Stewardship

Good morning. I’m Astrid Brigham. I was asked to talk this morning about Stewardship.

A lot of activities that I take part in here at New York Avenue are able to happen because of funding help from the church.

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Penny, Astrid, and Jacob at Massanetta

As you might know, in July I went to Massanetta, a church summer camp in southern Virginia, with Penny, Jacob, Helen, and Sarah. I had an awesome time. The food was delicious, and I probably had more sugar there than I ever have in my life. I made friends in the mini groups, and everyone there was amazing. We all stayed up until almost 11 o’clock each night, and on the first evening, we made 10,250 bags of rice, soy, dried vegetables, and a vitamin packet to send to people in need.

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Astrid packing meals with Rise Against Hunger

One thing that I look forward to every year is the Youth Day of Service to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Kids of all ages from churches across Washington, DC gather right here to make lunch, organize the clothing closets, and make care packages for the homeless.26231655_10155713093123941_3163252311497586240_n

Just about a month before that, one of my favorite parts of the holiday season takes place. The Christmas Pageant takes place every December, and I love rehearsing the songs and the pageant itself. I have taken part in the pageant for years, starting when I was a sheep.

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2018 Christmas Pageant

I also enjoy taking part in Youth Sunday. I enjoy spending time with my friends to help create an entire church service that everyone enjoys.

All of these activities are at least partially funded by the church.

In order to keep activities like these going for the youth of the church, please consider filling out a Stewardship Pledge. When you fill out a stewardship pledge, New York Avenue has a better idea of how much money there will be and what activities we can plan for the coming year.

Thank you!

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Stewardship

IMG_2505As we focus for the past and coming weeks on stewardship, I wanted to share with you how I came to recognize financially giving to the church as an important part in my contribution to the church mission.If any of you study personality types, you may sympathize with the fact that I grew up as a free-spirit non-planner in a family of A-type schedule oriented family members. I frustrated my parents to no end by being non-committal to family gatherings, springing last minute plans and liking to keep my options open. I must admit, even today the most alluring option on a Facebook event invitation is the famous “maybe” RSVP.

But I will say as I’ve gotten older and become a professional, gotten more involved in many activities and joined the session here at New York Ave, I’ve recognized the need to plan and yes, even enjoy the thrill of a well balanced calendar. Most importantly in my role on session I’ve realized the importance of financial planning that I hadn’t recognized before. I have previously given to the church in random denominations of bills in the offering plate based on whatever I had in my wallet. While that contribution is important, I realize now the amount of importance we in session put on planned budget for the year, and how important pledged amounts are for our planning process. That may sound a little boring but it allows us the ability to plan the financial year and fund all of the things that we as church members see as the life of our church here in DC, including our missions in the city, with our communities and those in need, and the overall operations of our church.

Recognizing this I am personally recommitting my planning, as much hard work as it is, to ensure I am making my pledge for 2019 and following through on that commitment. I hope you will join me in prayerfully committing your pledge this year so that we can continue to invest in the wonderfully impactful programs for our community here at NYAPC.

Thank you,

Erica Morgan

Stewardship at Fall Retreat

WaterfallMy husband Matt and I have calls every six months with our financial advisor. These calls are often a reminder of how much more money we need to be saving to meet our retirement goals, send our kids to college, or ever afford a bigger place to live in DC. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by how much more money we should be saving that we’re not, but something I find, year after year, is that when Matt and I sit down to determine our annual church pledge, and when we make a commitment to not cut our donation short because of other financial stresses, there is a peace and comfort in knowing that God is in charge and ultimately responsible for our well-being. As much as the world tells us that 401Ks and 529s are the place to be, I’m reminded that our first priority must always be a financial commitment to the church – to further God’s will in our community. Who better knows our needs and knows how to care for them than God?
While I might forget this truth time and again, stewardship season is an opportunity to be reminded of God’s abundance, generosity, and overwhelming desire to provide for each one of us. This stewardship season, I pray you too might find comfort in God’s care and ministry, and the ways in which God’s call is alive and well at New York Avenue. One of the many things church pledges support is to help offset the costs of the annual church retreat. The date has been set for next year’s retreat (the weekend of October 18, 2019), and despite an increase in facility prices the church budget will help cover expenses to ensure the retreat is affordable for all.
Making a financial commitment to New York Avenue is one way we can live out Micah 6:8 and do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with our God. In so doing we are a part of God’s ministry and provision in a way that beats any 401K or 529 plan. Make your pledge today!

Congregational Sunday Recap

What do we love about NYAPC? Where do we see God? What do we hope for? Where is the Holy Spirit calling us? These are a few of the questions discussed at the Sept. 30 Congregational Sunday, organized around the Stewardship campaign’s theme of Opportunity.  Nine tables of members of all ages, each with a facilitator, explored these questions and shared their responses. While each table’s conversations varied, there were consistent themes that came out of all these discussions.42887267_10156371521133941_245521328734470144_n

What We Value.

  • Congregational Life: Words like friendly, community, helping others, supporting one another, warm, and welcoming came up over and over again.
  • Mission: We focused on the Radcliffe Room (mentioned quite a few times) along with the new Downtown Daytime Services Center in partnership with the Downtown Business Improvement District.
  • Worship: We value the preaching and the music, mentioned specifically several times.
  • Children and Youth: We love our growing children and youth programs.
  • Openness – We also value being available when the Holy Spirit calls, being a church that says “yes” to new opportunities, and that NYAPC is a place to explore what we truly believe without judgment.

What We Hope For.

  • Continued support for families, expanding programs for children and youth, especially for middle and high school youth.
  • Continued support for the Radcliffe Room and taking advantage of opportunities at the Homeless Day Services Center.
  • Deepening our church’s spiritual strengths
  • Growing into our current commitments and balancing congregational care with community involvement and activism
  • Learning new ways to support one another
  • Education programs that nurture both head and heart

Where Do We See God?

And all our comments pointed to our faith. We see God in the gestures of others and in caring during times of struggle. We find God in worship, in practical examples of what we can do day-to-day in sermons and when Sundays are a time to get focused on the upcoming week. One group summed it up as follows:  We see God in the Diaconal Ministers, the music, the Radcliffe Room, and the friendliness of members.

This summary and more detailed notes have been shared with the Vision/Strategy Team and the Session. If you want to talk with someone at the Vision/Strategy Team about any of these questions, or other concerns and hopes for NYAPC, email vision-strategy@nyapc.org or contact any of the members of the team: Miriam Dewhurst, Kathy Doan, Paul Dornan, Roger Gench, Hal Hiemstra, Meg House, Olivia Singelmann, Jim Spearman, Sarah McGinnis, Edie Holmes Snyder, Alice Tewell, and Matthew Wieseler.

And if you’d like to see a visual representation of our conversations, take a look at the tree in the sanctuary!

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Stewardship

From the earliest days of the church, properly financing our Christian ministry has been a challenge.  From Acts 4:32-35 we learn that “the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul… and everything they owned was in common.  There was not a needy person among them for what they owned they sold and laid the proceeds at the feet of the apostles, and it was distributed to each as any had need.”  The need still exists, but the methods to pay for our ministry have changed. We are not asked to sell everything, just to make that sacrifice for mission that our heart tells us is right.        

MarJohn2018Marilyn and I were attracted to this church, as we hope were many of you, because of the quality of our preaching and instruction, and because of the many excellent programs that mark our Christian service to this city that we love.  I am asking everyone to complete a pledge card during this Stewardship season. The pledge asks you to anticipate what you might be able to give for the entire year. We need this information so we can make commitments necessary for the entire year, to the people and programs that serve our mission.  We appreciate whatever you can give any Sunday, but it is your pledge for the year that helps us plan to fulfill our mission in an organized way. Mission is built on our volunteerism. But sustaining programs that draw us together to serve Christ in the heart of the city, require staff, facilities and supplies.  As in any organization, we make these commitments in an annual budget. Our pledges are important to being able to make commitments.

Some say, I give every Sunday, doesn’t that count as my pledge?  Giving every Sunday is great. It is nice to get what we didn’t expect.  But pledged giving helps the church make sure expenses to which we must commit today will be covered through 2019.  Take the time to make your best estimate of what your cumulative weekly giving will be for the year on a pledge card and drop it in the plate, at the front desk.  

Tax law changes may help some of us.  If you are age 70 ½ or older during 2019, you are required to take a distribution from your individual retirement account.  The IRS now says that you can make charitable contributions directly from your IRA or 401(k) without raising your taxable income.  Talk to your tax advisor about how direct charitable contributions can help you and our church.

John O’Brien, Diaconal Minister and Stewardship Committee Member

Stewardship

42900710_10156371520933941_4429544873539928064_nGood morning. My name is Craig Berry, and my wife Renee and I have attended New York Avenue for 2 years. We became members just a few months after we started attending, because we knew very quickly that New York Avenue was where we wanted to make our church home. We like a lot of things about this church – the friendly people, the opportunity to connect with the downtown neighborhood where I work, the inspiring sermons, and the history you can feel in this building.

But what we were most looking for when we came here – and found – was a place that would make a difference in the lives of our children. In just the two years we’ve been here, our daughters have attended nursery, worship play, pre-K Sunday School, and Lower Elementary Sunday School. They’ve always been warmly welcomed by adults and peers. And above all, their experience here at church is helping reinforce the value we most want to instill in them: love for all of humanity.

Because we are technically millennials (just barely, but millennials nonetheless), many of our friends our age do not attend church regularly. And frankly, we get why – life with young kids is busy, and sometimes you just need to stay in your pajamas on Sunday. However, we choose to be here on a regular basis because New York Avenue offers an opportunity for us and our daughters to be part of a community that is truly trying to live the central message to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. It’s one thing to talk about values like these, but regularly showing our kids how to live them can be hard, and New York Avenue helps us do that.

As part of the Stewardship Committee this year, I am asking you today to consider participating in the Stewardship Campaign. Your generous gift will help ensure that we can continue to develop all of the things that make this community so inspiring to be a part of, for adults and kids alike.