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The Center Page

January 2022

From Pastor Tony

A new year begins and an old one passes. I’m not much on making new resolutions these days. I’ve come to realize for a number of reasons that life can change very quickly. What you thought were plans for tomorrow can change in an instant, a phone call, a sudden pain, an unexpected conversation and plans change. Of course we all know how our plans and lives have changed as a result of an unexpected mysterious disease, a disease that changes on a daily basis. Perhaps it is my age or life experiences or a combination of many things but I know in my heart of hearts that plans can often be thwarted. Like the song proclaims, “one day at a time” seems to be the mantra that I try to live by these days. Instead of making plans for the future I seem to be reminiscing about days gone by, mostly my days as a pastor for these past 30 years. Being a pastor for such a long time has also helped me realize that life is so fragile. One’s life can be changed in a moment, in the blinking of an eye…one moment you are standing in a parking lot having a conversation with friends and the next moment you wake up seven days later in the hospital (sorry but I couldn’t resist that memory from my past). And so, rather than making plans for the future, these days I much prefer to live daily with a grateful, hopeful heart and ponder the many blessings of my life as a pastor for thirty years. I have been blessed to have met some of the finest, most faithful, persevering people in the world, many who have taught me what it means to walk a life of faith for a long time. And yes, I have also met some of the most unusual, stubborn, funny and unique people in the world. Oh, some of the stories I could tell you (maybe I will in my retirement write a book of laughter, frustration, and bewilderment of those unusual, unique people who are also trying to walk a life of faith).

Maybe I am thinking about these things because I plan, no hope, to retire not many months from now and make room for the younger ones to experience the joy of serving the Church. And yes, the joys have been far greater than the pain and sadness of serving in the church. Along with that joy comes hope that I have for the future of the church, especially smaller congregations like Center. Some of the so-called church sociologists are starting to re-think their ideas of church models for the future. For several decades now these so-called church visionaries have championed the mega-church, multisite models as the wave of the future. The small church is dying and not doing real ministry, they said. But now, for the past several years, these experts have reconsidered and seen how the small church is INDEED making a difference in our communities and world. Of course, those of us at Center have known this all along. In fact, one of you testified about how astounded you are at all the many ways Center is doing ministry and changing the world. I think it was David Grelecki during time of testimony but as you know I don’t hear or see too well these days (haha). I know in my heart of hearts that the future at Center is bright because you will continue to do ministry that makes a difference, as you have in days gone by!

Peace,

Pastor Tony

Please think about and discuss with each other when you would feel safe starting our UMW meetings back. We need everyone to be committed and feel SAFE before we start back. It is one night per month as we’ve done in the past…but nothing is written in stone. Open to all ideas offered. Johnny’s Farmhouse has a great room if we’d like to try there when we start back. We hope that we have all of our previous ladies and many, many new ladies. We do a volunteer led program, share needs, prayers and joys and donate to a chosen mission agreed upon. Thanks!

Sandy Prevette

As 2021 ends, (do I hear a “thank heavens!), I thought a brief financial review would be appreciated, particularly in light of the many challenges our church has had—and will continue to face.

First of all, we have done remarkably well financially considering the many people we have lost to death and those who have not returned in the COVID aftermath. Going into December we are pretty much on budget, realizing that our budget was pared way down this year. Our expenses are also below projection, but unfortunately that decrease represents important church activities that didn’t take place, such as VBS. Our challenge will be to keep our budget balanced as we go into 2022 while we expand activities and expenditures into a more normal range.

For 2022, the Administrative Council has approved a budget of $183,287, a less than one percent increase over 2021. Most of the increase was directed to staff salaries which were well-earned considering the extraordinary challenges Tony, Jennifer, and Todd encountered this year. Also, they received no increases in the 2021 budget. Offsetting the increases, were decreases in waste management (thanks to Jennifer negotiating a new contract) and cutting some other expense areas such as budgeted end of year bonuses for staff. We certainly hope that voluntary contributions to this December fund will enable our staff to have some bonuses.

While the budget represents our best efforts to predict revenue and expense, there are several large expense areas that we just don’t know about now. Most significant are salaries for a youth director and a cleaning crew. We are fortunate to have reserve funds if needed for non-budgeted items, so we will be able to accommodate these unknowns if they arise, at least for this year.

We can be proud that even with our tight budget we have continued our charitable giving. In addition to our Armenian orphanage shoe boxes, Christy Devine’s shoe drive and our regular support of CCM, we gave $1000 each to Opportunity House (a new housing initiative for CCM), Hospice of Cabarrus County, and Wings of Eagles, a local charity that works with special needs children. We have another $3000 in the 2022 budget to send to deserving local charities.

Nothing is certain these days except that 2022 will be challenging. All we can do is keep up our good stewardship and pray that we can add activities and regain a more normal routine for 2022. Have a great Christmas season — and see you at church.

Richard, for the Finance Committee

Sunday, January 16

7:30 AM

Parkway House Restaurant

Dear Center UMC Family,

Thank you so much for the generous Christmas gift. I am thankful to be a part of Center church. The support and kindness you have shown to me and my family have been a blessing in our lives.

Jennifer

Readers

January 2 –

January 9 – Sue Long

January 16 – Sara Lefler

January 23 – Lauren Grelecki

January 30 – Ryan Lefler

February 6 – Karen Bishop

Children's Story

January 2 – Ryan Lefler

January 9 – Lauren Grelecki

January 16 – Candy Spoor

January 23 – Karen Bishop

January 30 – Jessica Flieger

February 6 – Pastor Tony

Sound System

Jan. 2 – Bruce Carrigan and Ed Long

Jan. 9 – Mitch Lefler and Candy Spoor

Jan. 16 – David Grelecki

Jan. 23 – Jessica and Tim Flieger

Jan. 30 – Bruce Carrigan and Ed Long

Feb. 6 – Mitch Lefler and Candy Spoor

Nursery

Jan. 2 – Karen Bishop and Sara Lefler

Jan. 9 – Jessica Flieger and Ryan Lefler

Jan. 16 – Bethany Cruse and Candy Spoor

Jan. 23 – Brian Spoor and Lisa Lefler

Jan. 30 – Sue Long and Matt Nichols

Feb. 6 – Bo Campbell and Beth Cruse

Lock-up Trustee

 January – Del Hicks

February - Candy Spoor

Sunday at 10:00 AM

1   Dona Hagler

2  Pat Schaeffer

5  Ed Long

7  Melanie Coley

8  Camden King

12  Janet Linker

13  Mitch Lefler

18  Andy Furr

     Harper Nichols

19  Roz Lehning

     Mattison Cochran

22  Judy Boger

23  Elizabeth Brindle

28  Doris Williams

29  Alyssa Brazil

30  Madison Cline

31   Sandra Prevette

Staff

Pastor: Tony Allen, tlanceallen@aol.com 704-888-4150

Youth/Children’s Ministries Director: Kayla Storey, youthcumc1119@gmail.com

Music Director: Todd Whittington, ptoddwhittington@gmail.com

Secretary: Jennifer Leopard, cumc@ctc.net

Center United Methodist Church

1119 Union Street, S

Concord, NC 28025

704-782-1785

cumc@ctc.net

www.centerumcconcord.org

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END OF YEAR FINANCIAL NOTES

As 2021 ends, (do I hear a “thank heavens!), I thought a brief financial review would be appreciated, particularly in light of the many challenges our church has had—and will continue to face.

First of all, we have done remarkably well financially considering the many people we have lost to death and those who have not returned in the COVID aftermath. Going into December we are pretty much on budget, realizing that our budget was pared way down this year. Our expenses are also below projection, but unfortunately that decrease represents important church activities that didn’t take place, such as VBS. Our challenge will be to keep our budget balanced as we go into 2022 while we expand activities and expenditures into a more normal range.

For 2022, the Administrative Council has approved a budget of $183,287, a less than one percent increase over 2021. Most of the increase was directed to staff salaries which were well-earned considering the extraordinary challenges Tony, Jennifer, and Todd encountered this year. Also, they received no increases in the 2020 budget. Offsetting the increases, were decreases in waste management (thanks to Jennifer negotiating a new contract) and cutting some other expense areas such as budgeted end of year bonuses for staff. We certainly hope that voluntary contributions to this December fund will enable our staff to have some bonuses. 

While the budget represents our best efforts to predict revenue and expense, there are several large expense areas that we just don’t know about now. Most significant are salaries for a youth director and a cleaning crew. We are fortunate to have reserve funds if needed for non-budgeted items, so we will be able to accommodate these unknowns if they arise, at least for this year.

We can be proud that even with our tight budget we have continued our charitable giving. In addition to our Armenian orphanage shoe boxes, Christy Devine’s shoe drive and our regular support of CCM, we gave $1000 each to Opportunity House (a new housing initiative for CCM), Hospice of Cabarrus County, and Wings of Eagles, a local charity that works with special needs children. We have another $3000 in the 2022 budget to send to deserving local charities.

Nothing is certain these days except that 2022 will be challenging. All we can do it keep up our good stewardship and pray that we can add activities and regain a more normal routine for 2022. Have a great Christmas season — and see you at church.

Richard, for the Finance Committee

    Contact:

    1119 Union St S
    Concord, NC 28025

    Phone: (704) 782-1785

    Email: cumc@ctc.net

    Pastor

    Tony Allen

    Secretary-

    Jennifer Leopard

    Music Director

    Todd Whittington

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