By Pastor Kurt
ECC is thankful for God’s provision through the years in so many ways. As you may know, today is Giving Tuesday and a good day to highlight some creative ways to participate in the funding of the mission God has given us at ECC.
If you are a person who doesn’t like carrying a checkbook or someone who would rather pay your bills online, ECC offers a way for you to give to our church’s ministries through our online giving portal. Gifts can be designated for the General Fund or the Benevolent Fund. You may give using a debit/credit card or direct withdrawal from your bank account. You may also set up recurring giving, whether you prefer to give weekly or monthly. For more information see the portal here.
In the past, individuals have inquired the process of giving stock to the church as part of their tithes and offerings. A few years ago, we developed a protocol for handling these transactions and from time to time, it is good to remind everyone of the process.
Gifts of appreciated securities (such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds) to Evangelical Covenant Church carry two benefits that cash gifts do not. You may eliminate the income tax on capital gains when contributing securities and, depending on your individual itemized deduction amount, you also may be able to take an income tax deduction based on the securities' fair market value on the date of the gift -- a double tax benefit from both the avoidance of capital gains on appreciated shares and the gift deduction.
What Are The Guidelines For Giving Appreciated Securities?
If you have any questions or would like to be provided with additional information including how a broker can transfer stock to ECC through a Direct Transfer Certificate, please contact me at the church.
Other creative ways to donate to ECC include creation of a Donor-Advised fund as well as donating part of your Required Minimum Distributions (RMD) if you are age 70 1/2 and older, and are receiving RMD’s from your Individual Retirement Account (IRA). I am happy to talk with anyone who would like to know more about any of these creative ways to fund the mission at ECC! Remember…God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7b)
By Pastor Kurt
I hope you will join us Tuesday, November 26 at 7:00pm for our annual Harvest Ingathering worship service. It is always a meaningful evening of worship, thanksgiving, sharing testimonies, and bonding in fellowship. Part of our worship will be to collect a thanksgiving offering for Covenant World Relief.
For more than 60 years, Covenant World Relief (CWR) has been the Evangelical Covenant Church’s response to human suffering and injustice in the world. Through local partnerships, CWR invests in community development and responds to global disasters. CWR’s mission is to join God in loving, serving, and working together with the poor, the powerless and the marginalized. They seek the following values in our global partnerships. They seek to demonstrate the good news of Jesus Christ in word and deed. The belief is that the church is at its best when it holistically serves the most vulnerable—spiritually, physically, economically, intellectually, socially, and emotionally.
They do so by partnering with established local organizations, relying on their expertise, experience, and networks. As a ministry of the ECC, CWRs prioritizes Covenant connected relationships. They affirm an asset based relief and development model that prioritizes local resources—human, relational, material, and financial. This way the community and its leaders are equipped and empowered to carry out programs that are locally initiated and led, working with, rather than for, the community.
CWR strives for comprehensive and sustainable development that leads to holistic transformation, valuing the quality of impact more than the quantity of people impacted. CWRs believes that all people are made in God’s image and are worthy of being treated with dignity and respect and they work to address the root causes of injustice through reconciliation, peacemaking, solidarity, and advocacy.
Jesus said in Mathew 25:31-46 that whenever we reach out and touch another hurting person in His name, we do it to Him. I invite you all to be a partner in this vital ministry through the giving opportunities as part of our Harvest Ingathering service.
Be still, and know that I am God.
By Sally Lowrey
About 80 women came together at Camp Tecumseh from November 1-3 to PAUSE. Some stayed overnight; some decided to enjoy the comfort of their own beds and drive back to camp each day. Both choices allowed for effective PAUSE that included fellowship, worship, prayer, learning and fun.
The weekend started on Friday evening with worship. The songs were carefully selected to support the retreat theme of PAUSE and for us each to be reminded that we are loved dearly by our ever-present God.
We had a very engaging speaker, Kristan Dooley, who presented throughout the weekend starting Friday evening and ending Sunday morning just prior to our ending communion service. The guiding scripture for her teaching was John 15. Below are some of the key points she shared with us to reflect upon:
Saturday afternoon was unstructured time. Each woman was able to find her individual PAUSE activity. Some painted signs to take home as a reminder of the retreat’s guiding scripture "Be still, and know that I am God." Others took a walk through the beautiful camp setting. Some took naps or read. Some even participated in the camp activity of riflery and archery. There was definitely something for everyone.
Throughout the entire retreat there was lots of prayer, lots of woman-to-woman support and care, great food, and lots of games and laughter. Prayers were answered as each woman who was asked “would you...” said yes, starting from the time of initial retreat planning months in advance to the conclusion of our time together on Sunday. Thank you to everyone for sharing your talents in many ways for this retreat to be meaningful and successful.
We definitely missed Kate Cogswell while she was with family as they honored her beautiful mother Bonnie who had passed earlier in the week. Because of the many women who contributed their talents and time, Kate was able to be fully present with her family.
By Ronda Ooms
17 years ago ECC, committed to partnering with other area churches to help families in need during the Christmas season through an outreach called Christmas For Everyone. For 15 years we helped provide gifts for thousands of children. It was a very good thing that we did. A few years ago we sensed that God was leading us in a different direction. We realized that even though we were doing a good thing, we weren't making a lasting difference in anyone's life. Many families would come back year after year. Their circumstances hadn't changed. We saw them once a year and had no other interaction with them. We realized that without a relationship we weren't really able to make a lasting difference in anyone's life. In 2017, after much prayer and discussion, we began a new Christmas Outreach, one that would allow us to deepen relationships and allow us to work with families all throughout the year.
"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27
This decision has shaped the way that we do a lot of our outreach efforts. We focus on families in the Miller/Bauer neighborhoods. In particular we work with families whose children are involved with Afterschool JAM, our weekly Afterschool ministry that takes place on Thursdays. 24 children from 11 different families make up our group. We will be hosting a Christmas event for these children and their families on Saturday, December 7.
This party will include lunch, fun activities, family pictures, a time for parents to shop for gifts for their children and gift cards for gas or a bus pass, food, clothing and a special gift card to allow families to experience a fun family outing. This will be our 3rd year of this type of Christmas outreach. We have contact with these families throughout the school year and even through the summer. We are able to have more input into their lives and show them God’s love through walking alongside them as they work to raise their children and make ends meet.
I can tell you that each family has/is experiencing great difficulties. Most are single moms trying to make ends meet. Several have experienced homelessness. They are so blessed by ECC's involvement in their life. Mary, one of “our” moms, said to me recently, “ECC has helped my family so much. We are blessed to be involved with such great people.” She feels like we are family, that we will pray for her, love her children and be an encouragement to her. We desire for each of the families we are blessed to interact with to feel that support and care.
Each year at this time we raise funds to help with our outreach efforts. This year our goal is to raise $12,000 to use throughout the entire year to bless families in need. Some of the money will be used in December for Christmas but a majority of the money will be used to help families throughout the year. We ask that you pray about what God may desire for you to give. Please make this gift above your regular giving. All monetary donations are recorded as part of your giving, just make a check out to ECC with Christmas Outreach in the memo portion.
You also have the opportunity to be involved at the Christmas party on December 7. We need several people to give rides to families without transportation, people to help with food prep, serving, clean up and with crafts and other activities. We also need people that are willing to be a host to a family the day of the party, which means you will eat lunch with the family, do gift shopping with the parents, and do what you can to make the family feel welcome here. We will also be doing an outreach activity where families put together blessing bags for the homeless shelter. There are also several opportunities to help prior to the party by purchasing items and baking cookies we purchase for the families to decorate. You can sign up here. You may also want to visit the East counter to choose an ornament with items you can purchase to help us at the December 7 Christmas party.
I would be happy to talk with anyone that has questions about our outreach ministry and the thought process behind why we do what we do. Feel free to contact me at 474-4842 or firstname.lastname@example.org