historic Church Tour

Saturday December 11   3:00-7:00 pm

Join the Historical Society of Carroll County and Shepherd's Staff in touring 13 Historic Churches decorated for the season including our St. Mary's United Church of Christ and St. Mary's Evangelical Lutheran Church.

 

Tickets are $15.00 for Adults / Children 12 and Under Free

Tickets must be purchased in advance: Hsccmd.org/event/hhowt

 

 

Congregational Meeting

 

There will be a Congregational meeting on December 12th at Noon.  The purpose is for Consistory/Nominating elections and 2022 budget approvals.  Meeting will be onsite and available via Zoom for members.  Members should contact the office for the Zoom link. Snow date is December 19th. 

 

Finance Ministry

Below is a summary of church finances and other related items for the end of October:

 

General Fund:                                    Budget %

Total Income:      $   143,031.34           97.0%   

Expenses:           $   155,078.21           73.4%

                            $  -  12,046.87   

    

Wider Church Giving:

OCWM:

Total Income:     $     9,673.00

Expenses:          $   10,466.40

                          $     -  793.40

 

 Designated Giving as of October 31st:              $  5,796.50 

 Expenses:                                                          $  5,454.00

                                                                            $     342.50

 

This includes donations to the Silver Run Pantry of $ 474.00 in October.  Year to date, we have received and expended $3,796.00 for the Silver Run Pantry.

 

We received $50.00 for our Digital Fund and have a balance of $ 2,089.55.

 

We are 83% through the calendar year.  We have compared our October income with 2020’s income and we are approximately $24,800 or 21% ahead of last year’s income.  The two primary reasons are our donations are up about $13,700 or 15.5% and our endowment income is up about $11,100 or 37.3%.  Our expenses this year are about $8,400 or 5.7% more than last year.  The income and expenses percentages are slightly better than we anticipated, and we attribute this to the continued support from our donors and our Ministry teams.  Our OCWM donations appear to be on track as well.

 

It is important that we continue to support our church’s General Fund and our various Wider Church Giving efforts to help sustain our support to a number of local programs that are assisting those in need in our community, especially as we move into the winter months.  Our disadvantage neighbors have endured additional financial challenges as inflation has significantly risen since January and I expect the current inflation rate will be with us through the winter. 

 

We began our stewardship campaign on Stewardship Sunday, November 14th.  Your pledges are an important component of preparing our 2022 budget.  We have received our Ministries’ 2022 budgets and the Finance Ministry will review their budgets and make a recommendation to the Consistory for next year’s budget.  As anticipated, there are some new initiatives and other needed requests in the Ministries’ budget that will result in an increase over our current budget.  We will do our best to honor as many requests as financially reasonable based upon our income projections. 

 

Thank you for your continued support to St. Mary’s and to our outreach activities.

 

Bob, Finance Ministry Chairman

 

“Christmas Comes to Life”

Saturday, December 18th   5pm – 7 pm

A drive through event showcasing the talents of the church to surround you with the Christmas Spirit.

 

Join the community of St. Mary’s for this special event to celebrate Christmas.  Stay warm in your vehicle and drive through the parking lots of the church to view various living holiday scenes such as “A Winter Carnival”, “Drive-In Movie at Christmas”, “Bells of St. Mary’s”, “Mrs. Claus and Elf”, and “Christmas on the Farm” to name a few.  The final stop will be the live Nativity, put on by the youth of the congregation. 

 

If you would like to join in the fun and create a scene of your own, please contact Sandy Matthias or go to our Facebook event (on the Church Facebook page) to complete a form. Follow the Facebook event page for updates

https://facebook.com/events/s/christmas-comes-to-life-live-n/614284946271750/

 

 

Children's Program

Mark your calendars! The children's annual Christmas program will be held Sunday, December 12th during the 10:30 worship service.  Practices will be held during Sunday school on December 5th and December 12th.  We are looking for actors as well as narrators and would love to have middle school and high school students participate.  If you are interested in participating please reach out to Emily Brown, Stacy Fourhman or the church office.

 

  Children's Sunday School

 

The Children's Sunday School schedule has been revised. We will be meeting in person December 5th, 12th, and 19th. There will be no class on December 26th or January 2nd. Our first Sunday School class in 2022 will be virtual on January 9th.

 

The Children's Sunday School will be sponsoring a "Mitten Tree" in the Vestry this December as in past years. Please bring in donations of mittens, gloves, hats, scarves, and socks to be donated to local non-profits to help those who need warm clothes this winter.

 

Outreach Ministry

Tis the Season of Giving

During this season of Advent, we will be concentrating on the act of giving. Please join us in bringing in items to donate, either bring them to Sunday service or drop off at the church. If you prefer monetary gifts are always accepted, designate your envelope/check with the organization you wish your donation to go to.

 

28 Nov – Boxes of tissues, the cube size is best, for residents of Homewood at Plum Creek.

5 Dec – Christmas decorations for Together We Own It to will be distributed to families in need.

12 Dec – Towels and Washcloths for Human Services of Carroll County for the Second Chances Free Store.

19 Dec – Mittens/Gloves/Hat/Scarves/Socks to add to the Children's Christmas Tree for The Shepherd's Staff.

 

Christmas Fund

The Christmas Fund for the Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund

“Good news. . . Great joy. . . All the people!” Luke 2:10

Special offering date December 19, 2021

The Christmas Fund has been caring for active and retired clergy and lay employees of the United Church of Christ for over 100 years, providing emergency grants, supplementation of small annuities and health premiums, and Christmas “Thank You” gift checks each December to our lower-income retirees.

United Church of Christ congregations and members have blessed the Christmas Fund with their generosity for many years. This year, your care and compassion will be especially appreciated by those servants of the church who are facing a time of need. Thank you!

 

Scrip Fundraising

   

  • Most of you know that we have a “Scrip” program, but what is it?

Scrip is just another name for GIFT CARDS!

  • So how is this a fundraiser?

You purchase the gift cards at face value and St. Mary’s earns 1-20% from these purchases – the amount depends on the retailer. When you shop at stores & restaurants, you simply pay with those gift cards. This is a win-win fundraiser; you shop at your stores and St. Mary’s receives a portion of your spending to support local missions. There are of retailers that participate.

 

  • How do I participate?

Orders can be placed at www.shopwithscrip.com. (Contact Emily Brown for the enrollment code if you don’t have an account yet.) If you don’t want to order online, you can contact Emily with your order. We usually place orders once a month and you can pay with a check or with PrestoPay (on Scrip website).

 

  • When are the next orders?

Christmas is a perfect time to start participating in Scrip – you can give gift cards as Christmas gifts to family, friends, teachers, coworkers, etc. Orders are due:

Sun Dec 5

Thu Dec 16 (should arrive before Christmas Eve)

  • What does St. Mary’s do with the earnings?

The Scrip fundraiser supports local missions of the church, especially Shepherd Staff’s Back-to-School program, as well as the Silver Run Food Pantry, Human Services Program, Together We Own It, and other projects that benefit our local community and our church community. Typically, we earn $1,500-$2,000 each year! Sometimes our church members purchase gift cards and then donate the cards to these organizations – a double win!

 

  • What if I have questions?

Please contact Emily Brown, or the church office, if you have questions or need assistance.

 

Thank you to all of our dedicated Scrip supporters!!!

On-Line Giving

 

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.