2024 Stewardship Campaign Brochure
2024 Stewardship Campaign
Sing a New World into Being
Dear friends, Over the past years, faith communities have endured an unfathomable challenge, namely, to survive and ultimately prevail through a global pandemic. The resilience of FPC has been remarkable. While we continue to confront serious public health concerns, rapid changes in our economy, and the warming of our planet, one thing remains abundantly clear: FPC stands, adapts, and thrives in the Durham community. The pandemic taught us that we are made for community. We cannot thrive without it. Together, we experience joy, meaning, and purpose. In 2023, for example: we filled the sanctuary for the ordination of Esther Hethcox to bless her ministry; we drew a record crowd to the all-church picnic on a hot, steamy summer day; and we volunteered regularly at Igelsia Emanuel to bag rice and beans and prepare food boxes for more than 600 families every week! God is calling us to pay attention to the ways we live in this world. Our annual budget supports many missions and ministries while also providing staff leadership and a physical place to worship, gather, and serve. As a church, we respond to the needs around us – for the basics of life (food, clothing, shelter, health care, and education) and for community, equity, justice, wholeness, meaning, and a chance for all to flourish in this world. We also need to be realistic about what we can and cannot do in our current economy. The Session drafted a 2024 Needs Budget that includes difficult reductions to Personnel and to our Service and Mission funding. If we exceed our stewardship goals this year, we can revisit these planned cuts. If we do not meet our goals, we will need to consider additional cuts to Personnel and Service and Mission.
Our theme, Sing a New World into Being, describes a world where God is worshiped, all are welcome, love is taught, our planet is sustained, and justice is served! God’s vision for who and what we can be is much larger than our own! Your stewardship team has set these goals for 2024:
- Meet 2024 Needs Budget request of $1.2 million
- Increase total amount pledged by 10.5% (from new and increased pledges)
- Return to 180 families/persons who make a financial pledge
Service & MissionAs long-time members of First Presbyterian, we find it important to pledge each year and give back in both our finances and time for what God generously has provided us as a family. One of the many reasons is the Service & Mission Committee that Alec & Rachel have been members on. As parents of two delightful kids, we want the world to be a better place for them, but also for everyone else, too. The committee serves a diversity of initiatives, but one of the things that is most important to us is giving back to the community at large. We are extraordinarily proud of FPC’s generous support of a diversity of community groups, ranging from organizations trying to alleviate poverty and homelessness to supporting racial justice and the aging population. The thing we love most about the church is not only the fact that church opens its checkbook but also that it is deeply hands-on and engaged in the many organizations it supports.
One of the non-profits that FPC supports is Iglesia Emanuel food pantry, which serves over 600 families a week in Durham by providing fresh food. We have had the honor of being able to spend some of our Saturdays as a family bagging beans and rice for these families. It allows our children Juliet (9) and Colin (12) also to participate and see that they can make a difference to help the community. We invite you to consider what you can pledge as well for this upcoming year and help us continue to do the good work and mission of the church. ~ Rachel, Alec, Colin, and Juliet Bethune
2023 Global Budget by Function
Number of pledges
2024 Target Numbers
$1.2 million Total Needs Budget 10.5% Required increase to meet Total Needs Budget 180 Total number of pledges
Inclusion & WelcomeThere is no longer Jew or Greek; there is no longer slave or free; there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus. - Galatians 3:28 A faithful church is an inclusive church. We are welcomed as we are, and we come as we are. Here we are “incorporated” into the Church, the Body of Christ. Here is where we can find the heart’s true home and our own unique calling in God’s mission. Our faith community family has been incorporated into this way of life from a variety of circumstances. We are gay, transgender, straight, autistic, progressive, conservative, believers, doubters, big, small, Black, White, well-to-marginally educated, married, divorced, single. Length of membership spans 1 to 68 years. None of us are rich, a few are economically comfortable, and some are down- right poor. Our journeys have included Taoism, Buddhism, Atheism, Agnosticism, Christianity, and “None.” Our Christian forms have included Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Disciples of Christ, Non-denominational, Unitarian, United Methodist, and Baptist.
A particular gift evident at First Presbyterian Church is its exorbitant, radical hospitality. Jesus welcomed the marginalized, the outsider, the poor. The Apostle Paul embraced an even larger range of inclusion. All are welcome. We come as we are, hungry for the experience of God. Then, as we are increasingly incorporated into the Body of Christ, the Community of Christ, and the way of Christ, we discover that we do not remain as we are. Grace has its way with us. As adopted “citizens,” true to the reign of God, we too become radically hospitable. We too become agents of Grace. In that spirit, we encourage you to give generously that this incredible faith community may continue serving God’s mission of rescue, reconciliation, and justice. ~ Pam, Wilson, Candace, Ben, and Penelope Gunn.
Worship & EducationWorship is personal; it is our hearts that are warmed. But worship is also interpersonal. It is personal when John Weicher calls us to confession, but it is interpersonal because it is John who calls us. It is personal when Andy Henry gives us a piece of bread and says, “The bread of life.” But it is interpersonal because it is Andy. Worship is personal when Lesley Curtis moves us by singing “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands,” but it is interpersonal because it is Lesley who sings and not a recording. The Scripture reading is personal because we are the ones who hear, but it is also interpersonal because it is Cordelia Ramont who reads it to us. Not least of all, our call to worship is personal because we are the ones who are called, but it is interpersonal because God first calls us.
And this is the way things are with our offering. It is personal because we are the ones who give, but it is interpersonal because God first loved us. So in giving we praise God, and so we sing the doxology. The benediction is personal, because we are the ones who receive the blessing. But it is also interpersonal because we are blessed by Mindy. And even that is not the end because she also waits to send us on our way with a pastoral hug. Likewise, Christian education is personal, because it is our eyes that are opened to see things in ways we had never seen them before. But it is also an interpersonal interchange, a word spoken to us and a word we speak that evokes a response - words we speak that are heard. Another way to put it is “mutuality.” We are in this enterprise together, and we encourage you to join us in making a pledge. ~ Robert & Jane Brawley
CommunityCommunity was one of the major features that drew us to First Presbyterian Church. When we moved to North Carolina in 2007, we did quite a bit of “church shopping,” visiting a wide variety of churches in the area. After several years seeking a church home, Kristin decided to join FPC in 2012, largely because it had an active and vibrant young adult group. Her parents were a little slower to “take the plunge,” but upon the birth of grandson Dayton in 2014 we knew that we wanted to share our faith journeys as a family unit. We were especially drawn to the inclusive nature of this congregation. It was clear from the beginning that everyone was welcomed and affirmed. Because “it takes a village,” we wanted our village to be filled with interesting and committed Christians who shared our vision for what the world could be. Good community requires open-mindedness, talented leadership, thoughtful vision, and strong connections. FPC is blessed with all of these.
Beyond that, we appreciate the active mission-driven initiatives and spirit of volunteerism that is at the heart of FPC. Although we cherish this for ourselves, we especially love knowing that Dayton will be surrounded by amazing adults and children who will both support and challenge him in the days ahead. It is with grateful hearts for all that God has given us that we consider this year’s pledge to FPC. In that spirit, we encourage you also to give generously so that this incredible faith community at FPC will thrive well into the future. ~ Bruce, Ellie, Kristin, and Dayton Meade