NEWSLETTER – SEPTEMBER 2012
Evangelisch-Lutherische St. Markusgemeinde
Vancouver, B.C. 1573 East 18th Avenue V5N 2H4
Where do we stand?
A letter from the Stewardship Committee about our financial situation
Dear Members and Friends,
First of all we wish to thank all of you who made and make it possible that we as a Christian congregation can serve our people and provide the many services as we do. It was your contribution which gave us financial stability over the past 50 years.
Our God given mandate to serve in this city as a well respected Christian church has not changed but the circumstances we operate in did.
In response to the discussion and outcome of our extraordinary congregational meeting on May 27th and in the light of our general financial situation a Stewardship Committee has been formed. Members of that committee are Mr. Boecking, Mr. Bowerbank, Pastor Breit, Mrs. Drissler, Pastor Ermisch, Mr. Nixdorf, Mr. Sulzberger and Mrs. Swantje.
The committee sees its task in finding constructive ways to respond to our increasingly difficult financial situation which shall enable us to provide now and in the future for the spiritual needs of the people God entrusted to us.
The committee felt that at first we should inform the members and friends of our congregation where we stand financially, what our challenges are and together find ways how to respond to these challenges.
This letter will serve as a description of our current situation. In a second letter which will be sent to you with the October newsletter the committee is going to present suggestions on potential solutions for our congregation.
To summarize our situation in a single sentence: our revenues have been decreasing while our expenses increase. The decrease of the income is due to a decline in the number of people who contribute. In 2011 we had 322 donation envelope holders, in 2008 there were 353.
The reasons the committee sees are:
As our congregation ages and people pass away or move, an increasing number of people are unable to attend our weekly services due to age and health reasons. Our lack of parking spaces is another factor, in particular for our older members. Very few of those who can’t come anymore still contribute by mail, most don’t.
The projected budget shortfall (deficit) for 2012 is about $30, 000.00.
In the past years various donations from estates (legacies) prevented us from accumulating any budget shortfall. To remember the church in the will is certainly a nice opportunity for people to express their gratitude towards their congregation, which is most welcome and thankfully appreciated, but extremely difficult to budget on. A closer look at our expenses shows that they are increasing because of the general rise in prices and cost of living. This reflects on our operating expenses including the salaries of the paid church staff. Because St. Mark’s owns two older buildings and an aging parsonage we also have to expect increasing maintenance costs in the near future. The ability to do the necessary work ourselves is limited to smaller repairs. As the congregation ages the problem will become worse. Therefore we will have to hire people from outside to do the bigger jobs as it was the case with our recent painting and maintenance project.
This job included painting and restoring of the outside window frames, pressure washing, some wood replacement, epoxy repairs and painting of all the wooden parts of the church building. A few things also had to be done at the parsonage (three exterior doors, railing of the balcony, front wood trim). “Heritage Painting and Decorating” did a great job and finished on July 27th after three weeks of work. We were pleased with their professionalism and craftsmanship. The people of this company have been punctual, effective and always open to our suggestions and questions. The overall cost, including the parsonage and HST, was $ 38,757.60.
This is a brief description of our present situation. Now, believing that God will bless everything that is done in His name, let us work together and do what He is calling us to do. Let us find constructive ways to tackle these challenges. We are confident that we have in our congregation the needed collective wisdom, time and resources to overcome this problem. In our next newsletter (October) the committee will share with you suggestions and ideas. Meanwhile we very much encourage you to provide active input. If you have any ideas please contact any member of the Stewardship Committee or Church Council.
“Help carry one another’s burdens, and in this way you will obey the law of Christ.” Galatians 4:5
For the Stewardship Committee,
Renè Boecking, Lance Bowerbank, Pastor Kristina Breit, Agnes Drissler,Pastor Hardo Ermisch, Jörg Nixdorf, Alfred Sulzberger, Elke Swantje
Freud und Leid
Das Sakrament der Heiligen Taufe empfingen Erik Fuchs und Kristina Alysa Tannert von Baer. Möge der Herr den Lebensweg der Kinder segnen und Eltern und Großeltern Weisheit geben, ihnen im lebendigen Glauben an Jesus Christus Vorbild zu sein.
Aus diesem Leben abberufen wurde Frau Herta Plettner. Wir bitten den Herrn, die Verstorbene in Gnaden anzunehmen und ihre trauernden Angehörigen mit dem Mantel seines Trostes zu umhüllen.
Die für den 26.August im deutschen Gottesdienst geplante Themapredigt werde ich am 9.September halten, weil ich am 26.August nicht da bin.
Wie Sie wissen, liegt uns der Besuchsdienst sehr am Herzen. Wenn ich in unsere Mitgliederliste schaue, sehe ich, dass die Anzahl unserer Gemeindeglieder und Freunde, die zumeist alters- und gesundheitsbedingt nicht mehr zum Gottesdienst kommen können, zugenommen hat. Derzeit sind dies etwa 40 Personen. Wir bemühen uns, so gut wir können, neben den anderen pfarramtlichen Verpflichtungen, den Kontakt mit allen aufrecht zu erhalten. Priorität müssen wir dabei den akut Kranken einräumen, besonders denen, die im Hospital sind. Ich möchte diesen kurzen Hinweis zum Anlass nehmen, Sie zu bitten und zu ermutigen, uns telefonisch wissen zu lassen, wo ein Besuch gewünscht und notwendig ist. Auf Grund unserer Verstreutheit im Grossraum Vancouver ist es manchmal nicht so einfach, den gewünschten Kontakt zu halten. Pastorin Breit und ich freuen uns über Ihre Anrufe.
Der Chor beginnt mit den Proben am 12.September um 12:00 Uhr, wenn Dubravko aus dem Urlaub zurück ist. Neue Sängerinnen und Sänger sind jederzeit herzlich willkommen.
Fitness & Prayer
Wir treffen uns zum ersten Mal nach der Sommerpause am 5.September um 10:30 Uhr.
St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church
Vancouver, B.C. 1573 East 18th Avenue V5N 2H4
“She thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.“
The power of a touch. The verse from Mark is taken from the story of the bleeding woman. All she longs for is to be healed. All she knows is: the physicians, all people she had asked for help couldn’t give her healing. In her desperation she turns to the one of whom she has heard to have healed many: Jesus. She doesn’t want much – no long talk, no eye-to-eye conversation – just a touch.
“Touching” is not a backcountry-road in the Bible but it is connected with different topics. I want to focus on one: Jesus/God touching people.
The whole Bible talks about God touching people: not only spiritually but physically. Isaiah’s lips are cleansed by God so that he can preach to the people of Israel, Paul is blinded and healed by God etc. And there are quite a few stories in which Jesus touches people to heal or clean them.
There is something like a “spirituality of touching” in the Bible. We humans need more than words – God knew this. We have to feel his presence, to feel being accepted.
Nothing shows us more that we are loved and accepted than in the moments when somebody takes us in his or her arms, when somebody holds us for a minute, when somebody touches us with love and care.
There is power in a touch – for the better (and the worse)! Touching is powerful. Not too long ago somebody told me how God’s presence was experienced in a hug. Feeling far away from God, feeling God being quiet and distant this person prayed for a sign. A friend visiting this evening didn’t say a lot of words, but wrapped his/her arms around this person and gave him/her a long hug. A touch with power. This person felt: God himself had shown his love in this hug. There he was, telling: You are my beloved child. I am there for you.
It seems as if God sometimes uses us to share and show his love, in just a hug.
Jesus hugged the children and blessed them. He touches people that are looking for his help, even those that are considered “unclean”, not accepted, outcasts – and he lets himself be touched: emotionally as well as physically. That is we can trust in: Jesus cares – when we look for his presence, when we look for touching him and being touched.
The experience of the woman? She will be healed! The touch gave her healing.
In His Love,
Please take notice of the Letter of our Stewardship Committee at the beginning of the German newsletter (It’s in English)!!
September 14 Broadway Skytrain Station – Outreach. Come at 6:30pm to prepare the sandwiches and for prayer.
September 21 Getting Bored? – A night with Games and Surprises.
September 28 Lost – a night in the Corn Maze.
Are you 12, 13 or 14 years old? Do you speak English and/or German?! Do you have questions or doubts about the Christian faith – or do you just want to know more about it?
Are you interested in getting to know other young people your age?
We invite you to join our Confirmation Class. We speak English and/or German. Together we discover the Christian faith, try to find answers to your questions, discuss the faith in the context of our world and practice what it means to lead a Christian life. We start our new class in October 2012 and would like to welcome you.
Please contact Pastor Kristina for more information: 604-435-5950.
We offer Sunday School in English during the German and the English Service.
German Sunday School for children between 1 and 4 years is offered during every German Service – Sunday School for older kids is offered every third Sunday of the month parallel to the German Service.
The Young Family Group meets on September 08th.
Freudenquell Ladies meet on September 17th:
English Bible Study meets on September 18th