For as long as I live, I don’t think I’ll ever get “used” to a cold new year! How tens of thousands of people can stand in New York’s Times Square with jittering teeth waiting for a ball to drop is beyond me.
Be that as it may, the more cold days we experience, the closer to spring we get!
2017 has been a remarkable year in many ways for our church community. Not only have we met our general budget requirements, but we have also raised $80,000 (some of it from memorial funds) on top of our budgetary needs to replace our church sound system and fix our downstairs bathrooms.
An unsuspected snag on the bathroom project cost us a further $15,000* which was taken from BBQ funds. This all but wiped out the fund, but thanks to 3 successful BBQ’s, we have built this fund right back up again.
Aside from our usual missions giving, we have supported Metodista Villas des Loiza Iglesia in Puerto Rico with the purchase of a new generator and a substantial monetary gift as well.
We purchased pews for Bethany UMC in Liberia, Africa; blessed GBGM missionaries Delbert and Sandy Groves with a generous offering; marched to the manger with gifts for mission and ministry; continued to support local outreach services like Good Samaritan House and the Breakfast Ministry; and gave 3 monetary scholarships to University Students.
Over the Christmas season, we blessed 55 children with Christmas gifts, and 23 families received a Christmas food basket. Record numbers of people helped at Christmas by our church.
We’ve had to say goodbye to some cherished and lifelong Methodists this year - Stan Brown, Loretta Hahn, Dan Bernaix, Gary Harris, Karen Greeling and Jerry Whitmer, just to name a few. But we’ve welcomed several new faces as well, like the Presley’s and the Hannel’s.
And our scouting program at Nameoki has exploded this year. Cub Scout Pack 4122 has been re-chartered under Nameoki UMC, and Scout Troop 1064 is going from strength to strength.
The youth group under Myna has doubled and tripled in size... and she now regularly has around 17 youth joining her each Sunday.
We welcomed the Bishop in August, and enjoyed listening and learning from our episcopal leader in Illinois Great Rivers Annual Conference.
Finally, at present, there are several baptisms and confirmations being prepared for in the new year.
This only touches the tip of the iceberg of ministry and mission Nameoki UMC embraces in Jesus’ name in 2017.
I’m looking forward to what 2018 will bring! Already, it seems as if we will add another church service under the banner of Nameoki UMC at Meridian Village in Glen Carbon in the new year.
Wishing you a happy end to 2017, and an exciting start to 2018.
As Fr John Wesley said on his deathbed... “Best of all, God is with us”.
Grace and peace
*all figures quoted are approximate figures