Dear Congregation of EFree,
As we gathered to meet at our last board meeting on August 18th, Pastor Jeremy led us to think about 2 Corinthians 1:20. “For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory.” As we encouraged one another with this word we were reminded to keep our focus on Jesus who brings to us and our neighbours, hope in the transforming power of the gospel.
We are now six months into the upheaval of Covid, and like you, we have felt the uncertainty of the unknown and the stress this creates. As a leadership board we have wrestled with the questions of how we will do ministry effectively, when to re-open worship gathering, will finances remain stable, can we keep ministry personnel productively employed, should we hire during this uncertain time, and many more important questions. We recognize that all decisions and plans that we make must be held with open hands, trusting God for whatever lies ahead, and being ready to make changes when necessary.
As promised at the June annual general meeting we are evaluating ministry options and trying to stay light on our feet. Here are some things the Leadership Board would like to share with you regarding the process we established coming out of our last board meeting.
- EFCL ended last year with a surplus of receipts over expenditures because of faithful giving and responsible spending. This reflects a legacy of trust given to leadership by the congregation and we praise God for it.
- We are evaluating effectiveness and efficiency regarding ministry plans for the next 12 months. It has become obvious that things are not returning to normal anytime soon. Our goal is to live and serve well during this time, which will mean creative restructuring of ministry plans.
- Pastor Geoff has been encouraged to proceed with pre-hiring process for positions included in the accepted budget. The budget passed by our membership in June included money for one new position (executive pastor), and two replacement positions (i.e. staff vacancies needing to be filled.) These new hires are being cautiously evaluated considering current ministry plans under review and our financial responsibility at this time of uncertainty. We are balancing this caution with our responsibility to plan for the future looking to where we want to be, and not “turtling” just because it’s Covid.
- Leadership will continue to evaluate to ensure ministry and fiscal responsibility in these unprecedented times. We are thankful to God for ministry staff that have demonstrated competence in managing a budget and creative ability to do things differently.
- There is a congregational meeting planned for Sunday, October 4th. We will report the results of the ministry evaluation being undertaken and will seek your input in decisions that the Leadership Board needs to make. In the meantime, we would love to hear from you: your testimony of God’s goodness and faithfulness, your hopes and your concerns. We are all in this together. Please send an email to: firstname.lastname@example.org: it will be good to hear from you.
With the Psalmist we affirm that “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble. So we will not fear when earthquakes come and the mountains crumble into the sea.” God’s people have experienced many crumbling mountains and many earthquakes throughout time, but He remains faithful showing us hope and a future.
EFree Leadership Board:
Rich Thiessen, Sheila Friesen, Dwight Fritzler, Geoff Heth, Nick Korver, Tyler Lammertsen, Jeremy Light, Paul Pharo, Mary-Gaye Pinches, Cindy Smith, Blaine Stodolka, Linda Stromsmoe, Ron Wiggers