ANNUAL CHARGE CONFERENCE: OCTOBER 23, 2018
REPORT OF THE PASTOR: “THE STATE OF THE CHURCH”
“…Grace, mercy and peace from God our Creator and the Lord Jesus Christ.
For by grace [we] have been saved through faith; and that not of [ourselves],
it is the gift of God. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace
given us, each is to exercise them accordingly…”
(II Timothy 1:2, Ephesians 2:8, Romans 12:6)
These now familiar words from Holy Scripture have begun my Charge Conference Pastor’s Report for the third successive year. To revert back to my native Brooklyn-ese, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” In just a few short months as of March 1st, I will have completed four years as your Pastor. Sylvia and I truly believe that we were sent by God to this wonderful Church fellowship, knowing that “we have been saved through faith, and that not of ourselves—it is the gift of God.” I truly believe that we have been God’s gift to each other, and I know that our congregation feels the same.
In my annual pre-Charge Conference “Consultation” with District Superintendent Jamieson, I was again asked how long I wished to be Pastor here. Understand that I have given her the same answer for the past three years: “…two or three more years.” I think God has been extremely good to all of us—to all of you as well as to Sylvia and me—as we seek to do great ministry together! Being totally realistic though, in two years I will be 73 years old—or 74 in three years. I think that would be an appropriate time to retire (for the second and last time) then. What that says, is that we have much wonderful work yet to do!
We have come so very far in these past four years. Using the past in terms of the lessons it has taught us, and not dwelling on them, we have moved forward into the future with great promise, hope and dedication. Some of our accomplishments this past year are…
- Completion of our Pictorial Directory, thanks to the hard work of Neil Craps and his Committee. We hope to finally take delivery of them before Christmas. This will afford us a great benefit in keeping in contact with one another, and be an assimilating tool for our new members.
- We are now well into Forward Focus, with special thanks to our Committee and our entire congregation. It is my personal hope that this will finally put to rest, any fear of returning to the often dismal days of the past, and any apprehension about what the Holy Spirit can truly do, if we remain faithful, hopeful, excited and motivated.
- Pastoral Care, supported by our In-Touch Ministries group, continues to be a personal high priority for this Pastor. All hospital patients are immediately visited, prayed-for and supported during their difficult times. For those who are unable to attend Worship, personal visits are made to all those who are ill or shut-in, and our Worship services can now be viewed on our website and YouTube. Sylvia Backman continues to keep our Prayer Chain list up to date.
- Expansion of our Church Council to approximately thirty (30) persons, now affords representation on this decision-making body of our local Church, both voice and vote from each and every aspect of administration and ministry here.
- Our Age-Level Ministries area, thanks to Discipleship Ministries chairperson Sandra Padgett, continues to flourish. Our “Wonderful Wednesdays” continue to be of inspiration and ministry to scores of participants of every age. Sunday Church School, now overseen by co-superintendents Tina Allemond and Betsy Goodman continues to grow. There is now in session at times, six adult study classes, affording participants the opportunity to study and grow on almost any day of the week.
We would not be complete and fair if we did not mention those areas that need attention or improvement…
- As a retired elder of the United Methodist Church, my pension and health benefits have been fully paid by the New York Conference, where I served prior to my “retirement” in 2012. As a result, Boiling Springs United Methodist Church has not had to pay those monthly amounts during the years I have been Pastor here. Within the next two or three years, we must increase our total yearly giving, in order that Boiling Springs can have a full-time elder as my successor. This will require an additional $30,000 in premium payments to the S. C. Conference. It will be one of our top agenda action items during this upcoming year.
- We have yet to fully utilize the data we have accumulated through our annual Fall Festival, in terms of reaching out to those families who attend our Church for events and programs but do not attend Sunday Worship, nor who contribute on a regular basis. Assimilating some of these families will help address the thoughts mentioned in the previous “bullet.”
Speaking on behalf of Sylvia and myself, it continues to be our honor to serve among you. The celebration of our 50th Wedding Anniversary you gave us was nothing short of wonderful! I thank you, and am so grateful, for welcoming this now ex-Yankee within your midst, along with the love, trust and dedication to ministry you have shown! This is, indeed, a most special place!
To quote my favorite hymn, which I quote often, “To God be the glory—Great things He has done!” We know that greatness in anything does not come without hard work, dedication and sacrifice. May we continue “…striving for the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus our Lord” together! There is no time to waste. Always remember that the rewards are truly “out of this world!” May Almighty God continue to bless our journey together.
In faith, hope, love, joy and peace,