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October 19, 2017, 10:11 AM

First Fruits - Our Stewardship Theme for 2018

As we look ahead to 2018, the HSLC Stewardship Team has been reflecting on the theme of "First Fruits", and I wanted to share some reflections on how we have been faithful with the resources entrusted to us--along with some of our hoped-for plans for 2018.

Over the past two years, Grace Hall has become a place for our community to gather for fellowship and meals.  There we have celebrated and comforted one another at important occasions like graduations and funeral luncheons.  We have shared meals with Family Promise clients and made new friends. 

For the past year, we have used the new classrooms on Sunday mornings in between services for Christian education, and once every few months, they are transformed into bedrooms for families so that those families get a new start through Family Promise. 

Our Music program continues to introduce new music in worship through our choirs, and our “Sing a New Song” songbook introduced this summer. On Christmas day last year, the choir combined with an 18 piece orchestra to present “Let there be Christmas.”   One person said as she was leaving, “I can’t wait to see next year’s Choir cantata!”  Join us on December 17, 2017, and you will see what she meant. 

Our youth are already planning for the 2018 National Youth Gathering in Houston, but they have been up to a lot more than planning this year.  The Jr. and Sr. High students participate in regular Bible Study, hosted a summer concert and went on a “backyard mission trip” this summer.  As part of the mission trip, they served at Forgotten Harvest, Southeast Michigan’s largest food recovery organization by planting and picking 493 pounds of vegetables.

As you can see from these quick snapshots, Holy Spirit is a vibrant congregation.  And every gift of time, talent and treasure makes a difference in our community.

In addition to maintaining our current ministries, the additional stewardship goals we hope to accomplish in 2018 are:

1. Expanding Our Food Distribution – ($3-5000) during the winter months when we are not able to distribute outside, we are hoping to buy prepackaged "family boxes" of food purchased through the Food Bank of Eastern Michigan to provide to those in need.  By working with other organizations in the area, we plan to assist those households with the greatest need in our area. At approximately $35 a box, our goal will enable us to feed an additional 85 to 145 households beginning in the winter of 2018.  

2. Funding for an Additional Part-Time Staff Person – ($10,000) According to the CAT survey, the congregation would like to focus on two areas in particular that take time and energy beyond what a volunteer would normally provide:
1. Develop and implement a comprehensive strategy to reach new people and incorporate them into the life of the church, and
2. Develop ministries that work toward healing those broken by life circumstances.  This part time position would help provide the resources we need to accomplish these goals.

Adding a part-time staff person would help us strengthen and begin new programs in these areas.

3. Debt Reduction - paying down an additional $12,000 in principal over and above our existing mortgage payment.  In other words, our goal for 2018 is an additional $1,000 a month toward principle.  Making these payments on a continued basis would help us pay off the loan in about half the time and save us in excess of $150,000 in interest.   By reducing the life of the loan like this, we will address the concern of several members to not leave the debt burden to the next generation.    Know too that if you wish to give a special gift toward debt reduction, you are welcome to do so at any time!

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