October 31, 2019
Siblings in Christ —
As we have just heard from our Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CCFA) in their letter published yesterday, our giving to mission shares is down by more than $270,000 from the same point last year. This means we may not be able to fulfill the missional obligations we have covenanted to support this year. There is no doubt this will have the largest adverse impact on those who are the least among us.
Even as we grieve the harm done to members of our body by the legislative actions (and inaction) taken by our denomination in 2019, our hearts are broken by this decrease in support for one another through our missional giving. We encourage laity and clergy alike to check on your congregation's progress toward paying 100% of Mission Shares. This is an expectation that all of us in the connection should aspire to meet.
Our connectional giving is the lifeblood of support to our mission and ministry. We cannot cut off one part of the body and not starve the rest. We have all been supported by the grace and power of our connection, and we all have a responsibility to each other.
When we do not give our fair share, we are asking other churches to take on that burden.
We know $270,000 is a big number. It can seem daunting — especially to our churches that are struggling. But if we all give a little, or each bring our dish to the potluck, as CCFA has said, we can ensure there will be enough for us and all who come to be fed.
Our Conference Treasurer ran some numbers:
If 10 members from each church contributed just $3 per day from now through Dec. 31, 2019 ($180 each), we would meet our responsibilities to the World Service Fund.
If another 8 members joined them, we would fulfill our conference apportionment obligations entirely.
We are inviting each of you to join Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar's Christmas Giving Challenge: Submit your check for $180 (or more!) through your local church and designate it for Mission Shares.
Of course, some churches have fewer members and others more who can take up the challenge. We gratefully encourage everyone to participate as they are able; that's how we work together in the connection!
We, the Extended Cabinet — the bishop, district superintendents, conference executive staff, conference lay leader, and president of the Foundation — have all accepted the challenge and have sent our checks to the Conference Treasurer. We hope that you will join us.
Bishop Devadhar was the first among us to meet the challenge, and offered these words on the powerful impact of our connectional generosity.
"I am a product of the missionary movement, and today continue to be grateful for the legacy of faithful leaders in the church who recognized the importance of reaching out beyond their own needs to care for our global community," the bishop said. "As your temporal and spiritual leader, I encourage us all to remain faithful in our commitment to the mission outreach that transforms lives and builds communities of justice and joy."
May each one of us, called by God, following in the footsteps of Jesus, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, do all that we can to meet the needs of our world and church through our generosity.
Members of the New England Conference Extended Cabinet
Listen to an audio recording of Bishop Devadhar's testimony to the mission of our church, recorded at the 2019 Connectional Table Leadership Retreat
See a Oct. 31, 2019 letter from CCFA on connectional giving