May was an exciting month as many LifeGroups ended for the Summer Break; we celebrated many baptisms, professions of faith, and the resultant new members to Timberlake.
God blesses us through your generosity and increased faithfulness in tithes and offerings. The giving year-to-date is almost $100,000 above last year's. Our expenses continue to remain under budget.
At Timberlake Church's inaugural business meeting on May 28, it was unanimously agreed to purchase the Eagle property – adjacent to Avonlea's. We closed on this property on June 15. It is critical land for Timberlake as it gives us close and adjoining land as we expand. Speaking of property, the real estate that Timberlake sits on is now wholly owned by Timberlake Church. On May 1, the Virginia Conference of the United Methodist denomination released its trust hold, and Timberlake UMC became the sole owner. We then had the property transferred from Timberlake UMC to Timberlake Church. Now that the property and buildings that Timberlake members through the years built and paid for are entirely ours, we are moving quickly to start prayerful planning for needed renovations and expansions to carry us through the next decade.
From a staffing standpoint, we continue searching for an Infant and Toddler (Avonlea's) director, but we know God will provide the right person at the right time. We are happy to celebrate Estelle's retirement but sad to lose a staff member who was integral to our Congregational Care ministry. We are searching for the next Minister of Visitation and have already begun to receive applications. Rev. Jesse Caro, our new Pastor of Discipleship, has arrived and is already making connections and new friends. We are excited to see what the Lord has in store for us in our discipleship and spiritual development ministries.
Also, at the business meeting, the preliminary bylaws received unanimous agreement. We have already begun forming the rewrite committee that will work to improve the bylaws to represent best and clarify the governance of Timberlake and how the most critical decisions will be made.
If you were a member of Timberlake United Methodist Church, you have received an email asking that you complete the form to have your membership transferred to Timberlake Church. This process is detailed in the bylaws that you received several weeks ago. We ask each member to complete the form giving your name, address, best telephone number, and email address – to ensure that our records are UpToDate. There are two boxes from which to choose – one is to request that your membership be transferred to Timberlake Church. If you check this box, that is all you need to do. The second option is to inform us that you do not intend to transfer your membership from Timberlake United Methodist Church to Timberlake Church and not to send you reminder emails. If you choose the second option, no further effort will be made to inform/remind you of the offer to transfer your membership. Paper forms are available outside the narthex. They will also be delivered to our homebound members.
Through the end of the year, we will be reminding all Timberlake UMC members to transfer their membership if desired. The only difference between a member and a nonmember is that a member has made a public vow to actively participate in the church's life through corporate worship, and tithing, and service, and LifeGroups. The word AND is specifically inserted to emphasize that membership is a vow to all four – not just one or two. What do members "get"? Responsibility and accountability to honor your word and vote on important church decisions. That's it. Church membership is not a golden ticket to Heaven or a reserved parking space, nor does it make you a "good" person. Not everyone should be a member, but only those willing to publicly vow and honor the four membership expectations. Prayerfully consider whether you should transfer your membership. Everyone is welcome at Timberlake; all are invited to participate in the church's life. Church membership is not a requirement.
If you've read this far, I hope you can sense our tremendous advances as Timberlake moves into the next chapter as an independent church and that God is pouring out His blessings on us.
Don't hesitate to contact me if I can ever serve you. Please let me know if you have any questions or want information on church operations or data.
Rev. Mark Coleman