Connections 2021: Stewardship Effort

Connections 2021: Stewardship Effort
 
For complete text of Connections 2021, please read below.
For videos, please visit Ark and Dove on youtube.

Discipleship Ministry
 
Every year around this time the session at Ark and Dove begins to contemplate how God is working in and through us and what we as a church would like to accomplish in the coming year and beyond. Our long-range planning team has also given us some valuable insight into what our priorities are, as a congregation, and in what areas we would like to see growth. An important and necessary element of this process is considering what our financial needs will be to bring these dreams to fruition. Twenty-twenty has proven to be a challenging year for all of us, with all of the difficulties associated with a pandemic, social unrest, and a contentious election season. As we face so much uncertainty and divisiveness, we would like to focus on how our mission and ministries at Ark and Dove bring us together in authentic community and meaningful relationships, both within our church and our larger community. As such, our theme for this year’s stewardship effort is connections. My family attended Ark and Dove about eight years ago, and when we had the opportunity to return to the area we were so excited to reconnect at this church.
 
Our connections here at Ark and Dove form the heart of our mission and ministry. We are a community of disciples living life together and becoming all that God created us to be. It is our shared identity in Christ and our shared vision of God’s love for all people that informs and encourages all of our efforts to love, support, and care for each other and our world.   
 
What we would like to do over the course of the next eight weeks, leading up to Dedication Sunday, on November 15, is to highlight all of the amazing ministries at our church, as well as the many opportunities the ministries continually provide us with, in order to form meaningful connections with each other and our community. Each Sunday we’ll hear from a different elder from each of the seven ministries, as well as the moderator of deacons. These videos will give each church leader the occasion to share the impact of their ministries, the vision for their growth, as well as the financial needs of each ministry to carry out and fulfill its work. We will have the opportunity to see how our contributions support these efforts and make a positive impact in the lives of our members and community. After we’ve heard from each church leader, the stewardship team is inviting us to prayerfully consider making a pledged commitment to Ark and Dove or, if you already do so, consider increasing your pledge by 1% of household income. Pledge cards will be mailed to each member along with our stewardship brochure (these will also be available on the website). The good news is, despite the challenges of this year, our congregation has continually stepped up and not only fulfilled our pledged commitments at record levels, but also contributed over $20,000 in designated funds for livestreaming and Samaritans Today. In fact, for the first time ever in the history of Ark and Dove, pledged giving is ahead, and we are on the path to finishing the year on budget. This is a testament to our shared commitment to each other and in carrying God’s dream into the world. For those of you who give via EFT, we are deeply appreciative of your regular commitment and invite you to consider confirming your generosity with a pledge card this year. We are sincerely thankful for the financial support of the congregation and so excited to think about how much more we can accomplish if each step up our giving by 1% of household income. This will make a significant impact in helping us properly fund all our ministries.
 
Discipleship Ministry
 
The Discipleship Ministry’s guiding purpose is to create opportunities for growth and connection within the church that reaches beyond our doors throughout all our ministries. The goal is to build the foundations: to help equip the congregation for ministry and leadership. This is accomplished through our Equipping the Saints classes that provide the congregation with the tools, knowledge, and experience necessary to confidently lead cohesive ministries and build pathways for outreach and connections. The discipleship ministry is also responsible for providing various stewardship classes and efforts that offer the congregation opportunities to grow in faithful management and giving of our time, talents, and treasures. The discipleship ministry creates the space to build the kind of authentic connections that can spur us on to greater development and to be more Christ-like in every area of our lives and ministries.
 
In 2021 and beyond, the discipleship ministry would like to continue to offer these classes on leadership development as they are such an important part in growing in our faith and ministry. We’d also like to expand on that with more classes that offer ongoing support for our leaders in their respective ministries, as well as stewardship classes and maybe even a guest speaker that can help keep us all challenged and engaged in year-round faithful stewardship of our resources.
 
In order to fulfill this ministry, there are some budgetary needs. Classes often utilize pastoral and lay leader knowledge, but also sometimes include the use of a variety of quality educational materials, occasionally hiring a guest speaker, and pre/post pandemic always includes a shared meal. There are also administrative needs such as paper/postage associated with carrying out the work of any ministry. All in all, the discipleship ministry is asking for a budget of $2,000 for the year of 2021. When you make a pledged commitment to the overall Ark and Dove operating budget, you are helping to fund not only the discipleship ministry, but each of the ministries at our church. Your contributions support the efforts of our mission and ministries and makes a positive impact in the lives of our members and our community. Please prayerfully consider making a pledged commitment or even increasing your pledged commitment by 1% of household income this November.

For a video, please tap here.
 
Thank you!    
Tricia Gray
Discipleship Elder

Board of Deacons

One of the functions of a church is to care for its members.  In my role as a Deacon I have heard many people give thanks for the care and support that they have received from the church in times of great sadness and in times of great joy. This support seems especially relevant while we are in the midst of a pandemic.  Supporting and caring for members and friends of the church does not happen by accident and cannot be done solely by the Pastors.  This is why Ark and Dove has the Board of Deacons.

Each Deacon reaches out to their group of members and friends of Ark and Dove through calls, emails, cards, meals and visits (when appropriate) in response to life events and sometimes (especially lately) just because. We miss seeing people in worship and at fellowship events; however, we are working hard to maintain connections in other ways.
 
As the Moderator of Deacons, I know how hard the Deacons have been working to care for the congregation. I would like to be able to purchase some Ark and Dove notecards that the Deacons can use when they send handwritten messages.  It is nice to get something other than bills or junk in the mail!  Currently, the Deacons purchase the cards they send from their own funds.  

As many of you know the Deacons provide meals to support members after the birth of a baby, an illness or injury, and after a death.  Sometimes events are anticipated and meals can be planned; however, many times a hot meal is needed quickly for a family. Currently, when this happens the cost is often absorbed by individual deacons.

At this time, we do not have a budget for the cards or the meals. Aspirationally, I would like to provide the money for these items. I would estimate that the cards would be about $200 and the meals another $300 or so a year.

The Deacons have a separate fund to help members who are experiencing financial hardship.  Most requests come through our Pastors and the circumstances are explained to the Moderator of Deacons without divulging the name of the recipient or identifying information. Yearly there is a special offering for the Deacon's Fund and sometimes members and friends are moved to make a donation to the fund at other times.  

A newer resource for our congregation is Stephen Ministry, which provides ongoing, one-on-one caring relationships to help members and friends of Ark and Dove who are facing crises or life difficulties.  Stephen Ministers and leaders are required to participate in continuing training through the larger Stephen Ministry organization. These requirements involve purchasing materials and (for the leaders) attending classes. To provide support for this important ministry, I am asking for $2500 to be added to the budget for the upcoming year for Stephen Minister training. Therefore, the Deacons total budget request is $3,000. The 2021 Connections stewardship team is inviting each family to prayerfully consider increasing their pledge by 1% of household income. This will go a long way in properly funding all our ministry and mission efforts.    

I have had the honor to serve multiple 3-year terms as a Deacon at Ark and Dove. During that time, I have seen first-hand how the Board nurtures and supports the congregation. I hope through your giving to the Mission and Ministry Fund you will support the Deacons and help them in the important work that they do.


For a video, please tap here.

Thank you!    
Cathy Debus
Moderator of Deacons

 
 


Christian Education Ministry

 

 

The Christian Education Ministry covers all ages from nursery to adult education.  We have a large number of educational opportunities at Ark and Dove Presbyterian and the congregation is very engaged in these opportunities.  In non-pandemic times, programs include creating a welcoming and loving space for newborns and infants in the nursery, pre-K Sunday School, Godly Play for elementary aged kids, Middle School Sunday School, High School Sunday School, our midweek youth program, Logos for pre K through 8th grade, youth group for High School, Vacation Bible School, Summer Sunday School, Summer youth trips (mission and Gen On), adult bible studies, adult book studies and adult classes.  We have fantastic lay leaders who coordinate with our pastors on adult education, Sunday School, Vacation Bible School, Logos and youth groups.  

 

The Christian Education budget is currently $2,650.  Much of this is spent on educational supplies ($500), curriculum ($750), youth bibles ($100), paying outside speakers ($1000) and training and supplies for Godly Play teachers ($300).  Sometimes we use it all but this year, we have not bought as many supplies and some costs have been shifted to paying for things like extra zoom accounts for summer bible club and supplies for individual Godly Play work bags for each child.  While things shifted this year, there is always a need for curriculum, craft supplies, youth bibles etc. It is also great to have the opportunity to bring in outside speakers for adult and youth education.

 

The current pace of our educational offerings is unsustainable without additional volunteers who are both willing and trained to independently lead.  If we continue our current programs, we will always need a Logos Director and Co-Director, Godly Play coordinator, High School Youth Leader, Middle School Youth Leader, Sunday School Teachers, Vacation Bible School Director, Adult Education Coordinator and Summer Mission/Trips Coordinator.  Some of the roles are filled by the congregation but many are vacant.  When there is a vacancy, our pastors fill the vacancies. When our pastors fill these vacancies, they are unable to fulfill other duties.

 

If we want to continue at the current pace of Christian Education operations, we either need to fill these vacancies with trained leaders from the congregation or add additional paid staff. One option is to increase our budget to provide both in-house and external training for leaders.  Additional training is needed for members who are interested in facilitating adult bible studies, book studies, Godly Play, Logos, and Sunday School. With an increase in giving of 1% of household income, Christian Education Ministry could receive an additional $2000 to provide essential training to our leaders. With well-trained leaders, pastors will be freed up to develop new offerings and attend to other needs such as outreach and connections, pastoral care and sermon writing. The other option is to hire a year-round part-time staff person to help with adult educational offerings and with the many children’s programs and youth groups. This would likely be a part-time position to start, which would require in the ballpark of $18,000 to $36,000 in additional funding depending on whether we sought an intern ($18,000) or a part-time professional ($25,000 to $36,000 depending on education level).  Ideally, we would build our programs first with congregational leaders then hand them off to paid staff.

 

When asked to dream big, I think adding training for leaders and/or additional staff to lighten the load and help Ark and Dove continue their awesome educational offerings, would be an excellent goal.     

 

To view the video, please click here



Thank you!
Julie Devers
Christian Education Elder
 


Mission Ministry


 

The mission ministry at Ark and Dove church believes in taking action to help our fellow human beings.  Through our mission ministry we connect members with opportunities to impact lives in our community and around the world.  Within this budget we financially support:


Winter Relief

In coordination with the Arundel House of Hope, Ark and Dove provides a safe, warm place to sleep 25 men for one week during the winter.  This is the largest mission project our church undertakes during the year. In addition, we provide financial support to the Arundel House of Hope.

 

Light House Prevention Center

The light house is a homeless prevention center.  They rebuild lives by providing shelter and services to prevent homelessness and empower people as they transition toward employment, housing and self-sufficiency. Many volunteer opportunities are available as well as financial support.

 

Back to school Program

This program is a partnership with AAC public schools and the Department of Social Services by providing backpacks and school supplies for elementary school students in West County.

 

Food Bank

We support food banks for the Kingdom Celebration Center and the Christian Assistance Program (CAP). The pantries typically serve about 150 families a week. In addition to the food that is donated, a team shops for fresh food on a weekly basis and delivers to the food pantry.

 

Holiday Sharing

Holiday sharing works in partnership with the Department of Social Services. Each year Ark and Dove participants provide a clothing item or gift for about 80 children for West County families. When the number exceeds 80 children individual members cover the cost out of their own expenses.

 

Antiracism and Social Equity

Ark and Dove supports the promotion of racial justice and social equity in the world. Activities have included workshops, forums, documentaries and book studies. More funds are needed to support these important activities by buying books for the book studies, fees for workshops, and compensation for guest speakers at forums, as well expanding funds for needs in our community as expressed by organizations of color, i.e. NAACP

 

The Center of Baltimore

The Center connects our middle school and younger high school students to make a positive impact to the local community and to strengthen one’s personal faith journey through action. This year our youth assisted in a summer reading program.

 

Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake

As a covenant church of Habitat for Humanity of the Chesapeake we provide donations of money, and labor for work crews.

 

Refugee Mentoring Ministry

This ministry works to mentor a refugee family to become better integrated into American Culture through English language practices, cultural exchange and support from church members. Members of this team use their own money to purchase books, and pay for cultural events. This year we were able to provide rent assistance for 6 months to a family whose breadwinner was out of work due a back injury.  This was funded through a special donation. It would be great to have more funds available so volunteers do not have to spend their own money.  Additional funds are also needed to support organizations that support immigration efforts.

 

ACT, Anne Arundel Connecting Together

ACT is a strictly non-partisan organization of 23 faith and community-based institutions who are working together to build community power so that people's voices are represented, and solutions presented, where decisions are made. Currently ACT is being funded through a Special Offering. It would be great if this important organization could be fully supported in the operating budget. We are requesting $5,00.00 for ACT

 

Mission Co-Workers

Karla Koll, serves the Latin America Biblical University Costa Rica, this is a PCUSA mission partner that has been training church leaders throughout Latin America.   Eliane Menezes, leads the Protestant Center for Pastoral Studies in Central America (CEDEPCA) in Guatemala.

 

I sincerely want to thank you for all the support you have provided for the many mission opportunities of Ark and Dove.

 

Your mission team has been diligently working on plans for next year’s mission projects based on input from you. The Church Assessment Tool showed that you want to continue to support expanding outreach ministries that provide direct services to those living on the margins of society (eg. homeless, immigrants and transient persons.)

 

We all know the joy that comes from giving and reaching out and serving the community. You have shown this by your giving of yourself and your support to

the various missions at Ark and Dove. You can see the tremendous and varied work that the mission team is involved in. This year we collected three special offering for the food pantry, a refugee family, and the Samaritans Today fund totaling approximately $25,000.00.  You have truly made a difference in the lives of many. Wouldn’t it be nice if we did not have to depend on special offerings and we supported these programs with a contingency fund for needs that always come up?  Our current mission budget is underfunded by $35,000. We ultimately would like the mission budget to be $55,000. This increase is critical to expand new missions and add ongoing support to our existing mission ministries.

 

The 2021 Connections stewardship team is asking, in general that each family prayerfully consider increasing their pledge by 1% of household income. This will go a long way in properly funding all our mission and ministry effort. Thank you.
 
To view the video, please click here

Thank you!
Cheryl Schafer
csscas@verizon.net

 


Outreach and Connections Ministry


The Outreach and Connections Ministry’s purpose is to seize opportunities to reach out to our congregation and community to share our love for God and to provide ways to connect with each other!  Our goal is to help our members feel they are a part of one big happy family in Christ at Ark and Dove, and to expand that family to include new members from our area!
 

Outreach- We believe that God is doing something unique in and through Ark and Dove. As the recent congregational survey has shown, we want to invite more people into this special thing God is doing with us. We continuously explore different ways to get our name and vision into our surrounding county. In the past we have done mailings, dropped off mugs, shown up at demonstrations and community events, but we intend to do more. We are proud of the worship and programs of Ark and Dove and we want more people to know about them. When we do receive new visitors and guests, we do our best to greet them and support them with new member information meetings and breakfasts.  We want to extend a warm welcome to everyone!
 

Connections- We try to host large fellowship events throughout the year like the Shrove Tuesday Pancake Dinner, the Church Picnic, and our Christmas Holiday event so we can meet and mingle.  We host Sunday Fellowship after service each week for camaraderie. We schedule different social groups like our Parents Group, Happy Seniors, and Men’s Voyagers to build deeper relationships with each other.  We even have a Crafting Group now! We try to help you find a way to get more involved in our ministries and church happenings by offering a Time and Talents Survey and posting an organizational chart for a visual of all the teams that work and play behind the scenes of our church.  We’re also trying to develop an updated church directory so that you can place a name with a face.  We want you to make connections!

 

In 2021 and beyond, the Outreach and Connections Ministry would like to make up for lost time and host all sorts of gatherings and events so that we may reconnect after so much time apart!  We’d like to expand our outreach to include mailers to close-by neighborhoods like the new Two Rivers development down the road.  We also want to partake in some online advertising now that we are more virtual. And, it would be super if we could hire a person to manage our Facebook page and perhaps a Twitter account. 

 

In order to fulfill the vision for this ministry, during and after pandemic times, our budgetary needs are approximately $6,000 per year. According to the CAT survey, a primary priority of the congregation is to expand our outreach in order to invite new people into the life of our church.  To do that, we must put together up-to-date brochures, mailings, gift items, and online advertising. We will also need to pay for postage and entrance or booth fees to certain community gatherings.  It would be ideal to hire someone to manage our social media and such and that cost would be accounted for here. This money would also help cover food, supplies, and new technology for social events and membership classes.  In addition, we want to be able to offer free childcare to our members when needed and so there is a need for that funding too.
 

Please prayerfully consider increasing your pledge by 1% of household income to help our church and church family grow and flourish.  I hope you will feel connected and a part of something special in doing so.

Click here for the video!

Thank you!
Nicole Howe

nicolehowe123@gmail.com


Worship Ministry

 

During this year’s stewardship effort, each ministry has been presenting our requested budgets for next year, and we’ve been asked to DREAM BIG. In dreaming big, I realize that in many ways, my dreams for worship have come true. Let me explain- we have had to improvise a completely new worship service and delivery method, with one week, or one day, or 10 minutes notice. You have all been along on this journey, from mid-March when we closed the sanctuary on a Wednesday, to Easter when we crashed at about 9:40 AM, to Sept 26 when Jon had to preach from home, some on pre-recorded video, some live. Despite these major challenges, our worship services have reminded me weekly that God is walking with me, and that a bunch of you are too, even if I can’t see you. Our worship services have opened my eyes to parts of our community and world that I can’t see- especially these days. Watching worship on YouTube at home makes me feel part of a community that would rather be together physically, but is still together in spirit, throughout this pandemic and throughout the years, we can and will weather any storm. My dreams have been fulfilled by finding the amazing talents and generosity of members of the congregation, both in sharing their technical expertise, finding creative ways to do church at a distance, and funding new equipment and services that let us deliver this excellent worship experience. Now I want to keep going with this dream, to keep this great new worship experience going, through when we are transitioning to in-person worship, to fully in-person and still live streaming for a whole new membership.
 

What does this DREAM BIG budget look like? We will need to get some dedicated tech staff in house soon, to relieve the work load of volunteers and staff who have stepped up so far, but at a level that is not sustainable. A part time live tech professional will be able to prepare music videos, lay reader or pastor videos, help run all the equipment on Sunday mornings including ability to real time diagnose problems; and apply these skills to all the other ministries. Technically this is an Admin ministry budget item, but I encourage us to support it. Our piano is due for a major overhaul, including the hammers and action- much more than the regular tuning (4,490). And yes, an overhaul is way less expensive than purchasing a new, equivalent piano (I asked). We hope to save up over 2 years to fund a major overhaul. We still need special guest musicians to bring the quality of music we want on special days and holidays, and we need to keep up our licenses and music library (6,700). I am hoping to enhance our live stream worship services with some material objects we can send to your homes, such as an Advent wreath, and a piece of home décor for Lent (2,000). Overall, the worship ministry is requesting 13,190 for our 2021 budget.
 

Our Long-Range Plans have consistently revealed that our members love our worship services, especially the pastors and the music. It takes many people and resources to deliver high quality, meaningful, consistent services, and our members have generously filled these needs. We are not using volunteers (ushers, children’s choirs, Communion Prep, Worship-scape prep) like we normally do, but we have created new volunteer opportunities with Live Streaming (editing and tech booth). We similarly have somewhat different budget needs for live streaming- copyright licenses to include video and images, and of course a tech professional. The 2021 Connections Stewardship Team and Session is asking in general that each of us prayerfully consider increasing our pledges by 1% of household income. This will help us properly fund all our mission and ministry efforts. Thank you for your continued support, and please keep it coming!
 

Click to view the video

Thank you!
Ellen Makar
eemakar@aol.com