I am regularly reminded of what a blessing it is to be part of this Grace Covenant family. Kind words and notes from many in the church; your prayers, your faithfulness, and your generosity. It is such a delight to see more and more folks joining us for worship each week in person – and online. We are by no means the only “good” church in town. But we are Christ’s Church – and our God has blessed us.
I have the privilege today to announce some exciting news to the Grace Covenant family! As of today, Grace Covenant is debt free! Yep. Read that again. We are now a debt free church! Our mortgage was paid off, in full, this morning!
Let me take a moment to share how this has come to be.
Several weeks ago, at the recommendation of our Finance Committee, the Elders voted to pay off the mortgage by transferring funds from our Building Fund. Unbeknown to anyone – Elders nor Finance Committee members – only a few days later, before we had opportunity to execute our decision, one of our church members (who wishes to remain anonymous), without any knowledge of the Elders’ plan, notified David Lunt, our Finance Chair, of his/her desire to pay off our mortgage! So God was working in the heart of one of our members at the same time he was guiding the Finance Committee and the Session (i.e. Council of Elders, for those who are new to this Presbyterian thing)! Neither aware of the other’s thinking! Amazing!
The gift from our anonymous church member will be given over the course of a couple years. Along with the first portion of the gift, funds were shifted from our Building Fund to entirely pay the mortgage off. Future installments of the gift will go to rebuild the Building Fund. Along with the funds from the gift, the same amount as we have been paying each month toward our mortgage will now also be directed to our Building Fund. Our expectation is that, at an appropriate time in the future (- hopefully a not-too-distant future), we will be able to add the much needed additional classroom space, and other planned renovations and expansions. (For those who are not aware, we already have blueprints for a few different options and phases.)
On behalf of our Elders, Deacons, and Staff, I want to thank all of you for your generosity to Grace Covenant. I especially express thanks to our generous anonymous benefactor. And I think I would be remiss if I did not also express thanks to another Grace Covenant couple who gave a significant gift earlier this year to pay down the mortgage that has now been retired. Please join us in giving thanks to God for his provision; and giving thanks to God for blessing these people to be such a blessing to our church!
As exciting as being able to pay off our mortgage is, I am reminded that God blesses his people – his Church – in order that we be a blessing. While we celebrate being free from debt, God has blessed us in this way to free us to be a blessing to those around us – that through us (and through other faithful churches in town) our neighbors, and those who come to visit the Historic Triangle, might come to know God. This principle is repeatedly expressed throughout the Scriptures, in both the New Testament and the Old Testament. It is embedded in the Covenant God made with his people through Abraham (Genesis 12.1-3) and it is outlined in Jesus’ response when asked “What is the most important commandment?” (Matthew 22.36-40) So we have been blessed to be a blessing. One of the ways we do this is by committing ourselves to be faithful to God, by delighting in his grace, by being students of and obedient to his Word, and by loving one another. (John 13.34-35) The other is by loving our neighbors as we love one another, and as we love ourselves. We love our neighbors by praying for them. We love our neighbors by sharing the hope we have in Christ with them. We love them by earning the right to share by serving them.
There are many ways we can – and should – serve our neighbors. I want to highlight two of them:
- Habitat for Humanity Faith Build – Grace Covenant has the opportunity, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, to serve a family in our community by participating in a Faith Build. Details of this Faith Build can be found by clicking the link above. If you have interest in participating, or if you have questions about participating, feel free to contact Jennifer Allen.
- 3e Restoration Fund Raiser – Grace Covenant proudly partners with 3e Restoration to minister to our neighbors most in need. (I also have the privilege to serve on the Board of Directors for 3e.) We are thankful for the work 3e does, and for what we at Grace Covenant have been able to do to help some of our neighbors – including some in our own church – because of the training we have received through 3e. As all faith-based non-profit ministries, 3e Restoration is dependent upon the generosity of of individual and corporate donors. Usually this time of year preparations are being finalized for a banquet. Due to the lingering threat of COVID-19, this year 3e is doing something a bit different – a three-part Virtual Celebration! While I will be sharing more details in weeks to come, I invite you to click the link, check out what 3e will be doing, and, if able, sign up to “attend” and/or support this tremendous ministry.
That’s all for now. There are a number of things going on at Grace Covenant. Check out Grace Notes to find out about those things. If you don’t receive Grace Notes, email Kathy in the church office to sign up. In the mean time, may the Lord bless you and keep you; May he shine his face upon you, and give you … Grace!
Grace & Peace,
W. Dennis Griffith, Lead Pastor