Greetings. Another week of staying at home. Each day gives us opportunities to find new ways to connect. The AHUMC Board’s weekly call was on April 22. We are blessed that we have a talented group of faithful servants in this unique time. As an amateur historian, I’ve asked about the church’s workings during the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic. This was probably the last time that there was such an event that would impact the church. Even during wars, the church was not faced with closing. It was a place of refuge.
The challenges we face are all around us. Our church is not alone. We have experienced a drop in financial gifts. Churches across the country and many, many nonprofits are facing financial issues as funds are diverted to coronavirus issues.
Despite the closing, the church is making new connection opportunities that must be applauded. Each week we see such inspirational services as they are viewed virtually. We’ve even added live radio events that are broadcast in Boerne, Seguin, and East San Antonio. We recently received a letter from a friend in North Carolina who enjoys our livestreamed services so much that she has started worshipping regularly with us online. What a wonderful testament to the gifts and graces of our staff.
Our staff is also creating other opportunities to connect with us virtually. The Revival classes on Methodism have restarted using Zoom. Some of the Sunday school classes have created ways to stay connected. Other church activities continue virtually as well. We are using technology in all sorts of new ways.
These successes do not mitigate the challenges we face. In previous messages to you I mentioned that we had a strong March and first quarter. We are however in unprecedented times. April gifts have substantially dropped from the same time period in previous years. In fact, as of April 22nd, the church has collected only 45% of revenue needed in the month of April. However, the good news is that we have accepted a federal loan through the Payroll Protection Plan (CARES) Act which will support staff salaries, utilities and other limited expenses through June 30th. Church expenses have been slashed and are being closely monitored to ensure that funds are spent on necessities only. Every opportunity to economize or defer an expense is being scrutinized. We are so blessed to have Valerie Slade, Director of Finance/HR, and her staff to lead us through these times.
Your faithfulness is needed to continue our mission. Everyone is feeling the uncertainty that we face. We don’t know how long we will be in this lockdown situation. Each of us is re-evaluating our budgets for what may come during the lockdown and when things begin to reopen. For those who have been laid off or furloughed, our prayers go out to you.
If you are able continue to support the mission and ministry of the church, I do ask that you give as you can. While we are now able to pay our expenses for the next two months, projecting to the end of summer is a concern. We need your gifts to ensure that we will be able to provide for you and our community as we go forward. Gifts may be made online at ahumc.org or by check. Please pray about your giving to the work of Christ through the church.
We have created a task force to plan the reopening of the church, working with the guidelines as they are established by our civic leaders and utmost care to ensure the safety of all. Until we meet again, may God bless you all. Prayers for health and safety for you and your families.
Kathryn “Kitty” Meyers