As we finish out this unbelievable year, I reflect on the fact that even though this year was filled with monumentally difficult challenges, it was also filled with great blessings. Personally, Chip and I are blessed that our youngest daughter, Shelby, has graduated college, and our oldest daughter, CJ, is having a baby in January.
The church has been greatly blessed this year as well. The pandemic forced us rethink how we deliver worship to our church family, and, as a result, we have created an excellent live stream program which reaches people throughout the country. The Hope Center developed a virtual assistance program, which continues to help our neighbors pay their utility bills. The Hope Center, along with Thursday Lunch Bunch, have organized many drive-thru food distribution events. We held many drive-thru blessing events for our children and youth and gathered on lawns (socially distant) to stay connected. We have moved outside of our walls and are engaging our community in many creative ways. Our response to the challenges forced upon us will make us a stronger church in the future.
We have been financially blessed as well. When the lockdowns occurred, we reduced our budget by 22% to respond to the economic crisis. We were blessed to receive a $419K Paycheck Protection Loan, and the AHUMC Foundation approved an extraordinary budget distribution of $370K that provided greatly needed funding for our ministries. Because we were forced to reduce building activities during the year, we have saved over $380K in planned operating expenses. All the while, our church family has faithfully supported the church through gifts and offerings. THANK YOU!
As a result, our YTD November revenues exceeded projections by over 12%. We enter December in a favorable position to achieve our needed revenues of $2,732K. As we go into December, the church needs $253K to meet our COVID-19 adjusted budget. Based on historical December trends, this goal is completely doable.
The year 2021 will continue to be challenging. Because we do not have an economic stimulus such as the Paycheck Protection Loan, our budget will return to $3.3M. The AHUMC Foundation has once again stepped in and provided much needed assistance with a generous contribution to our operating budget, and many of you have indicated your support by pledging to the 2021 budget. So, dear family, please stay faithful. Together we are strong. We are bringing the ministry of Jesus to our people. YOU are making a difference in God’s Kingdom. May God bless you during this Advent season.