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We Have Much to be Thankful for

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." [Jeremiah 29:11 NIV]

This past Sunday we were blessed to have the new Bishop of the Florida Conference, Tom Berlin join us at our 8:15am and 9:45am services. Bishop Berlin shared a message of hope and enthusiasm for the future of the United Methodist Church and St. Andrew’s UMC. At one point in the contemporary service Bishop Berlin made an observation about our church by saying, “You have all the elements of what vital churches do and have.” We should feel encouraged and gratified by his statement.

We do have much to be thankful for at St. Andrew’s. First, the Bishop only visited 6 churches in the district that includes about 80 churches. We should feel honored that that we were one of the “chosen” ones. Next, I wanted to share some items from our year-end report from 2022 that we should celebrate.

  • Our in-person attendance for our Sunday Services increased by 33% from the previous year, which means people are coming back to church. Our online viewership did decrease from the previous year, as expected as people return to church. However, we are addressing this by expanding David Moscrip’s role to Creative Director, with one of his focuses being on enhancing our livestream services.

  • Kids Ministry on Sunday morning averaged 34 kids in 2022.

  • Sunday Night Youth has been averaging 30 in the past year.

  • The number of individuals baptized in 2022 doubled as compared to those baptized in 2021.

  • The total number of persons participating in Christian formation groups was a whopping 504 for 2022, an increase of 27% from the previous year.

  • The number of participants in VBS in 2022 increased 41% from 2021.

  • In regard to our financial situation, it started out to be a dismal year in 2022 with a shortcoming of $48,000 projected at the end of the year. However, giving to the church rallied and expenses were held in check so that we ended up having a surplus of $7500 at year’s end.

  • On top of all this, a total of $98,108 was given in 2022 to the Imagining More campaign.

Plus, 2023 is starting out ever so encouraging. Our in-person attendance for the past two Sundays has been 362 and 354 attendees respectively. Compare that to our average weekly attendance in 2022 of 310. Moreover, we have 15 persons in our first new member class of 2023 (20 persons counting children.) That is the most we have had since the pandemic. And at the end of January, the church was in the black financially to the tune of almost $20,000.

We have much to be thankful for and we should consider ourselves blessed to be a part of St. Andrew’s UMC, a healthy and vital church. We can be reassured of God’s promise to prosper us and give us hope and a future.


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