February 22, 2018
 
Extravagant Generosity!
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way… 2 Cor. 9:11, The Message 
 

Direct Deposit Giving (DDG) By Dean Laitinen

Oh, no…I didn’t put in my offering this week. Wait, yes, I did. In fact, I’ve given for many weeks now, without doing a thing. I have Direct Deposit Giving, and I feel great. I’ve been giving what I feel I can each week. Supporting my church. And I haven’t even noticed.

I have actually had this thought before. It’s a great feeling to know that I designated what I felt I could give, the interval of time I could give it, and let it go from there. If I need to change the amount, I can do that instantly and confidentially.

I found that I didn’t even realize the amount I gave was gone; and I never had to say, “Oops, I forgot to put in my offering this week.”

DDG has been on the rise at Trinity, and that is great for the consistency and stability of our general fund. It’s so gratifying to know that I am consistently helping to support this special place, from which God does so many great things through the many great people who gather here. Please consider joining us in this by talking to Sally and filling out a DDG slip. Thanks, and God bless!

 

                                           …stewardship/generosity…

Financial News:  The Finance Committee has recommended the 2018 budget to the Church Council.  Good work by everyone involved!  If you are interested, you can get a copy of the draft budget in the magazine rack outside the Church office.  The Council and Finance people would appreciate your questions and comments.    

A Generous Gift/ Bruce and Beth Clark          A generous gift was recently received by the church from Barbara Alquist’s estate. The gift was in the amount of $10,000. Because of her great interest and love for Camp Michigamme, and debt reduction, $1,000 will be given to the Iron Mountain Cabin  at Camp Michigamme Scholarship Fund. The remaining $9,000 will be applied to the loan balance. This was approved by the Finance Committee and the Administrative Board. A leaf has already been arranged for the giving tree.

Barb was a very faithful member of our church. She was a member of our church for many years. She was a very active member of the Martha Circle and was always the server of the beverages at the Mini Fair. She is greatly missed by all who knew her. We are blessed to receive such a generous gift.

Giving Goal Campaign Follow-up The Stewardship Committee gives thanks to all of those who have returned their Giving Goal cards. So far we have received 60 cards back. On Sunday, November 27 we had a blessing for the cards already received. We ask that you would please turn yours in before the end of the year. The Finance Committee uses the numbers from these cards to help with making financial plans and goals for the church in 2018. Your Giving Goal is a tangible expression of the love you have for this Church, which serves as your Spiritual home…the place where you can learn about and experience the love of God. God bless you for your gracious generosity to God’s work in the world through this Church!

More Good News!  We received a $326 dividend from the Workers’ Compensation insurance program. Our apportionment money goes in some part for the professional expertise of Conference employees who design and negotiate the Workers’ Compensation plan for all the UM churches in our Conference. We gain the benefit of annual dividends based on the loss experience of the whole group. In other words, if there are fewer Workers Comp. claims for the insurance company to pay, they give us some of our money back! Praise God that together we can do so much more than what we could ever do all by ourselves!

Finance—Frank Trumbell, Chairperson of the Finance Committee, reminds committees and everyone with taxable proceeds that all records will be due by the end of January to the Treasurer, Jack Noyce.

Trinity Stewardship and Generosity Journey:  Teaching, Learning, and Growing in Generosity Together   By the Stewardship and Generosity Team

During the month of November, our Generosity Journey takes us into a time of growing and giving as good stewards of God.    The 2018 pledge drive is upon us. Please pray and reflect on your personal giving goals, and return a Giving Goal card.

Our congregational activity this month will focus on personal growth. “I will be more generous by….” “I will ask God to help me to be more generous by thinking, praying, doing, stepping out of my comfort zone, etc.” Each of us can write a little note to God and place it in a closed display box in the Gathering Room.

At the end of November, the box will be sealed, and we will present it to Pastor during the worship service, giving our notes to God with a prayer.  Thank you for coming together in this Journey to Generosity!

 

Trinity’s Cup Overflows with Blessings! “You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows!” Psalm 23:5. God is generous to us!

Can you list the ways God has been generous to you? In September, there will be a Generosity Corner at the church where we can share our gratitude lists with each other. Come to worship to find out more….

‘Hammer Out the Debt’ Campaign    By Lea Varda, of the Stewardship/Generosity Team

We’re having a Hammer Out the Debt campaign to help raise money for our church’s general fund. Every time you give extra money to the general fund, you are helping us move toward paying off our loan.

This fundraiser is a little different than the Paper Poinsettias and Paper Easter Flowers. Each hammer purchased will be displayed with only the amount of money given to hammer out the debt.

In order to play along, please turn in your enclosed ‘hammer’ form by September 24.

Budget Task Force Update: The Church Council, in recognition of the financial challenges at Trinity, formed a Budget Task Force this past summer. The Task Force put together a list of options…not mandates, just options…for Council to consider in terms of balancing the budget, reducing the debt, encouraging more generous giving. The list, when presented to Council, was six pages long! Yes, there are that many ideas floating around…. So the next step is to have the chairpeople of the various committees review all of the ideas and suggest which of them would be most practical and effective.

The chairpeoples’ meeting is scheduled for Sunday, October 29 after church to do their work of sifting and refining. Their shortened list will be presented to the Council, who will make decisions about seeking congregational input and moving forward. This is a very valuable process for the Finance Committee, which is charged with developing a budget for 2018.

Please hold the chairpeople and the Council in your prayers as they grapple with this difficult and important issue in the life of our congregation.

 

Finance Committee Report Given at the June 11 Worship Service            By Frank Trumbell, Chair

First, the Finance Committee appreciates the financial support the membership of Trinity United Methodist Church has provided. Without that support, the programs and missions provided by Trinity would not be possible.

At the May meeting of the Finance Committee, the representative from the Staff Parish Committee brought a request and a concern voiced to members of their committee:

The request was that offering totals from the previous Sunday’s giving be in the bulletin, along with the amount needed to meet expenses:

There is a fine line between informing the congregation of the financial condition of the church and seeming to be badgering the congregation to give more. Our Treasurer is providing bi-weekly information in the bulletin on giving and what is required to meet our budgeted expenses, and the Finance Committee feels that that information sufficiently explains how the giving is/isn’t keeping pace with expenses. The Treasurer also lets the congregation know when it is required to borrow more from the operating expense loan to cover expenses.

A concern was expressed that, with the new software being used to keep track of membership and giving, who has access to the financial records of the giving units of the church?

The church secretary, who handles membership, and the financial secretary have different passwords that allow them access to only that part of the software that allows them to do their job, and they do not share their password with anyone else.

The Finance Committee is extremely concerned about another aspect of the church’s finances, and we are fairly confident that other members of the church are also.

In order to meet the expenses of running the church (salaries, utilities, etc.), since the giving to the General Fund (i.e. operating expenses) has fallen way short of actual expenses to date, the church has had to borrow to pay bills. The operating expenses loan at First National Bank has grown to $20,650. This is the second year that Trinity has used an operating expense loan to cover expenses.

Prior to last year, money was borrowed from the Designated Fund to cover expenses. This is a practice that is not in line with The Book of Discipline, which addresses this in at least two places:

1. “Contributions to benevolence shall not be used for any cause other than that to which they have been given.”

2. “Contributions designated for specific causes and objects shall be promptly forwarded according to the intent of the donor and shall not be used for any other pupose.”

Towards the end of 2015, the Finance Committee recommended to the Church Council that, starting on January 1, 2016, the Designated Funds be separated from the General (or operating expense) Fund, and that an operating expenses line-of-credit be established with our bank. The recommendation was adopted by the Church Council.

It was hoped that the need to access the operating expense loan would be infrequent. It has not worked out that way.

The Stewardship Committee will be considering a 12-month stewardship program in an attempt to increase giving to the General Fund.

The church’s budget is pretty bare-bones—it is a two-page document. A task force is being formed whose four-person membership will be a representative from the following committees: Finance, Staff Parish, Worship, and Trustees. The task force will go through the budget to see if and where expenses can be cut and savings can be had.

If anyone would like a copy of the budget, they are available in the church office. It will give you an idea of what the task force will be working with as a starting point.

Thank you for this opportunity to share some of the requests and concerns the Finance Committee is dealing with, and please, if you have any questions, contact any member of the Finance Committee. If we can’t answer your question immediately, you can have confidence that we will find an answer and get back to you as soon as possible.

Opportunities to Serve:

2017 Pledge Drive   By Lea Varda, Stewardship/Generosity Team            We give thanks for the 66 people who submitted pledge cards this year. This is so helpful to the financial planning and the daily operations of the church. The budget is still under review, but as it stands right now, the money pledged for 2017 will account for more than 63% of what we anticipate spending. Our faith is in the generosity and caring that so many of you act on in your decisions about sharing your gifts with this Trinity UMC. We measure our success not just in terms of dollars and sense, but also in the amount of time, the number of prayers, the boatload of caring actions, and the movement of people into our building—where they encounter the love of God through the people of Trinity. God bless us all!

 

 Who We Are and What We Do:  The Finance Committee

According to the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church, the job of the Finance Committee is to “identify, perfect, and manage the finance system for the congregation.” The finance system is “the processes of raising, managing, and dispersing the finances so that the mission and vision of the congregation can be achieved.”

The Finance Committee, through the Stewardship Committee, is responsible for the annual pledge drive. Oversight of the collection and counting of offerings is also the responsibility of the Finance Committee. The committee must establish an annual budget and monitor that budget throughout the year. Beyond the budget, disbursements from the Endowment Fund and other designated gifts received throughout the year are recommended to the Church Council for approval. The Finance Committee must provide the church with an annual report at the end of the year.

The membership of the Finance Committee is established by the Book of Discipline: chairperson of the Finance Committee, lay member to annual conference, chairperson of the Church Council, chairperson or representative of Staff/Parish Committee, representative of Trustees, chairperson of Stewardship Committee, lay leader, Financial Secretary, Treasurer, other at-large members as determined by the charge conference.

 Who Are We and What Do We Do?—The Stewardship/Generosity Team      Serving on the team are Nathan Ruble, 221-0021; Chris Bruns, 779-0809; Lea Varda, 774-9569; Bruce Clark, 715/696-3773; Scott Ritsema, 282-4549; and Ruth Carlson, 774-2061.    Feel free to chat with one of us or sit in on a team meeting. Everyone is welcome!

As Stewardship/Generosity Team leaders, our purpose is nurturing generous living in everyone connected to our faith community—nurturing generosity in our own lives and in our life together as a congregation, personally modeling and intentionally growing generous faith as joyful, self-giving stewards.

Our function is not just about the annual giving program and the church’s need for funds, but rather for the opportunity to help people in the congregation develop into faithful stewards in their use of time, abilities, relationships, personal involvement, and advocacy for others—in other words, in their prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness. It is a joy to “uplift one another” in our Spiritual home!

 

Financial News from our Treasurer, Jack Noyce:

The year 2016 is relegated to our memory and the record books, but there’s always time to say “thank you!” The generosity and faithful offerings from our membership allowed for us to meet many of our 2016 financial obligations.

When all the year-end financial activity was recorded, we ended with a balance of $11,500 in our operating loan and paid all but $2,343 of our Apportionments. All of our other expenses were paid in full.

The obligation to repay the loan will continue into 2017. We will have a new annual Apportionment balance to pay in the new year. The new year offers the opportunity to repay the operating loan as well as meeting the ongoing expenses of all of our many ministries.

 

Stewardship-Generosity Team Makes  Changes to the Monthly Joy-Full Offering    The Stewardship-Generosity Team has announced that the third-Sunday-of the-month Joy-Full Noise Offering will go to the Mission of the Month. In the past, the Joy-Full Noise Offering went to the General Fund.

The congregation will hear monthly “Generosity Talks” from the team. The 2017 pledge drive is in its early stages, and the team is praying for an outstanding pledge campaign this year.   A dessert social (dessert potluck) is planned for Sunday, February 12 at 5:00 p.m. A light meal will be provided before dessert. Watch your Sunday bulletin for more details!

 


 ...mature as disciples...

  Do you have hopes and dreams for your church?  Do you feel the tug of God calling you to do something…but you’re not sure just what?   Trinity UMC has decided to participate in an eight-month program called ‘Vital Church Initiative.’  This is sponsored by The Michigan Conference of the UMC and partially funded by the Marquette District of the UMC. 

 We are looking for a group of seven or more faithful people who will be willing to participate in eight learning sessions and a ninth ‘next steps’ meeting. Four of the sessions will be away from the church, with other churches who are engaging in the same process. Four of them will be at the church through video-learning.

If you have questions or would like to know more, please contact Pastor Geri, Jack Noyce, or Emily Ritsema. We are hoping for people from a variety of backgrounds and generations to participate in this learning opportunity that is designed to yield concrete action plans for moving forward with God’s good work through this Trinity UMC.

  

 

Report from Annual Conference   By Bruce and Beth Clark

Annual Conference was held June 8-13, 2016 at Michigan State University’s campus. Both the Detroit and West Michigan conferences met together for the first time as we move to becoming one conference. The final vote will be in June 2018, with it becoming official January 1, 2019. See page ­­­­10 for more details.

It was a wonderful experience. The Detroit Conference met for one-and-a-half days, and then met with the West Michigan Conference for several days. We celebrated the retirement of our Bishop. The worship services were outstanding and very inspiring. What a treat it was to see and hear our own Pastor Geri playing her violin with the band on the stage at the Breslin Center!

We met in small groups to discuss issues including:
1. Repealing the Michigan Emergency Manager law
2. The Flint Water Crisis
3. Restorative Justice
4. Gun control
5. Reducing mass incarceration
6. Speaking out against anti-Muslim discrimination

We also had a chance to share meals with Pastor Meredith Rupe and Pastor Debbie Thomas. We spent one afternoon learning about supporting indigenous people around the world. A presentation was done on the Native Americans, and we participated in an act of reconciliation.

For more information on what happened, you can go to www.MichiganUMC.org, or we will try to answer your questions.

Thanks for your support of our attendance.


Stewardship Moment Five of us attended a webcast about Stewardship, Saturday, March 5, 2016 here at Trinity and actually learned something! We have been trying to give the congregation a weekly update in the bulletin about our financial state, hoping not to have the 13-month campaign at the end of the year. Everybody likes to hear good news, but when we fall behind, not so much. We were told it isn’t a good idea to do that, because nobody wants to support a sinking ship.

Well, I just want to let you all know that in spite of what may appear in the bulletin or Tower, this church is not a sinking ship, but a vibrant, living, giving church. We have reached outside of this building and have a Wednesday night meal program to feed the hungry in our community. We have set an example, and two or more churches now also have meal programs on other nights.

We have two services on Sunday morning and one Prayer Service on Wednesday right after the meal. We have the Feeding America truck come twice a year. We feed the hungry! We have the North Dakota mission trip every year and a Prayer Shawl ministry here. We take care of the needy and sick!

We have a Men of Prayer group and women’s circles, if you have the desire to join. We have

Walk the Walk exercise weekday mornings, and Bridge Club and AA also meet here, so our church is always full of people. We have, with other United Methodist churches, sponsored the Car Care Clinic. We have a crafters group that meets here. We have Sunday school from nursery age to adults when you want to learn more about God. During the 10:30 service, we have a nursery and a children’s activity time, so parents can enjoy the service. We have a choir that welcomes everyone, and we even have the children play the bells once in a while.

There is a lot to do here at Trinity and plenty of opportunity for you if your heart feels drawn toward any of these things. Feel free to ask your neighbors or friends to join us every Sunday. We are the friendliest church around and welcome everyone with open hearts and arms. We even have coffee and cookies between services and after.

No, not a sinking ship, but one that takes its passengers on a beautiful path to God! –-The Finance Committee

Endowment News: In the life of God’s people, there is always something to celebrate if you look hard enough! Endowment Fund year-end reports show that our Community of Faith was blessed in 2015 with receiving more than $50,000 in dividends, interest, and distributions from our Endowment Funds. (This amount changes each year, depending on the market results.) That money was used for a variety of special projects and missions of our church. For example (numbers are rounded off):
$4,000 went to our Community Meal Program
$12,756 went to the Trustees for maintenance and repairs of the building and parsonage
$12,248 went to help pay off the mortgage
$1,000 went to the local Car Care Clinic
$1,910 went for Camp Michigamme scholarships
$2,003 went for Bibles and congregational reading materials

We are so fortunate to have these Endowment gifts from people who share the love of God with us through their extravagant generosity. Let’s keep in mind that they gave to Trinity as they saw it at the time, trusting that current and future congregational giving to the ongoing operating expenses would make it possible for their gifts to live on and do God’s work for a long time to come. Praise be to God who moves us all to be cheerful givers!

 
 



Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) option is available. It’s a quick and fun way to get your offering to the church through the banking system. You fill out a form with your bank’s routing number and your account number (or attach a canceled check) and bring it into the office. We’ll make the rest of the arrangements for you through the Church’s bank…First National. Easy. Fun. And your offerings will be a blessing to us all!
 

 
Trinity United Methodist
808 Carpenter Ave
Iron Mountain, MI 49801
(906) 774-2545
Email: imtrinityumc@gmail.com
 
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