Usually at this time of the year, Grace presents a stewardship plan to cultivate pledges for our annual budget. This annual campaign is important, and necessary, as our church plans and organizes our life together, but my pastoral hunch is that most of us have had our fill of campaign slogans this year. Since it’s 2020 and everything has been different this year, our pledge campaign is different too.
In the midst of all the challenges this year has thrown our way, I can’t help but be encouraged and amazed by the generosity and support of our congregation. As this year began, Grace was entering the final stages of a capital campaign to make our facility more welcoming and accessible. This campaign represented a step forward in faith and an investment in our future. Little did we know the considerable leap that we would have to take together, let alone what looking forward to a future of hope would mean for each of us. Throughout this year, we have planted seeds of grace and peace trusting that in God’s time they will bloom.
More than bloom, we’ve seen grace and peace thrive among us:
- Over 23,000 views of our online worship service
- Over $10,000 in direct aid shared with our community for rent, utilities, groceries, and more
- Over 800 meals provided to the Central Iowa Shelter during the pandemic
- 300 meals made available for our community in partnership with Lucky Horse
- Grace Preschool safely reopening without any positive cases of covid
- Reopening our free medical clinic, free mental health clinic, and legal clinic with Justice for Our Neighbors
- Sunday school classes, small groups, youth group, confirmation and more continually finding new ways to meet and connect with one another
These are just a few of the ways that we continue to see God’s grace and peace make a difference in our community thanks to your support. At our Administrative Council and Finance meetings, it is repeatedly said that at Grace our members, “rise to the occasion” and that is exactly what you have done. Our staff and leadership have sought to rise to the occasion as well, adjusting our plans and programming throughout the year, taking the necessary steps to ensure that our members are cared for, all bills are paid, our staff is retained, and all our facility needs have been met. Most importantly, however, the mission and ministry of our church has been creatively expressed and extended in new ways. As we say at Grace, ‘Without condition, without exception, God loves all’ and this year we haven’t simply said this, we’ve lived it for ourselves, for one another, and for our community.
In the membership vows of the United Methodist Church, we covenant and promise to support one another with our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. We have had to find new ways to live into this promise and covenant with one another as we continue to be the church for one another. Even when it hasn’t been easy, the ways that we have lived out this promise has made all the difference in the world this year. I constantly hear about the ways your prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness bring to others grace and peace and I couldn’t be more proud of the church that we are.
As we prepare for a new year, I am asking you to prayerfully consider how you will continue to support one another and our church with your prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness in 2021. Along with this letter, you will find an estimate of giving card for 2021. You can complete this card and return it to the church or fill out a digital card below. This year we are all keenly away of how our plans can change in an instant. Your estimate of giving card to Grace can be adjusted at anytime in the future as needed, just contact the church office to let us know.
In addition to financially supporting our general budget, if you are able to, please consider pledging to support the final expenses of our capital campaign. Earlier this year, Grace worked with the Iowa United Methodist Wesley Foundation to take out a construction loan that would cover the final costs of our capital campaign as pledges continued to come in and as we await for state historical funds. If everyone that pledged to our initial capital campaign gave an additional pledge of support we would more than meet our financial obligations.
As much as 2020 disrupted our life together, even 2020 couldn’t stop us from living into our covenant with one another to share our prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness, with God, our church, and our community. At Grace, we don’t simply believe in grace and peace, we participate in and share God’s grace and peace. Thanks to you, our church is
adapting, growing, and continually sharing this grace and peace. I can’t thank you enough for your support, but as a token of my appreciation, everyone that makes a pledge to Grace for 2021 will receive a mug.
Thank you for your continued support and all the ways that you share your prayers, presence, gifts, service and witness with God and one another.
grace + peace
Rev. Nate Nims