At the annual congregational meeting in February, we celebrated together many exciting ways God is at work to advance his kingdom through Southwood—in Huntsville, in the Middle East, and many places in between. We are grateful for his gracious provision for our church during the past year, where we added a playground project and a sanctuary lighting project to our regular operating expenses and still had our income exceed our expenses for the year. As a result, we were able to bless some of our mission partners more than anticipated and make some prudent financial plans for the future.
We also at that meeting presented the 2017 budget, which is set at $2,034,766. This year we have more of our staffing positions filled for the whole year and face additional challenges with an aging facility and other ministry opportunities, so the need for faithful giving is significant. The pie chart included here reflects a budget we consider every penny of to be for God’s mission, and you will notice an intentional commitment to increase the percentage of our income that we designate for “Benevolence” (from 10% to 11% this year).
The Session encourages you to take advantage of some great opportunities to engage with each other and our neighbors in the month of March. The Church Family Work Day (Saturday, March 4) will give us an exciting opportunity to learn new ways to engage with a longtime local ministry partner, Lincoln Village Ministry. Our Women’s Retreat (March 24-26) is always a special time of renewing old friendships and making new ones, and you also don’t want to miss this year’s speaker, Melissa Patterson. Sign up today!
Finally, please rejoice with us in the progress Peter Render, our director of youth and families, has made toward his ordination. Peter’s written and oral exams in English Bible, Church History, and Sacraments were approved by Providence Presbytery at their meeting in February. Continue to pray for Peter as he works toward his final two exams in Theology and Book of Church Order to complete his ordination requirements.