It was announced in a Family Chat on January 6/7 that we have accepted the resignation of Cory McKenna from our staff team as of December, 2017.
Cory senses an increased press by God to be fully devoted to his calling as an equipping evangelist. However, the role we have had him in allocated about 60-70% of his time to evangelism and compassion ministries, but the other 30-40% to general pastoral duties.
He requested full-time hours for evangelism and compassion as well as the ability to be away more weekends a year to help equip believers at other churches in the area.
We love and affirm Cory’s calling, but this was out of sync with our needs as a congregation, and with all the volunteers he has trained up, we do not see a full-time role in the evangelism and compassion areas as viable.
Cory will stay on staff through the end of the ministry season, in the spring.
Although we did not want Cory to resign as we love him and his family and they us, we believe this is God’s leading for them as well as for our ministry. We are very thankful for his many years of faithful service as God has used Cory to bless and grow our congregation.
We ended 2017 with actual donations to our general fund of around $1.7M. Our budget was $1.675M. We are grateful for God’s provision and working in the hearts of our people to help us meet our budget.
In addition, throughout 2017, we received generous giving towards our growth fund, and will use this to continue to pay down our mortgage. We plan to communicate details on the status of our mortgage and the remaining balance this spring.
We are also thankful to report that through your generous giving, we received $33,644 towards our Christmas Offering. The majority of these funds will be used to support Safe Families, with the remainder going to Harvest churches in the Caribbean, as well as to our Harvest Market.
Tax receipts for 2017 will be available mid-February. Please remember that photo ID is required to pick up your receipt. If you would like your receipt emailed, please contact email@example.com.
Our work on the feasibility of an expansion to our current location is continuing. We are getting close to firm plans to price out, however, our next step is to meet with City Hall and see if there are any requirements which would hinder the possibility of an expansion. For example, we may need to have raised islands in our parking lot, which would cost us parking spaces, and therefore render an expansion to our building unlikely.
We are still looking to sell our property on Colonel Talbot, and have had a few developers express interest. Other than an offer which was very low, no other firm offers have been made.
Please pray for meetings at City Hall, as well as the sale of our property on Colonel Talbot.
Harvest Kids Update
Our elders are very thankful for the ongoing growth in young families attending our church. This has been very encouraging to see, but has also put strain on our existing pool of volunteers in our Kids Ministry.
We have 232 volunteers serving over our 12 services a month, serving 326 children and 170 families who are blessed by this ministry. Even with this many volunteers, we are about 20-25 short of our required number to safely and properly care for your children. This number changes constantly through the seasons, especially when we lose our university students in the spring.
After many efforts to recruit volunteers, and still falling significantly short on the number needed to provide the required supervision and care of children in our weekend services, our elders have decided that at least one parent of families using this ministry will be expected to serve a minimum of once a month.
Although this may be difficult for some, it is our belief that this will be a blessing to you and your children, as you show them what it is to Worship, Walk, and Work for Christ.
Therefore, if at least one parent from your family is not currently engaged as a volunteer in children’s ministry, please sign up to serve once a month to help alleviate the shortfall we have in volunteers in this important ministry.
For those of you serving who do not have kids in this ministry, THANK YOU, as your continued service is so vital to this ministry.
Church Planting Update
We have had the privilege to help with planting in Nepal, and are excited to see a dozen Harvest churches in that needy country.
We are excited to be partnered with and helping to support and train the first Harvest in Cuba in Holguin. Please be praying for pastor Raphael and his family and church.
We are praying about partnering with and supporting a church plant in Belize City, Belize with pastor Pedro. Pedro is the principal of a residential Christian high school and is in the process of handing over leadership of that school so he can come for training and then plant a church. Be praying for him and us as we pursue this possibility in 2018/19.
We also have committed to help coach and partner with a pastor, Adrian Martinez, to plant the first Harvest in Australia, located in Melbourne. Adrian was trained this fall in Chicago, and was with us for a weekend in October and again in December. Adrian has returned to Australia to work with the core group he already has in place and launch a new church late this summer. We also have a small team who will be traveling to Australia this spring to spend some time with Adrian and his core group, getting them ready to launch.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, please join our elders, who have been praying about planting a church locally, somewhere within an hour of London. By God’s grace, we have become a bit of a regional church, with people driving from all directions, but many long distances. We are seeking the Lord if He would have us plant another Harvest somewhere around London within the next two to three years.