Dear La Verne UMC Family,
I am so grateful for the many ways in which we are already taking on new opportunities, focusing on the mission of the United Methodist Church. “The mission of the Church is to make disciples for the transformation of the world. Local churches provide the most significant arena through which disciple making occurs.” (Par 120, UM Book of Discipline 2012, p91)
We acknowledge the means of discipleship in our membership vows to uphold the church with our prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness. To that end, we have a variety of opportunities to gather as we share in this endeavor, and I wanted to make sure that if you are not already involved, that you know of these groups so you can join.
For those who have a desire for prayer we have a regular gathering on Tuesdays at 10AM here at the church. While the location may vary (Chapel, Meditation Garden, Pastor’s Office, Marshall Hall or other) Don and Carolyn Fankhauser have been faithful leaders of this group. We pray for those we list in our bulletin and others who have come to our attention. If you would like to join them, come on down. If this time does not work for you, but would like to attend a prayer group, please inform the pastor, so that we can best coordinate among those with interest.
Our presence is immensely important, and I am so excited to learn of the increased presence of those gathered at La Verne UMC during the last year. Many of you may have noticed, but not kept count, that our average attendance has more than doubled from this time last year. I am also grateful for those who are on committees and have given of their time to be present for those meetings that our time together can be meaningful and we can accomplish the goals we have before us.
Our gifts help us do the ministry we do here at La Verne. Our tithes and offerings provide the financial backing to gather on Sunday mornings with a place to worship, hold to our property which gives the Boy Scouts meeting space, and other groups like Windsong to practice. We support the mission and ministry of the United Methodist Church in our ongoing commitment to paying apportionments. We allow our church to have staff support of a minister, secretary, musicians and choir director, and custodian. All of this costs money, and through your gifts, tithes and offerings we are able to keep up our commitment to ministry. This ongoing cost is about $155,000 per year. We are able to run the preschool as an extension of our ministry at La Verne UMC, and thanks to several faithful servants in years past we have been able to make this a self-sufficient ministry over and above our regular church commitments.
Through the service of many volunteers we are able to do even more than our finances might allow outright. We have persons who give of their time and skill to provide maintenance, Christian education, cleaning, committee expertise, accounting, groundskeeping and congregational support by visiting, calling, feeding and encouraging one another in ministry here at La Verne UMC. Service is defined by the things we do to support the church and its members here and we have been especially giving of our service to create this ministry.
Ministry, too, extends beyond the walls of the church, motivated by our common experience in Jesus Christ. This extension of the church to persons who are not currently connected to a church, to Jesus Christ, or a community of believers is called witness. We are to be witnesses to all the world of the power of Jesus Christ and the blessing we have received in his death and resurrection. I am only beginning to scratch the surface of our witness by noting the work we do with Senior Care, Sowing Seeds for Life, the San Dimas Food Bank, Inland Valley Hope Partners, prayers offered for persons we meet on the street or know through Facebook, stories of God’s saving work in our lives with friends and strangers, and the ways in which we interact with the City and other secular agencies and people.
We want to provide opportunity for all to join with us in our affirmation of discipleship as members of La Verne United Methodist Church. We will be welcoming new members November 17, 2013. If you would like to become a member please contact the pastor, or our Lay Leader Leo Ortega, to inform them of your desire. Also, if you are not already a member of this congregation, please be aware that pastor David will be contacting persons to see of their desire to join at this time.