May 22, 2020
Last week there was a post on the AACRC blog pointing us to a number of prayer resources that you might find helpful as we live amidst these unusual circumstances. One of the prayers, an evening prayer from the Northumbria Community, echoes familiar sentiments:
strength for the coming day;
and though I am weak,
today I believe.
peace for the coming day;
and though of anxious heart,
today I believe.
While we may not know what the coming days will bring, we continue to trust that our Lord will give us strength and peace for each day.
We are accustomed to gathering in May to hear about what God has been doing among us, to affirm new office bearers, to approve a budget for the next fiscal year, and to thank God for another year of ministry together. This year’s congregational gathering will look different, as so many things do right now. On Sunday, June 7 at 9:30 AM, immediately following the sermon, we will conduct our annual gathering from home via Zoom (more details to follow). We thank you in advance for participating, even in this unorthodox way, because the life and work of the church continues even in these times of pandemic and social distancing.
Of course there is no better example of God’s ongoing work than the Rotating Shelter program. We continue to provide a safe place to stay for 18 men. We are thankful for everyone that has contributed in some way, large or small, to this expression of Christian hospitality. We are also, in coordination with the Shelter Association of Washtenaw County, working on a plan to help our guests transition to living outside of our building in the most loving and supportive way possible. Thursday morning Zoom Bible studies with the pastors have given us the chance to connect with one another and grow in our faith. The church’s YouTube channel has been bursting with activity. Our live Ascension Day service yesterday was viewed by nearly 40 households in real time. Video content such as our weekly sermons, worship liturgy videos, and the new Sabbath Project series has received nearly 5000 views over the last month; that’s over 300 hours of viewing time! We are grateful for the technology that has allowed us to worship and grow together during this time of separation.
Many of you have asked about the status of the proposed partnership with Olive Tree Campus Church. This past winter we were discerning what it might look like to invite a Chinese speaking congregation not only to worship in our building but also to become a part of our community. The voting period was cut short due to the shelter in place mandate and as a result the matter was put on hold. Given the uncertainty we are all facing, both in the short and long term, our Council Leadership Team is proposing that the church revisit this proposal in spring of 2021 when we have some clarity on what it means to be together. Council will consider this proposal and discern together at the June council meeting.
Last, but not least, we want to reiterate our gratitude to each one of you for your continued, faithful giving during these last three months. Council Leadership Team received the April financials which showed amazing financial progress.
April contributions totaled $113,372. We are immensely grateful for God’s provision. Previously, we believed it was prudent to delay payment of third quarter classical and denominational ministry shares. However, robust giving and a more secure cash position led Council Leadership Team to approve the payment of all third quarter ministry shares this past Wednesday. We are grateful that we can fulfill these commitments to our denominational partners at this time. Decisions about fourth quarter obligations will be made in the coming weeks as we continue to monitor giving throughout May and June. We want to thank the Finance Team (Charlie Aagenas, Arnie Geldermans, and Ross Weener) for their work which has helped us to navigate these uncertain financial times. We ask that you continue to remember the Ann Arbor Christian Reformed Church with your tithes and offerings as we come to the end of our current fiscal year.
The peace of Christ be with you,
Jaime Ventura, on behalf of Council Leadership Team