From the Pastor

In mid-February we began the Christian season of Lent on Ash Wednesday. All of the month of March is in the Lenten season and the last Sunday of March on the 29th begins Holy Week with Palm Sunday. Please note the many worship opportunities and services for Holy Week elsewhere in this March 2015 issue of the Chugiak Crier. I look forward to continuing this 2015 Lenten journey to Jerusalem and the cross with you this March. These are days rich with spiritual meaning and depth. I feel privileged to share in them with you this year.

Some may know that the boiler in the parsonage failed the last week of January this year. It was during one of the rare cold spells of this winter. The boiler could have been repaired but it was felt the wiser course was to replace a 41 year old boiler. The service man said cast iron boilers last about thirty of so years so we received our service from the original boiler. Our Trustees knew that the boiler needed to be replaced sometime in the future and had even received quotes for replacement. Fortunately, the boiler was replaced within a matter of days by a local company and the cost was less than the three bids received last summer. Thankfully, UMCC had ended the year of 2014 with a budget surplus and so the funds were on hand to have the boiler replaced. As Wally Thomas, our Finance Team chair said, I am sorry we have to spend the funds in that way but thankful we have them to do it. How true.

That positive financial situation for our congregation was possible because of your faithful and consistent giving each and every week and each and every month. Thank you for your generosity. I know that paying for a new boiler is not very exciting or flashy, but maintaining our church facility is an important part of our congregational ministry. And the wonderful facility of UMCC enables ministry that begins in Chugiak and spreads forth in our community and throughout the world.

I have been blessed for the months I have been with you to live in our beautiful parsonage. It is a warm and lovely home and is a blessing to the pastoral family appointed to UMCC and for our congregation. The investment UMCC made in 1974 to build and pay for the parsonage has enabled our congregation to provide wonderful pastoral housing for over four decades. If we did not have a parsonage, we would have to provide a monthly housing allowance every month of every year which would increase the cost of providing full-time ministry greatly. One can imagine that providing such an allowance would cost between $20,000-30,000.00 per year. Think of how many times the investment of the parsonage has paid for itself over and over and over. Wise ministry decisions and sacrificial work and giving that continues to benefit UMCC and the work of Jesus Christ.

Praise and thanks be to God for the Saints that have gone before us and left us this legacy of ministry and mission. I am thankful to be sharing in that ministry and mission this year with you

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday and each and every Sunday.

Gary