I think that the most enjoyable aspect of ministry for me is the “front row seat” I have as I watch our Lord transform the hearts and minds of the men, women and children who are a part of St. Andrew’s. And, honestly, I am always humbled as I see this process of transformation happen.
As we wind down the calendar year and prepare to remember again that great story of Christ’s descent I am particularly reminded of the many ways in which we have engaged and grown as a parish over the past year. There are many ways to measure spiritual growth: from faithful participation in worship, to serving the body and the community to caring for one another. To give you a snapshot of what I’ve witnessed, here are a few highlights from the past year:
- We performed 45 weddings
- We baptized 75 people
- We performed 16 funerals
- We confirmed 43 young adults
- We added 25 new Life Groups
- We have 858 folks involved in Life Groups
- 450 kids participate in our Children’s Ministry offerings during the week and weekends
- Our youth ministries have seen a 100% increase in high school (“Impact”) participation and an 80% increase in middle school (“Basic”) participation
- Our Men’s and Women’s Ministries saw 1056 men and women participate in their ministries this year and new leadership huddles were launched
- We added an “Alpha in the Workplace” offering downtown and saw 41 businessmen/woman participate
- 103 imprisoned men participated in the Alpha Course at the Navy Brig
- 401 people participated in the Alpha Course at St. Andrew’s, Mt. Pleasant
- We sponsored and led 9 international mission trips
- 15 months since its start-up and City Church has grown to an average Sunday attendance of 352 people
- We brought Jessica Smith on board as our fulltime Associate Worship Leader with specific responsibility for the worship at City Church
- We’ve seen a 10% increase in attendance at our Goose Creek church plant and an increase in their Children’s Ministry from 6 to 16 kids. Men’s and Women’s Ministries have been launched in Goose Creek as well as the Marriage Course and we are seeing lives being redeemed and restored
- Our new medical clinic in Goose Creek is seeing an average of 15 patients per week
- We prepared and delivered 51 Thanksgiving meals through the Goose Creek church plant
- We helped spearhead the Convoy of Hope and other community outreach events
- We partnered with the Charleston Police to run “Camp Hope” which met at Sanders-Clyde Elementary and served 75 middle school families on the lower eastside of Charleston
Who would have thought that this recession would have lasted four years? And yet, we have been able to give witness to the reality of a different economy – God’s economy. Over these past four years we have continued to meet our financial commitments to our local and international mission partners (we’ve actually increased our support for missions in this time frame). We have planted a new church. We have helped launch a new diocese. We are adding (by faith) a new staff member next month (The Rev’d Rob Sturdy). All of this possible because of what God has done in the lives of men and women like you, and your faithful response to His extravagant grace. It is a humbling thing to see and a more humbling experience to be your pastor.
One last word, December is a critical month for us with regard to giving. In fact, 15% of our total giving happens this month alone. As we come into the end of the year offerings are running about 2.5% behind budget (a $3,000,000 budget). Will you help us to finish the year strongly?
With the end of year happening over a weekend our finance office will have close at mid-day on Friday, December 30th, and, it will reopen Tuesday, January 3rd. If you send your year-end contribution through the mail please ensure that it is post-marked by December 31st so that you will receive credit for your 2011 taxes. Or, you can drop your checks, dated no later than December 31st, in the slot through the Finance Office door anytime prior to their return. For those who wish to give stocks or transfer other assets, you may contact Lynn Mitchell directly at 843.284.4322. And, of course, online giving can happen at any time.
With prayers for a blessed Christmas and New Year,
I remain faithfully yours,