Dear Pastors and Laity of the California-Pacific Annual Conference,
We continue to live in challenging times. Even now, with the ability of many of our congregations to offer in-person forms of worship, not everyone feels comfortable returning to those gatherings. Some of our people have suffered through the virus, and we have lost beloved colleagues, congregants, family, and friends to it. Some congregations are wrestling with how to offer hybrid forms of worship, finding ways to include in-person and virtual congregations. Living into ‘being church’ seems to be call for constant adaptation and innovation. These constant changes come at time when spirits are weary and worn, and grief is manifesting itself in a myriad of ways.
The Conference Council on Finance and Administration (CFA) is deeply grateful for the ways in which congregations have continued to display a spirit of abundant generosity. The Parables of the Pandemic videos shown at the 2021 Annual Conference offered us a glimpse into some of the ways ministries and congregations of Cal-Pac have shared the love of Christ and the grace of God. Many have also been generous in support of the ongoing mission of the connectional church. Apportionment contributions continue to equip ministry across levels of the church.
In deep appreciation for all that you are seeking to be and do as faithful disciples amid all the uncertainties and disruptions, CFA, with the support of Bishop Hagiya, will once again acknowledge any congregation that gives 75% of their apportionment asking as having reached 100% of their giving. We, of course, are deeply appreciative of the congregations who will continue to reach towards full connectional support and are so thankful especially to those congregations who did that last year. We are also grateful for those who had not given 100% before the pandemic but who stretched themselves to reach 75% in 2020.
Together, as United Methodists across our conference, we are witnessing to the power of a life-changing relationship with God in Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit. We will find what we need to not only survive these challenging days but to thrive, because God’s grace is sufficient even for days such as these. As grace sustains us, may we live into the church that we are called to be!
In Christ’s service,
Bishop Grant J. Hagiya
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
Rev. Sandra K. Olewine
GCFA Board Member