January 27, 2022
Beloved in Christ:
Greetings in the precious and matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
I write today to thank you with praise to our Creator God in and through the precious and matchless name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ using the words of the Psalmist, “ Not to us, Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.” (Psalm 115:1). God’s amazing love and faithfulness are overflowing through each and every one of you!
So, I say to all clergy, laity, and leaders: Thank you! Gracias! Danke! Salamat! Merci! Wliwni! Obrigado! Gam-sa-hab-nee-da! Xiexie! Spasibo! Grazie! Shukran! Dhanyavaad!
Your generosity, your love for all God’s people; your embrace of John Wesley’s phrase, “the world is my parish;” your passion for peace
and justice ministries; have been exemplified once again through your support of the ministries and missions of the New England Annual Conference. Your giving brought excitement to the leaders of our Conference, staff, and me personally as we reviewed the preliminary income and expense statement of our Annual Conference at a recent Conference Committee on Finance and Administration (CCFA) meeting.
Once again, we have been able to pay 100% of our obligation for the worldwide, local, and conference ministries and missions as well as some unexpected needs and challenges that emerged in 2021. We can truly celebrate this accomplishment after having reduced our Conference mission share budget for 2021.
All districts significantly improved in their participation, which resulted in a 3.99% increase in giving in 2021.
In my Thanksgiving letter to the Conference last November, I appealed to you, saying:
May I request that you reflect on Wesley’s words prayerfully — "Earn all you can, save all you can, give all you can." — and consider donating the cost of one cup of coffee/tea/soda or meal a day from Thanksgiving to Christmas to your local church in addition to what you have pledged? Your church will keep 50% of your donation to benefit local ministries and the other 50% will be used for the Conference and World Missions portions of your church's Mission Shares. If some churches collect more than they need, praise God! It will be put to good use.
Many of you took this challenge to heart and greatly blessed our Conference. Your generosity, along with the support of all our churches and faith communities, enabled the CCFA to pay the unexpected loss of income and budget deficit due to Covid for our camps and retreat center in 2021. As I said in my appeal, special giving will be used for “conference and world missions.” CCFA chose to use this special giving for our camp and retreat ministries which are doing marvelous work for the kin-dom of God! We were also able to meet our commitment to national and world missions.
All this was possible because you are the angels of God! You gave witness to a true understanding of “the world is my parish” for which I am always grateful and appreciative. I consider it as a privilege and blessing to be your Episcopal leader and give thanks for my predecessors who served this conference and laid the foundations on whose shoulders I stand.
Likewise, I am thankful for the great leadership we have at all levels of the Conference and at our partner ministries, Preachers’ Aid Society and United Methodist Foundation of New England. I especially want to share my gratitude for the CCFA’s faithful stewardship and our finance department staff’s hard work throughout the year, but particularly during the busy year-end season.
Lastly, I greatly appreciate your participation in the "Brave Space Conversations" which are underway with our Vision Forward Team. These conversations will assist the Vision Forward Team to bring recommendations to the 2022 Annual Conference Session, which will help make our conference truly committed to our mission and above all, to what God is calling us to do to extend God’s reign on this earth.
As we listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying to us, filled with the radical love of Christ, may I encourage all of you to participate in either the Feb 7 or Feb 28. conversation (please register at neacvision.org)?
With gratitude, hope, and expectation, let us keep one another in our prayers.
In Christ’s love,