Buenos Días/Good Morning to all Arizona Disciples and friends,
This is the time of year when Disciples around the U.S. usually receive a letter, and often a fancy video, from their Regional Minister encouraging them to give generously to the Christmas Offering. The Christmas Offering is one of six “Special Offerings” collected throughout the year that help fund Disciples ministries. All six are important (see the P.S. for more information), but since 100% of the Christmas Offering goes to fund Regional Ministries, it receives extra attention.
The letter and video usually attempt to educate us all about what Regional Ministry IS. They highlight things like:
- the work of the Regional minister assisting congregations who are in transition and looking for a new pastor
- summer camps for youth
- women’s retreats
- the work of the Commission on Ministry to make sure that Disciples ministers have appropriate credentials and continuing education
- and much more
Well, I hope you are not too disappointed, but I did not make a fancy video about the Arizona Region to offer you this year. Producing a video takes time, and I have chosen to focus my time in other areas – seeking to help congregations looking for pastors, congregations looking for new places to worship, counseling congregations who are re-imagining their ministries, planning events, learning all the aspects of regional ministry, and most importantly getting to know all the pastors and leaders of the region. It has been my privilege to worship with 19 of our 25 congregations in my first 13 weeks and I look forward to worshiping with the other 6 within the next 2 months.
I can assure you, however, that if you make a generous gift to the Christmas Offering we will use your gift faithfully. Most congregations will receive the Christmas Offering this upcoming Sunday, December 15 and the following Sunday, December 22. And in case you are really missing the fancy video, here are links to the videos that some of my colleagues in other regions produced to give you a taste of regional ministry.
And here’s a quick reminder that I hope to see all of you:
- January 11, 2020 for my installation (at FCC Mesa)
- November 6-7, 2020 for Regional Assembly (at the Glendale Mission & Ministry Center, home of Iglesia Dios de la Segunda Oportunidad Discipulos de Cristo)
Dios les bendiga!
Pastor Jay R. Hartley
P.S. The six “Special Offerings” include (click on each to learn more):
Week of Compassion: (collected the last 2 Sundays in February)
- supports worldwide disaster relief and development
Easter Offering: (collected Palm Sunday & Easter)
- supports General Ministries – all our national units
Pentecost Offering: (collected Pentecost & the Sunday before)
- supports creating new churches
Reconciliation Offering: (collected the last Sunday of September and the first Sunday of October)
- supports Disciples anti-racism and pro-reconciliation work
Thanksgiving Offering: (collected the two Sundays before Thanksgiving)
- supports Higher Education – primarily the education of Disciples ministers, but also other leadership development
Christmas Offering: (collected the two Sundays before Christmas)
- supports the region in which the money is given – the Christian Church in Arizona receives 100% of all money given in Arizona congregations