With your help, here’s what Ridgewood is committing to in 2023 with our time, talent, or treasure:
Our Hospitality Chair, Jenny, wants to host a monthly time of fellowship around food. (And have you seen the beautiful Chapel Hall space where we can eat?!) We have had over 40 new faces join us “officially” by membership or have become regulars in the last 2+ years. These are the memory-making times together that help bind us together in the Spirit…over food! Please make a commitment to share a meal with others in this year ahead.
Our Justice & Missions Co-Chairs, Sheroll and Cheryl, have worked hard to establish a blossoming relationship with Jesus Mobile Outreach (JMO), an organization that serves those experiencing homelessness in the Dixie Highway area. They want to plant seeds for another relationship in the area: PRP High School. The Justice & Ministry Group is looking to partner with under-represented students and their teacher sponsors to extend the love of Christ to those that often experience marginalization. Additionally, we’ll have a presence at the Kentuckiana PRIDE Festival, we’ll join with Amazing Grace Community of Faith for Juneteenth, and lean into racial reconciliation by learning from groups like EmpowerWest. Still, immediate needs arise based on what is happening in the community and the world that this group is called to respond to or act on.
In July 2022, we welcomed over 40 children to our campus for Vacation Bible School; we fed them, taught them about Jesus, played games with them, and made crafts and science experiments with them. I still get goosebumps every time I think of the sanctuary full of kiddos singing, “O, How I Love Jesus…because he first loved me.” VBS has not been a part of our budget in several years. I’m hoping that in 2023, it can be.
The Trustees are dreaming big. We have received generous gifts in the last few years that have allowed us to update spaces considerably. The Trustees want to expand our ministry offerings by researching, planning, and building a wheelchair ramp to our second floor which is currently not handicap accessible. They have dreamed about creating an outside space for the church and daycare to utilize when weather allows.
After a few years of dreaming, the Personnel Ministry Group has recently begun a search for a part-time Minister to Families. Did you know on October 23, we are baptizing four children into the Ridgewood family? Now, to be able to welcome a staff member to focus on the care of families and the coordination of ministries to youth and children - friends, this means we are growing!
Over the last three years, we have added and tweaked several Sanctuary elements that allow us to live-stream well; because of that, our message is getting out. Technology is a moving target. With small updates along the way, we avoid astronomical expenses when things get behind. I have challenged us to keep our “Audio/Visual” line in our budget to remember it is an ongoing ministry need.
From our budget, we give money to several mission partners, including (from 2022): Southwest Community Ministries, CBFKY, CBFKY Extreme Build, and EmpowerWest. We support ministries through physical donations, food, and more, but monetary gifts are also important and helpful to these ministries. We write this into our budget annually to commit ourselves to an outward focus.
Each week, we host an AA/NA meeting. I am positive you know someone who has benefited, long-term or short-term, from being part of an AA/NA group. We gladly provide this space for minimal cost.
As your Pastor, I want to provide you with monthly spaces for focused prayer and worship to connect, or reconnect, with God. This may be a labyrinth walk, praying the hours, Taize worship, or other opportunities. I’m excited to encounter God in new ways with you!
How are you dreaming generously for 2023?
Below, you can read the letter Pastor Molly sent to the congregation in October 2022 to ask for commitment of time, talent, and treasure.
October 9, 2022
Dear Ridgewood friends,
This year, our October Worship series is exploring what it means to be “A Generous Church.” Generosity is evident in our spirit, in our vision, in our hearts, and in our church as a whole. Generosity, I believe, is driven by a mission and a purpose. It is a desire to bring God’s generous goodness, acceptance, and grace to a world desperately in need of such all-encompassing love.
I have long been taught that if you want to see a church’s priorities, take a look at their budget. The reality is that some churches are barely making ends meet. Some churches don’t have membership with deep pockets or monumental endowments to sustain them. But the most generous churches I’ve ever known are not the biggest, or wealthiest, churches. Generosity, then, must mean something more than dollars. Generosity is a commitment of self.
In Fall 2022, you may have noticed our pledge card looked a little bit different than years past. There are a few reasons for this:
Generosity is not solely a financial concept.
The church does not grow financially if it does not take risks and grow relationally with one another and the world.
The Church is historically good at following up on financial commitments. We want to equally encourage commitment to other areas of generosity.
When you turn in your 2023 pledge card, the bottom section (financial commitment) will be removed and only seen by our Financial Secretary, Betty Lehr. Your commitments to other ministries will be shared among the Pastor, staff, and pertinent ministry area leaders.
Above, you’ll see some of the visioning our Ministry Group leadership has done for the year ahead. It doesn’t include all that could be, but may serve as a starting point. I hope you’ll read these dreams in their entirety, and pray about how you may join with Ridgewood in continuing and growing our ministry as a Generous Church.
Please pray over this pledge card during the next few weeks and bring it to church on October 23. You do not have to be a member to pledge for 2023; but if you have been considering membership, what better day to commit to the mission and purpose of Ridgewood through membership than Commitment Sunday? If you’d like to talk about this, please reach out to me, email@example.com.
We need your financial commitment to make these dreams reality; equally, we need your commitment to continue to grow as individuals, and to reach out so others may know the good news that God loves them generously. I am dreaming generously, envisioning a growing church who is on the move to love God and love people deeply and generously.
I hope you’ll join me and commit to “A Generous Vision” in 2023!
Grace & Peace,