I hope that you and your family are enjoying some restful downtime with family and friends during this well-deserved break between Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve. This is also a wonderful time for us as a First Church family to hit the pause button for a moment and consider a few important questions. How have we as individuals lived into our faith this past year? How have we as a faith community lived into our calling to be the body of Christ in the world? How can we as individuals help our church end this year on solid footing that will enable us to continue to build on our commitment to Love God, Serve People, and Transform Lives during the coming year?
This is also a time for celebration. During this past year at First Church, some of the wonderful ways we lived out our faith together included:
- Our thriving children’s program teaching our faith stories in new and different ways to help children develop faith that is relevant to them. This vibrant program once again broke its own record this year with the largest gathering of Vacation Bible School attendees and volunteers in First Church history, hosting more than 735 children, adults, and youth volunteers for an entire week in our church.
- Our tangible commitment to developing the discipleship of each member of our church through the launch of our brand new Healthy Plate Discipleship program, offering each member of our First Church family a comprehensive framework for creating a healthy, balanced, and meaningful Christian life.
- Our solid reputation for excellence in sacred music and music programming that now includes 220 people enrolled in our active adult, youth, and children’s choir programs, our first-ever FUMCFW Concert series with 16 concerts stretching from September through May and a spectacular array of music events to meet a variety of interests.
- Our commitment to mission work for all ages and interests through trips and activities at home and around the world including middle school, high school, and youth choir mission trips; adult mission trips to Costa Rica and Kenya; and special flood relief mission work in Taylor, Texas, and to provide United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) flood buckets to Louisiana. And, with UMCOR disaster response training now complete for four people, we’ll be able to offer this training here to our First Church family in 2017.
- Our thoughtful variety of ways to experience worship to meet the diverse needs of our congregation, including a new teaching worship service named “The Gathering” at 9:30 am on Sundays that has doubled in size since September; the eleven:eleven celebration that offers a nontraditional approach to worship and community with story, message, special guests, and one of the best cover bands in Fort Worth; and DiscipleChurch that offers special encouragement from gifted preachers for those with a heart for service to love God and love our neighbors to make the world a better place.
- Our ongoing development of ministries and programs to meet specific needs and interests, including outdoor retreats for worship and reflection that touches the lives of more than 100 people through our unique Outdoor Ministry, with even more events and activities now being planned for 2017; our FitFirst ministry designed enhance the health of our church members as we build community through running and cycling groups, yoga classes, and fitness “boot camps” for all ages and levels of fitness; and offerings like ImprovFirst, StoryArc, and a new FirstTalks discussion group modeled after TedTalks to spark lively and relevant connections within our First Church community.
It is because of the collective generosity of our First Church family that these programs and many others continue to thrive. As we turn our attention now toward a brand new year, please take a moment to be sure your 2016 commitment to our church is complete. I also invite you at this time to prayerfully consider making an additional gift to our church to help us finish out our financial year with strength that celebrates and continues our accomplishments into the coming year.
Thank you so much for all that you do for our church. May you and yours have a blessed and happy new year.
Grace and Peace,
Dr. Tim Bruster, Senior Pastor
P.S. For your convenience, I’m including below the variety of ways in which you can give to our church quickly and easily. If you have any questions, please contact Larry Ammerman (email@example.com | 817-339-3884).
Ways to Give
Check or Money Order
Make payable to FUMC Fort Worth; deliver to the Business Office, the Main Church Office, or via mail to 800 W. 5th St., Fort Worth, Texas 76102.
Go to fumcfw.org/givenow.
Text to Give
Text 817-241-2327 and enter the amount in the message bar. You must have a ShelbyGive account set up with the church in order to Text to Give.
ShelbyNEXT | Giving App
Download the app to give from your smart phone. Learn more.
If you would like to deliver your contribution in person, please visit the Main Church Office during regular business hours this week; Wednesday and Thursday from 8:30 am – 5:00 pm and Friday from 8:00 am – 5:00 pm.
Other Year-End Giving Options:
In 2015 Congress made permanent the ability for eligible persons to donate directly from their IRA instead of having to take a required minimum distribution. This benefits you because you do not have to then claim the distributed funds as income; however, please be aware that you also will not be able to deduct the fund distribution amount on your tax return as a charitable contribution. It’s imperative that your investment advisor have the amount transferred directly to the church.
The financial markets have shown significant gains in 2016. If you have appreciated shares of common stock, you can transfer shares of stock from your account to the church’s brokerage account. This provides you with a dual benefit: you do not have to claim the capital gain on the appreciated shares, and you get to claim the total value of this stock on that date of the transfer as a charitable contribution.
Please also note: Contributions are tax deductible in the year they are made, whether by check, credit card, or online giving. All qualified donations submitted or post marked by December 31, 2016 will be deductible for 2016.
Contact: Larry Ammerman | firstname.lastname@example.org | 817-339-3884