Weekly Highlights:

Wednesday Night Youth Group

Wednesday night youth group is an incredible place to meet friends and learn about faith -- and play a few games too. Dinner starts at 6:30 pm in Sweetland Hall, followed by separate programming for middle school  and senior high from 7 till 8:30.

This week in Middle School

Since September, we have been taking a closer look at the book of James. Recent scholarship has made the compelling argument that this particular book of the Bible is one of the earlier texts of the New Testament, in large part due to its focus on our responsibility to provide for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. The primary message of this book is so similar to the message of the gospels that it often feels as if the words of James could be the words of Jesus.

I mention this because the book of James has had many surprising connections to many of the real world problems we are facing today. James spends a significant amount of time addressing wealth inequality, and does not spare the reader from the stinging critique of how we are not doing a good job of providing for one another, particularly those in need.

As we wrap up our study of the book of James in the next couple of weeks, we'll continue to connect the very real concerns of this book to the realities of the world around us today.

This week in Senior High

May has arranged for the senior high youth to engage in phone banking around DACA -- the phone banking is scheduled for Wednesday, February 28th, which means we will spend tomorrow night (the 21st) working on the details for the 28th. The next two weeks are going to provide our senior high youth with some incredible opportunities to really put their faith into action -- you won't want to miss it!

2018 Budget

As some of you may know, our church wide general budget for 2018 is facing some significant challenges. Our current projected budget shortfall is $550,000, which, according to Chris Caldwell, the chair of the finance committee, is one of the largest budget gaps he has seen in his time at All Saints. 

Although we technically ended 2017 in the black (with a balance of roughly $300,000), this is not a true budget surplus. This "surplus" is largely due to savings in unfilled staff positions. Even if this carryover (or part of it) was applied to the 2018 budget, we would still face a nearly $250,000 budget shortfall.

The largest line item in our budget is personnel, and truthfully, if cuts were to be made, this is where it would most likely occur. 

If you haven't pledged for the 2018 budget, I would like to strongly encourage you to consider doing it. Your pledge dollars support so many vital programs in the youth department, including:

  • Wednesday Night Youth Group
  • Acolytes
  • Seekers
  • Not So Bored Game Night
  • Trouveres
  • Summer programming 
  • Retreats and transformational journeys
  • Parent Culture
  • Youth staff
  • ...and so much more

The youth staff provide programming for over 250 youth in 6th - 12th grade, and work with over 400 parents. It is no small undertaking to keep the amazing work of this place moving forward.

When I started here 8 years ago, there were 8 CYF staff members, three in the youth department. There are now 5 of us on CYF, and yet our workload has not decreased. In the past two years, many of you know that several staff, including myself, have taken on additional roles as other colleagues have left and not been replaced. 

All Saints is facing a unique challenge, and, I believe that we have the ability to lives of abundance, not scarcity. It is my fervent prayer and hope that you will consider pledging for the 2018 fiscal year, or increasing your pledge if you are able. I'm happy to answer any questions or speak with you about any concerns that you may have. Peace.

Gun Violence and our Youth

We have been so inspired to see how youth around the country are leading the way to fight the corrupting and destructive influence of America's addiction to guns. To that end, we will be spending some time on Wednesday evenings discussing how to support the efforts of our local youth as they advocate and agitate for change. I expect more details about this to emerge in the next week or so.

Calendar

Please click on the calendar below to check out additional activities, including who's up to acolyte this upcoming Sunday.

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