December 27, 2019
2019 Financial Update #3
As news reports streamed in Christmas Day about the tragic fire at the Drake Hotel in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesotans responded with unusual generosity. Per the Star Tribune ...
As word spread, unsolicited donations began to stream in. Citizens showed up with suitcases and duffel bags packed with donated boots, clothes and blankets. Others brought bags and platters of cold and warm food. By late afternoon, donations were piled so high at the scene that authorities declared that no more were needed and offered their thanks to all who reached out on Christmas Day to help. Those wanting to help were advised to contact the Minnesota Red Cross or the Minneapolis Foundation, which set up a fund to help with Drake residents’ immediate and long-term needs.
Bethlehem also assisted efforts to serve our displaced Drake Hotel neighbors, as we opened our Downtown Campus Main Hall on Christmas Day as a processing center for the American Red Cross and then helped provide a place for Drake residents to stay through Saturday morning as the Red Cross and the city sought more permanent housing options.
Giving financially to support Bethlehem makes it possible for us to be a welcoming place, a “house of bread,” for both physical and spiritual needs. In addition to supporting emergency requests like Wednesday’s call from the Red Cross, Bethlehem also helps support partner ministries like Jericho Road and CityJoy (formerly Bethlehem Ministry Initiatives) to care for our neighbors on an ongoing basis as we point them to the true Bread of Life.
Your ongoing generosity is important, as we join together to help meet Bethlehem’s financial needs at the end of our fiscal year. The staff has kept expenses below our congregationally approved budget of $10.6M, with 2019 expenses expected to be about $10.2M. Giving through December 22 totaled just under $9.3M, so Bethlehem needs $900K in the next four days to cover anticipated 2019 expenses ($1.3M to meet budget).
Each one of us has a part to play. Jesus commended the poor widow for giving her two copper coins (Mark 12:43–44). And he multiplied a boy’s five loaves and two fish, such that more than five thousand “ate and were satisfied. And they took up twelve baskets full of the broken pieces and of the fish” (Mark 6:42–43).
Thank you for your continued financial support for Bethlehem’s many ministries this year. As 2019 comes to a close, may we each respond generously, and as God leads, may he multiply each copper coin, loaf, and fish given, so that all of our financial obligations are met, and we start the new year on a strong financial foundation to continue our mission to “spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things for the joy of all peoples through Jesus Christ.”
Current Financial Data
To help inform your prayers and year-end giving decisions, contributions to Bethlehem’s 2019 “Fill These Cities: 25 x ’25” general operating fund through December 22, 2019, are summarized here:
- 2019 YTD contributions: $9,260,002
This year’s contributions are 3.3 percent below 2018 year-to-date contributions of $9,573,412, and 8.3 percent below our year-to-date budget target of $10,100,000.
- Use the Bethlehem Online Giving page to set up one-time or recurring giving via eCheck or credit card, where you can view your giving history, recurring giving schedule, and Contribution Statement. You can also donate via text-to-give (text “BBC amount” to 612-223-7432), or Bethlehem’s mobile app (e.g., BBC $50).
- Please note that our fiscal year ends Tuesday, December 31. All 2019 contributions in checks or cash should be brought to the church or postmarked by December 31. All online contributions should be transacted before 11:45pm Central Time on December 31.
- If you have questions about contribution options, including donations of stock or yearly “Required Minimum Distributions” (RMD) from an IRA account, contact Bethlehem’s Financial Secretary, Steve Walmsley (612-338-7653 x463).