We are excited to share some good news about how God is working through our membership to impact the life of our church and, most importantly, to impact those in need outside the walls of our church who are struggling in ways we don’t always see.
As you know, 2020 was a very challenging year. The pandemic affected everyone across the world. Practically every aspect of our lives changed. Our church life changed at First Pres too. We transitioned to online worship, virtual children’s and student ministry programs, classes and gatherings under a tent in the parking lot, cancelled missions trips, the PADS homeless ministry moved off-campus. Do we even want to say ZOOM meetings?
Given the many pivots and accommodations we made last year, Session also wondered how the events of 2020 would affect us financially. Session prayed for God to guide us and we placed a lot of faith in Him and our members to carry us through this unusual season.
At the end of 2020, Session learned that your generosity and continued commitment of time, talent and treasure, we not only weathered this storm financially, but we find ourselves in a unique place of financial abundance. God is good. Our members are good. Because of your financial support throughout 2020 and careful management of church operating expenses, our cash position at the end of 2020 was the strongest it’s been in years.
Given our current financial position at year end, Session voted in February to allocate $150k of the excess cash to three areas: $50k to missions for immediate distribution, $50k to the properties ministry reserve, and $50k to debt reduction. The last two distributions will be made in the coming months based on our 2021 financial health.
The Missions Council regularly checks in with our Missions Partners, and we will assess this month how the $50K will be distributed to have the greatest impact to help and serve others. We know that 2020 was hard on our partners, and many are operating in a deficit – even with many government grants and loans being available to them. We also witnessed the communities they serve having higher demands on their services. We will be sure that your extra funding approved by Session will be allocated to partners who have been hit hardest over the past year with continued ongoing financial challenges foreseen at the start of 2021.
We will continue to provide you updates on our partners and where we allocate the money. As you may know several missions partners experiencing current hardships are the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry, Outreach Community Ministry, DuPage PADS, Central Dupage Counseling Center, Emmaus Adult Day Care, and the YMEN ministry in North Lawndale.
One example where your support of time, talent and treasure has had a direct and immediate impact is the partnership between two mission partners: the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry and Exodus World Service. Our congregation’s Food Pantry liaison Michelle Mote and our Children’s Ministry Director David Profitt shared a witness a few weeks ago during service about this unique partnership between the Glen Ellyn Food Pantry and Exodus World Service, a Christian ministry program dedicated to engaging churches to welcome and befriend refugees into local communities to ensure these families would receive much needed food in 2020. This partnership continues to meet a growing need this year and with additional funding they will continue to serve the refugee community with much needed food resources.
In addition to this financial gift God has given through our members, we would also like to acknowledge the many First Pres members who have safely volunteered their time over the past year at PADS, and to safely distribute food for Exodus, and to serve other missions partners. There are many opportunities – though limited right now – to serve. The missions council is committed to envisioning other opportunities for you to share your time and talent safely throughout the coming year. For more information about the full roster of First Pres Missions partners we support locally and across the world, visit our website Missions page.
We thank you. Our missions partners thank you. And God thanks you for your faith and commitment to serving those in need within our church family and those beyond our four walls.
Peace be with you,
Keith Mote and Erik Peterson, Missions Elders