This Sunday, December 3, marks two beginnings:
- The season of Advent when we prepare to more fully receive the love and lordship of Jesus in our lives.
- The recognition of Union as a new church independent of University Presbyterian Church with whom we had our origin.
The first means we are beginning a new series, "Slow Christmas: Time to Ponder" and initiating two Advent practices: an Advent calendar for our kids to pray for others around the world and a series of Advent readings, videos and exercises to help us develop the eyes of Christ as we look at and engage the world around us. The family Advent calendars will be available to pick up on Sunday. To receive the Advent readings called 25 Steps toward Justice, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org They also will be posted here.
The second beginning, calls for us to elect a governing body to help us discern steps to live into our vision of being Externally Focused, Internally Alive and Eternally Connected through a deepening communion with Jesus. This means that during Sunday's worship gathering, we will formal elect Studio 3, our current servant leadership team, to this office for the duration of their existing individual terms (one, two or three years).
There will also be an opportunity for you to identify yourself as a part of this local expression of Christ's church known as Union. There is no pressure here--just like we often say during communion, this is between you and God--if you identify as belonging to Christ and see yourself committed to the people and work of Union there will be an opportunity to underscore your commitment by signing a page that will be attached to the charter document.
On one hand, we do not want to make a big deal about this since nothing really changes in terms of what we do or believe. On the other hand, we are the first new church in the Seattle Presbytery in a very long time and there are people who want to be with us on Sunday to welcome us as a new church. So, if there is a touch more formality and a few people you do not recognize on Sunday, consider it an acknowledgement of God's faithfulness in our journey so far and people's excitement about the Union story.
What does change with chartering as new church? Our mission, ministry and financial decisions as a community are no longer subject to approval by UPC. We can create a budget and financial and human resource procedures that better fit our size and style and we will be able to have more timely and accessible financial reports. In short, we can more nimbly respond to God's call to seek the welfare of the city and reveal Christ's grace and truth that other's, as well, may know life and not just life but life abundant.
From a financial perspective chartering brings with it a need to increase our budget to take on the expenses for the services we received from UPC, namely payroll services, informational services and insurance expenses. That is about an 8% increase in our budget. UPC has also functioned as a line of credit for fluctuations in giving throughout the year.
To meet this challenge, we encourage you to set some time aside and consider how God may be calling you to further support Union as we go forward. In addition to increased giving, signing up for regular giving on the Union web page: http://unionchurchseattle.org/give/would be a great support as well. Since we are approaching the end of the year here is the dutiful reminder that all giving received by midnight, December 31st, either at 415 Westlake or on line, can be deducted from this year's taxes.
Your commitment and generosity, combined with God's faithfulness, has brought Union to this new beginning where we can all the more explore what it means to follow Jesus in a world full of changing ways but still in need of the one called The Way. Thank you for the gift of journeying together.
James B. and Renée
Externally Focused+Internally Alive+Eternally Connected
What does the Lord require of you
but to do justice, and to love kindness,
and to walk humbly with your God? Micah 6:8