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A Time of Recovery, Challenge and Opportunity

Posted By John Paylor

The whole world was thrown into turmoil in 2018 with the outbreak of the Covid virus. Fear and paralysis gripped entire populations as people cowered before this unknown threat. Governments and institutions imposed lockdowns in efforts to protect their citizens from infection, and life began a slowdown as individuals were unwilling to venture out to shop, work, or attend any public event where contact with others might lead to exposure to the virus.Our church was not immune to these events. Our Sunday worship services were suspended and we ceased to meet in person for events or fellowship. But our congregation exhibited a spirit of resilience. We instituted an on-line worship experience and utilized Zoom capabilities or parking lot gatherings for various meetings, Bible study and other events. But these services generated additional expenses, and our regular contributions declined.Only in recent months have we begun to see a recovery from these times. We are worshipping and meeting together again, although our worship attendance is lower. Our financial giving and other income remain below pre-pandemic levels. We may long to return to the former times, but we know deep inside that this is not possible. We face a world that has changed; a challenge of new and different times. Life, and our church, will not be the same going forward.Honestly recognizing this reality presents new opportunities. As we look and move into a new and different future we can grasp these opportunities to create a better Berwyn United Methodist Church well suited to grapple with, overcome and build on new and different challenges.All this requires that we see and respond to visions of life that can become realities. To do this we must remain committed to support our church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service and our witness. Regular financial gifts are an important part of this commitment. Financial resources undergird and make possible our continued presence, witness and service.

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Stewardship and You

Posted By Steve Cherry

Berwyn UM Church started using its new Audio-Visual System on Sunday, September 25th. While we will grow into using the system more fully, we have already seen improvements in sound quality. The feedback we heard was mostly positive, with some stating they were not so sure they would like it but were pleased with how it turned out. The improvement helps to bring the church into the new age of Christian engagement and experience and opens many new avenues for inclusive and interactive worship. The story of how this project was funded is a testament to God’s blessing. There are about seven sources from which funding made the project possible. Church donors involved stepped up significantly to manage the $36,000 price tag. We join together in thankfulness to everyone who made this possible and hope that you will join us on Sundays to experience, first-hand, the new look and sound of in-person worship at Berwyn Church.When we embark on fundraising for this type of project, we approach one type of giver. You may find yourself in one or more of the three types of givers who support the church's mission.First, there are those who support the church, usually through providing a yearly estimate of giving. Giving in this way helps the church budget, plan for staffing expenses, and plan ongoing ministries. Without people who submit and honor their yearly giving estimates, we are unable to adequately prepare a ministry action plan that is both daring and audacious but also financially sustainable. As we move closer to November, please consider if you will submit a yearly giving estimate or pledge and for what amount.Second, there are those who give to support specific ministries or projects they feel passionate about. These gifts are sometimes called second-mile gifts because they are above and beyond their yearly giving. These estimates help us to launch new ministries initiatives, projects, or capital expenses that arise throughout the year. This type of gift enabled the Audio-Visual upgrades without stressing this year’s budget.Third, there are those who support the church through legacy giving. We are grateful that people remember Berwyn United Methodist Church in their estate planning. This type of gift is either to the general endowment that restricts how much can be used each year or through other designated gifts. The primary purpose of this type of giving is to leave a legacy by supporting the church's work long after the giver has joined the church triumphant.One gift that may stand out in your memory was a gift to pay the mortgage principal from the building project. This gift has kept a significant expense from impacting ministries and the budget that funds them over the last few years. Unfortunately, this legacy gift ran out at the end of August, which transitions those expenses back to the yearly operating budget.The church's work, its yearly planning, and its ongoing future are only made possible because its members and participants support it through their gifts of time, talent, prayer, and treasure. Without any one of these things, we cannot move into the future that God has in store for us. We appreciate those who support the church through those means enabling the mission and ministry of the church to continue.This year, like years past, we operate at a financial deficit, trying to maintain the church's ministries with fewer and fewer resources. Unfortunately, this year’s deficit may reach as high as $70k. The deficit has been covered by reserve and special gifts, but that is not a sustainable way of running and growing a thriving church. We would ask you to think openly about your gifts, talents, and passions and invest yourself as fully as you can in our mission to share the good news of Jesus Christ with our community to make a lasting impact on the world for the glory of God.How would you like to be involved, answering that passion, in giving and/or in serving? What are your ideas!? What new things should we be doing? In all this, your stewardship can take shape. Please look for the announcement of three town hall-style meetings scheduled in the third week of October. This is where you will have a chance to ask questions about the current state of the church and where we will have an opportunity to share the plans for the future. There are two in-person meetings and one online for those who are unable to attend in person. 

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