A letter of thanks from the Desk of Bishop Mark J. Webb
January 24, 2017 / By Bishop Mark J. Webb
Editor's Note: On the morning of Jan. 24, Bishop Mark J. Webb sent the following letter, expressing sincere thanks to all Upper New York Conference congregations who paid their Ministry Shares and the leaders who have strived to reduce spending, as it has enabled our Conference to pay 100 percent of our General Church apportionments for the first time in the history of the Upper New York Conference.
Dear Sisters and Brothers of the Upper New York Conference,
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ!
As United Methodist followers of Jesus Christ, we claim a rich heritage and an amazing connection. Together we are stronger and able to accomplish a witness for Christ in the world that we could not alone. Stories abound of the ways in which God's grace is offered through the passionate ministry of each and every congregation within The Upper New York Conference and through our connection with United Methodist Christians around the world.
I want you to know of my continual appreciation for your ministry, but specifically I want to say thank you for one expression of that ministry - the commitment to increasing our capacity as it relates to Ministry Share payments. This year, thanks to the leadership of clergy and laity in each of our congregations, we received the highest receipt of Ministry Shares in the history of The Upper New York Conference.
Because of this commitment and through the increased efforts that our Conference Council on Finance & Administration, staff, and other leaders have applied to manage our spending, for the first time in our history, The Upper New York Conference has paid 100 percent of our General Church apportionments. In three years, we have moved from being able to pay only 56 percent of our commitments to the General Church to paying 100 percent. This is an amazing accomplishment! Thanks be to God!
Our giving through Ministry Shares represents one of the ways in which we commit together to mission, ministry and witness. Over this past year, we had to make some painful decisions around spending. We have increased our conversations about our culture of giving. Our work together has brought fruit!
I am grateful for the congregations that have faithfully paid 100 percent of their Ministry Shares year after year. I celebrate the many ways in which congregations responded to the challenge of increasing ministry share payments. I have been blessed by the stories of congregations giving beyond 100 percent to help their sister churches who could not offer their full payment. I am filled with joy as I think about the generosity, sacrifice, and hard work.
We know this work is not complete and God is calling us to continue to find ways to offer the best of what we have been given in every way. Yet, let us look at what God has done! Let us truly celebrate what is possible when we trust, honor, and live our connection with one another.
So again, let me say thank you! Thanks for your commitment to the mission of "making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world." Thanks for your willingness to share the love of Christ by honoring the covenant of Ministry Shares. Thanks for your faithful witness!
It is my joy to share ministry with you. Be assured of my constant prayers for each and every one of you as you continue to shine the light of Jesus Christ!
Mark J. Webb