After Christmas, I spent some time reflecting on all that has happened at Trinity in 2017. Together we have taken some pretty big risks. We’ve tried things we have never done before. Some things we have tried together have gone incredibly well: an outdoor service with record-breaking attendance, outreach during 4th of July, our first Lessons & Carols service with children’s Christmas pageant. Other things we have tried haven’t worked out the way we had hoped. All in all, it has been an amazing year of growth and new adventures. For the first time ever, our average Sunday attendance for 2017 exceeded 100. In 2016, our average Sunday attendance was 77.
Just this past December we had some significant milestones. At our December Vestry meeting, we were facing a $9,000 shortfall in giving. But just within the space of a few weeks, we went from a deficit of $9,000 to a surplus of $40,000. This means we ended 2017 with a 10% increase in giving over 2016. In addition, we received gifts totaling $55,000 to go directly towards reducing our debt. We have made a strong start towards freedom from debt.
For all that God has done over the past year, I am so grateful. I find myself identifying with what Paul says about the church in Philippi, “I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.”
Together we have loved God, loved people, and shared Life. I don’t know what God has in store for us in 2018. I don’t know if it will be a year of feasting or famine. But I do know one thing. I am grateful that I get to journey through 2018 with all of you. Not only am I grateful for all that God has done, I am specifically grateful for all that God has done through you. Together, you have given sacrificially of your time, talents, and treasure to make our church a place where God is loved, people are loved, and life is shared. As I look back on 2017, I can only say, “Thanks be to God!”