Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ:
Grace and Peace to you from our Lord Jesus Christ! I trust you are rejoicing in this blessed season of expectancy.
The news that the National Bureau of Economic Research announced on Monday that the United States has been in an economic recession for about a year comes as no surprise to us. We have seen and felt the pain that the current economic conditions have had on every aspect of our lives. The only reassurance in which we can genuinely trust is found in the same words we turn to for reassurance throughout all other times in our lives, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear.” (Ps. 46:1-2) It is in times of great stress and uncertainty that we need to center our thoughts around the One that is in charge and the One who has all things under control.
However difficult, we must remind ourselves of the covenant we have with God, our Provider; and, the trust he has placed in us to be faithful in all times. Remember, hope is the spirit that binds us together as people of faith – hope in a faithful God and a commitment to instill that same hope in others. Our North Carolina Annual Conference maintains an optimistic outlook throughout these trying economic times and will monitor closely any condition that will need our special attention as we move forward in the vision of this conference. We maintain a firm conviction that our churches will rise up in faithfulness to the work God has laid out for us to do.
We are thankful for the response we are receiving on apportioned giving from all churches! And, we continue to encourage faithful commitments to these first mile givings. In a world facing these economic challenges, there are tremendous opportunities for ministry as we reach out to those around us who are searching for meaning in their struggles. Our connectional giving allows our denomination to continue to reach out to those searching and to show them The Way to real peace!
As we live into this Advent season, may we all take time to remember how truly blessed we are as people of faith – and share freely out of His generosity! May we pray incessantly for those searching for that hope and comfort that is so desperately needed in their lives. Finally, know that you are in our prayers as you lead your people to “look up” in this wonderful season of expectancy! May hope, love, joy and peace light the way for us!
P.S. – “Indeed, you will receive a full measure, a generous helping, poured into your hands, All that you can hold. The measure you use for others is the one that God will use for you.” (Luke 6:38)