1 Thessalonians 5:16-24
John 1:6-8, 19-28
Christmas is coming ! In the coming weeks, we will be asking you to help support The Christmas Fund, also known as Veterans of the Cross and the Emergency Fund. I want you to pray about it and decide how generously you can give to support our elderly and disabled pastors and church workers.
What follows is a breakdown of how the funds are used.
One of the unique aspects of the Christmas Fund is that the funds provide direct financial assistance to individual UCC clergy and lay church employees– the funds do not support programs or institutions, but people. With your continued generosity, more individuals will receive the support of the Church in their time of need.
† MONTHLY PENSION SUPPLEMENTATION for 448 lower-income retired UCC clergy and lay employees. Our retired clergy and lay employees rely on this income supplementation for basic needs such as food, utilities, and living and medical expenses. Funds to meet this need come from three sources: the Christmas Fund Offering, Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM), and the Ministerial Assistance Fund. The amount of pension supplementation totaled $1,507,787 in 2016.
† QUARTERLY HEALTH PREMIUM SUPPLEMENTS for 216 lower-income retired UCC clergy and lay employees. These funds subsidize premiums for the UCC “Medicare Supplement Plan with ℞” so that individuals can afford and receive quality health care. In 2016, assistance totaled $487,338.
† CHRISTMAS “THANK YOU" GIFT CHECKS given to 503 retired UCC clergy and lay employees. This special gift at Christmas time reminds these Veterans of the Cross that they have not been forgotten and that the Church is grateful for their service. Gifts totaled $233,800 in 2016.
† EMERGENCY GRANTS for 50 active/retired UCC clergy and lay employees. Sometimes those who serve the Church need our help. Emergency funds are available to assist in covering costs that arise unexpectedly– for example, large medical expenses, or home damage resulting from natural disasters. Emergency assistance in 2016 totaled $90,927.
And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
for He has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is His name.
His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation.
He has shown strength with his arm;
He has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of His mercy,
according to the promise He made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”
- Luke 1: 46b – 55, “The Magnificat”
Words of a resident of Nazareth, in what is now the West Bank region of Palestine. I hope you find these words timely, as I do.
I also strongly recommend to your attention, in light of recent developments in international politics, John 4:19-24.