Heritage Sunday 2016
Dear Friends and Family of Ebenezer UMC,
I greet you in grace and peace from God our father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Most of you who have been a part of Ebenezer Church, probably know more about the background to our name than I did when I became the pastor here 15 months ago. Come Thou Fount of Every of Blessing has always been one of my favorite hymns but I was never sure what it meant to “raise my Ebenezer.” As I dug deeper into our name, this hymn and the Bible, I began to understand our name, and how we began to claim its purpose for us.
The prophet Samuel set up a stone after the LORD routed the Philistines and Israel won a great victory. This was not without repentance and seeking the LORD on Israel’s part. The stone, named Ebenezer, which means Stone of Help, commemorated that victory, for “Thus far the LORD has helped us” (1 Samuel 7:12). Whenever the Israelites would pass by the stone, they would remember what they were capable of and how the LORD acted on their behalf.
I want to invite you to an extra special Heritage Sunday on November 6 at 10:45 a.m. Let me explain. If you have been on our parking in the last year, you have seen the poor shape it is in. The church council explored whether we could afford to replace it, and how we could pay for this very large need. As we prayed and discerned, we decided we HAD to replace the parking lot if we were going to move our church forward in ministry.
We started with an estimated cost of $40,000 and decided that we first needed to raise half, $20,000. We held a luncheon after church to invite each person to give their “best gift.” In addition, we sent a letter to the friends of Ebenezer asking for help and prayer. On June 12, we rejoiced when I shared the amount of our best gift total: it was $31,000. We praised God because “The LORD has helped us” and we raised our Ebenezer. In the weeks to follow, it grew to $36,000. And when we accepted the final bid, our new total was $50,000. We had another offering last week that brought our total to $41,000. We also have reserve funds available to cover the difference. Any additional gifts will allow us to not only fund a reserve for parking lot maintenance, but continue in ministry to the community and world.
As I write this letter, our old parking lot is gone and by the end of the week, we will have raised our Ebenezer and have a brand new parking lot! We are praying and dreaming about what events we can hold on our parking lot, and in our church, so that we can be a help to our community, encouraging people to ‘tune their hearts” to the grace and love of Jesus Christ.
Please join us on November 6, not just for worship, preaching, fellowship, and a great lunch, but also for the Parking Lot Dedication Service. Thank you for your ministry in this church and for your ‘Pave the Way Forward” support.