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Monday, January 13, 2014

"Business Meeting" Of A Very Small Church

This is us at our last Easter breakfast, also held at Vlasits' Lodge

Family of Hope House Church is likely the smallest congregation in Virginia Mennonite Conference, with an attendance of around 15, a living room size group. Yesterday 16 of us gathered for our usual 4 pm worship and meal and for our annual "business meeting". The setting was the home of members Guy and Margie Vlasits' Old Massanutten Lodge Bed and Breakfast, one of our frequent meeting places.

With an annual budget of only $18,000, our yearly business meetings are simple affairs, usually dealing with how to disperse money we have left over after meeting our fair share of support for denominational and conference agencies and other of our favorite charities. Here are the approximate percentages of where our 2013 giving went:

0%    salaries
0%    utilities, repairs and loan payments for church real estate
10%  printing, guest speakers, special congregational events
10%  mutual aid for our own members
40%  conference and denominational agencies (including $2000 for MCC world relief)
40%  other local and worldwide causes (People Helping People, Ethiopian Meserete Christos College, etc.)

This year we had enough "surplus" to designate, in the last category, an additional $2000 to help provide scholarship help for international students in EMU's Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, plus $500 for Open Doors (thermal shelter formerly known as HARTS).

The group decided to give the above $2000 scholarship gift in memory of Doyeon Ki, the 21-year-old from Korea who tragically lost her life January 1 just before enrolling at EMU.

I know the above dollar amounts are tiny in comparison to most congregational budgets. But I feel blessed by the portion of our giving that can go for other than our own expenses. After all, our real church business is not about what we do together on Sundays, but what we are about as followers of Jesus the rest of the week.

Here's a link to our church blog site and this one for a post in praise of keeping church simple.
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