Spirit Path Stewardship Letter 2015
Greetings to our Spirit Path family. This experimental “church without walls” ministry of ours has been blessed with much to celebrate this past year. At the same time, there are challenges to face as we move into an unknown future. We send this letter as a means of sharing some of the joys of this past year, as well as to give you an opportunity to support our ongoing mission and help us grow this ministry into the future.
2015 Update – It’s been an exciting year for our non-traditional church! We gathered in homes and churches, community centers and pubs, back yards and playgrounds. We celebrated our first baptismal service in July. We completed our first successful year of “Messy Church” and started our second year in a new, bigger location. We partnered with some great organizations like 1JustCity and the Global Justice Film Festival as we worked at increasing the mission and outreach aspects of our ministry. We worshipped together, cared for one another, and had great conversations about faith and life. We celebrated together and also grieved together. Most importantly, we gathered as God’s children, we were led by the Spirit, and we tried our best to follow the ways of Jesus Christ.
The Good News – Past Funding! For those of you who may not know our history (or who have forgotten!), Spirit Path was initially funded by Winnipeg Presbytery from a fund that was created through a gift to the presbytery by Donnelly United Church when they closed in 2006. We are so thankful for this gift, yet another example of God surprising us with new life. We were also fortunate to receive some grants from the United Church’s New Ministries Formation Fund program, which helped us with expenses in 2012 and 2013. Even though experimental ministries like Spirit Path are exciting, there are still expenses each year. We are so grateful for the initial financial support of the United Church of Canada through the early years of Spirit Path.
More Good News – Present Funding! Near the very beginning of our journey, we began to develop partnerships with our friends in the Anglican and Lutheran churches. Those relationships have continued to grow, and just this past year, we received funding from both the Mission Committee of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada’s MNO Synod and the Anglican Diocese of Rupert’s Land. We continue to work at formalizing this partnership, and are so thankful for the generosity of our partners. These funds will enable us to continue on for the next few years as the ministry grows and we are better able to cover expenses with congregational givings and fundraising.
Hopeful News - Future Funding! As much as we appreciate the funding from the three denominations (appreciate doesn’t sound strong enough - we wouldn’t be here without it!), Spirit Path will only survive if congregational donations and fundraising can replace the denominational funding over the next few years. We do receive donations at our house gatherings, and even some at Messy Church events. And we actually have three people/households donating through PAR (Pre-Authorized Remittance), which is fantastic! We’re so grateful for the generosity of those who have supported us so far. As the ministry grows, we hope that we can become a self-sustaining ministry which no longer needs to rely on grants from our sponsoring denominations. Those grants are meant to give us a good start for our first few years, not to sustain the ministry in the long term.
The Numbers – Our budget for 2015 was just under $100,000. That’s nowhere near the budget that congregations with actual church buildings need to raise each year, but it’s still a big number for our little church family. We hoped to raise $10,000 of that (or about 10%) through congregational donations this year. With just over a month left in 2015 we’re not there yet (in fact, we’re not quite halfway!) Can you help us get closer to our goal this year?
Our Future – We don’t know for sure what the future holds for Spirit Path, yet we have faith that God is with us. As traditional churches seem to be struggling and shrinking in numbers, we believe that God is calling us and others to experiment with being the church in a new way. We have seen God at work through our gatherings, through our worship, through our work with children and families, and through pastoral care. We believe that ministries like Spirit Path are pioneers of what God’s mission and God’s church will look like in the future.
Stewardship is what we do with all that God has given us, including our time, our talents, and our resources. We would love for you to consider offering:
your time – join us at our gatherings, our worship services, our special events;
your talents – share with us your gifts of music, leadership, vision, and more;
your resources – help support and grow our ministry, that we may continue the holy work God has given us to do.
Why this letter? – It might seem strange for a “non-traditional” ministry to write a fairly traditional stewardship letter (at least we’re not sending it by snail mail!) We wanted to ensure that we reached everyone we could – those who are already part of Spirit Path as well as those who are just hearing about us. So we’ve posted this on our website, provided links to it on Facebook and Twitter, and sent it to some by email. We believe strongly that this ministry is very valuable to those who have already joined us, and will become vital for many more people of faith who are looking for a fresh expression of church.
How to respond – If you feel called to support us with a financial donation, cheques can be made out to “Winnipeg Presbytery” (marked “Spirit Path”) and mailed to 1622-B St. Mary’s Rd, Winnipeg, MB, R2M 3W7. Donations received by December 21 will receive a tax receipt for the 2015 tax year. Donations made after that date will receive receipts for the 2016 year.
Thank You! for reading all the way to the end! Well done! We want you to know how much we appreciate your support, your thoughts, your prayers, your participation in whatever way you participate in Spirit Path. God bless you and yours as we approach this holy time of the year when Christ was born and all things were made possible.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Cole Grambo, B.A., M.Div.