Sermon: Cindy Dawson
Hebrews 6:19 – 7:10

WOMEN’S MINISTRY will be hosting our annual Christmas party and cookie exchange on Thursday, December 14th from 7 – 9 p.m. at the home of Beth Stanfield. Join us for a time of fellowship with other women, festive refreshments, and a Christmas devotional to center us around the real meaning of Christmas. Please bring 2-3 dozen of your favorite Christmas cookies. We will put together tins of cookies – some for you and some to share with others in our community. Please contact Beth Stanfield if you have any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!!!

THE MISSIONS QUILT that is on display in the Coffee Café is being raffled to raise funds for missions. The winner will be drawn after the service on December 10th in the Coffee Cafe. Tickets will be available until before the service on December 10th. You do not have to be present to win! Thanks to the ladies of the Bee Pieceful Quilt group for their donation, and thank you to those of you who are helping out our missions fund by purchasing a $10 ticket. You can pick up tickets from now through mid-December, or purchase them online at https://goo.gl/forms/N9NH1E6CcfFGWGs92. 

DO YOU SHOP ON AMAZON? If so, please consider designating Friendswood Friends Church as your preferred charity through the “Amazon Smile” Program, and Amazon will donate .5% of your total purchase amount to the church at no extra cost to you.  You can do this by following this link: https://smile.amazon.com/ch/74-1300892 or sign up for Amazon Smile and look for Friendswood Friends Church on the list of eligible charities. Once you have designated a charity, you can access Amazon through the website smile.amazon.com instead of amazon.com, and the church will automatically receive your contribution. It’s a simple way to help support the ministries of our church at no cost to you! Contact the church office if you have questions.

THE CHILDREN’S CHRISTMAS WORKSHOP will take place on December 10th from 9 – 11 a.m. Children in preschool through 5th grade will have a Christmas celebration with crafts, games, refreshments and stories. 

SAVE THE DATE:FFC Women’s Retreat: “SERIOUSLY GOD??” Seeking Christ in the midst of every storm, at Camp Tejas in Giddings, TX – February 2nd – 4th 2018.   

JOIN US for our annual Christmas caroling and hayride on Tuesday, December 5th. We will meet for free pizza (donations will be accepted) at 4:30 p.m. in the Coffee Café then load up the hay wagons at 5 p.m. and head out to sing Christmas carols around town & then join in the festivities at the Brown Museum tree lighting event at 7 p.m. Everyone is welcome to participate; but children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Come make some memories and ride over the creeks and through the wood – rain, snow, shine, cold or warm! Please contact Janet Black at 281-482-7821 or janet@friendswoodfriends.org to RSVP for the pizza dinner.

FINANCIAL AND FACILITIES UPDATE: As we approach the end of 2017, the Stewards want to provide information to the congregation about our financial situation. First of all, THANK YOU for your faithfulness in giving to support our church’s ministries throughout the year! Our year-to-date income is at about 96% of the budgeted amount. This is especially encouraging in light of the huge impact that Harvey had on so many of our church families, as well as on our community.

Along with making financial contributions, our congregation has done an incredible job of blessing those impacted by the storm, giving generously of time, labor and encouragement over the past months. It has been a joy to see our church family respond so well to the overwhelming needs around us.

As we begin the budgeting process for 2018, we anticipate coming into December with a slight cash flow surplus. That is great news and gives us hope as we look ahead to some increases to budget requirements for the coming year in the area of staff expenses and repairs to our church facilities, as detailed in the next column.

  • We expect a substantial increase in medical insurance costs for next year. We will also need to make adjustments to budget to cover the salary and benefits package for our pastor of student ministries for the entire year of 2018 (vs. 6 months in 2017). These two items alone will require an increase to the budget of about $30,000.
  • The church sustained some damage during Hurricane Harvey. We expect to be able to cover costs for the damages that were a direct consequence of the storm through our regular budget line items for repairs and with the help of a low-interest disaster loan of $25,000 through the SBA (this loan would be in lieu of some of the funds in our existing line of credit which has already been approved by the congregation; we would simply be taking advantage of the lower interest rate.) Unfortunately, during the demo process, asbestos was discovered in the Chapel and the Education Building.  Costs for remediating the asbestos will be over $100,000, and will involve complete gutting of the Education Building. Significant funds beyond the $100,000 would be required to make these areas usable again. At this point there is no plan in place for how to fund the remediation and repairs.
  • The needed updates to our air conditioning system continue to be deferred. The unit in the Chapel is extremely old and is showing signs of failure. Modifications to the chilled water pipes that service the Worship Center and office area were also recommended some time ago.
  • The Stewards and Coordinators made a recommendation to sell the church parsonage at a called business meeting on November 5th. The recommendation was not approved at that meeting, as several people expressed the desire for some more time for prayer about this matter as well as consideration of options and gathering more information.

Your prayers for wisdom for our church leaders would be appreciated as decisions are made regarding how to move forward in best caring for and using our facilities, and as plans for the 2018 budget begin.