January 1, 2011

Dear Church Family and Friends,

Wow, what a year it’s been for The Cove!

We received notice from our landlady, Mrs. Jean Schulz in January.

We were received into the PCUSA as a “church in good standing” on June 13th.

We received approval to purchase a building on 4.37 acres of land in September.

We received $383,000 in pledges for our Grow Something New campaign by the end of December

In the midst of all this receiving, I simply forgot to send our annual stewardship letter and pledge card until now. At The Cove, we don't emphasize money very much, but the way we use the resources God entrusts to us is a big part of discipleship. Good stewardship grows out of our desire to invest in what God is doing in this world and in our lives.

The reason for this letter is to ask you to pause and consider how you will invest the financial resources you have been blessed with. Please take a moment’s time and make a plan for this year that includes the “cause of Christ” in your spending priorities.

As you consider, here are some things to keep in mind about The Cove and the financial needs of our ministry:

• Our church does not have "dues." Anyone is welcome to participate regardless of how much or little you may contribute.

• Our church depends completely on what you voluntarily give and on the support of the denomination.

• I practice and I believe in the concept of the tithe (giving 10% of one's pre-tax income for the sake of God's purposes in our community and in the world).

• Jesus taught us that financial generosity is a spiritual issue, both revealing and affecting one's spiritual condition.

• We don’t base our budget on pledges. This pledge is simply your commitment to God and to yourself. It is a spiritual discipline. If you choose to make a pledge you will receive quarterly statements to help you keep track of your progress.

• We keep pledges and all financial information strictly confidential. Only the treasurer and the money counters ever see your checks or pledge information. The pastor never sees it.

We’re on a spiritual mission in this world, and everything we do has an impact on the world to come (Ecclesiastes 12: 14). At The Cove, we say our mission is to experience God more fully, know Christ more deeply, follow the Spirit more closely and love others more! My hope and expectation is that every cent you donate to The Cove would go to accomplish our mission, as directly as possible.

In 2011, our budget is balanced at $304,000. That came about as the result of a lot of hard work, good accounting practices and increased commitment by your church elders. We entered the year trusting God to increase congregational giving by 17%, from $183,000 to $208,000. That’s a $25,000 increase all of which has already been underwritten by the elders. I’m proud of that fact. It means that we aren’t trolling about for money, but we are free to do the ministry God has entrusted us with.

On Sunday, February 20th, 2011, we will distribute pledge cards and packets to everyone at our congregational meeting. If you desire your pledge amount to appear on your financial statement in order to compare your actual giving to your pledged amount, then, please sign and return the card. If your desire is to keep your pledge commitment between you and God, then return your pledge card unsigned. If you are unable to be in worship that day, simply mail in an envelope with your pledge enclosed by the end of February. Whether your card is signed or anonymous, your pledge and giving will be processed confidentially (by only our Financial Coordinator and/or Church Treasurer). You may contact Paul Nuss, Elder, if you have any questions.

Giving is an investment. May your investment pay you rich dividends of joy, hope, peace and purpose in the coming year.

Warmly in Christ,

Rev. Jeff Johnson