Stewardship 2020

  We'd love to hear from you!  

How do you participate in the life and ministries of

HUMC through your service? 

How do you observe this in your fellow church members and the congregation?  

Please consider this question and let us know your thoughts via texts or voicemails to 704-561-1648

A Stewardship Message from Steve & Ellen Lawrence: Gifts

During our stewardship campaign this year, we are remembering the vows we made when we joined the church, to support the church with our prayers, our presence, our gifts, our service, and our witness. We have been asked to talk about what GIFTS means to us.


Gifts to the church are, for all of us, our way of giving back a small portion of the multitude of blessings that have been given to us. All of us here at Huffman United Methodist Church do our best to give back to God with our time, our abilities, and our resources.

When we first joined HUMC about 30 years ago, we felt like we didn’t have very much to offer of any of these things, but we did what we could. In a wonderful way, God showed us that we had plenty of time, and we could spend it on unimportant things or we could give our time to activities like the Heart and Hand Home, mothering the acolytes and the children’s choir, participating in Sunday School class and church committees, working with the Barbecue Team, and countless other projects that have blessed us more than we could have imagined.


God showed us that our abilities, as small as we thought they were, were magnified by God’s love and enabled us to participate in events like the Halloween Party, Easter Egg Hunt, Angel Tree Party, and special Christmas and Easter worship services through readings and music. And of course, our favorite, the UMW yard sale, car wash, bake sale barbecue weekend!

As for resources, we may feel that what we have to give is smaller than the widow’s mite. But what we give has blessed us so much and given us so much joy! Because it’s such a pleasure to donate to support the Little Brown Bags, Rock-a-thon, UMCOR, Eastern Area Christian Ministries, choir and all our other church projects, as well as the general fund that supports our programs and keeps our church going. And it amazes me that although we started out small 30 years ago, the more we give, the more God blesses us with the ability to give.

Our giving is a joy to us, whether it’s time, abilities or resources. Giving back by participating in the church has also brought us the friendship and love we share with each of you here. Your loving care and generosity are inspirational to us. I wish we could name every single project, every service, every person, every act of love that has touched us over the years we’ve been here, but then there wouldn’t be time for a sermon! You are our family and our best friends, and it’s a privilege to be giving back not only to God but to our Huffman United Methodist Church family.

We all know, of course, that we can never repay God for even a small portion of the love and blessings we have been given. So what can we give the Lord in return for everything that we have, which comes from God? A joyful and thankful heart.

Stewardship Message from Richard and Anita Norton: PRESENCE

During our Stewardship Campaign this year we are remembering the vows we made when we joined this church. This week we've been asked to talk about what PRESENCE means to us. 

 

Before this young, newly married couple joined Huffman United Methodist Church in early 1980, neither of us had been active in a church for several years. We visited several churches, but when we found HUMC, we knew we were home. 

 

Like many of you, it's important to us to be at worship every Sunday and participate in church activities. What do we get from being physically present? 

 * First, the day and week JUST ISN'T RIGHT if we're not here on Sunday. When we're not here, we miss church, and we miss you! 

  • Being with our church family is important to us. When we are present in this sanctuary not only do we get to share worship with YOU.  We also get the opportunity to reflect on the saints who are no longer with us, but who have meant so much to us and our church. 
  • Worship nourishes our souls. There is never a Sunday when something doesn’t speak to us. It may be the sermon, or the wonderful music from our choir, or maybe something from our children or youth. But there is ALWAYS something that is meaningful to us. 
  • And I believe it makes God smile when we gather in this sanctuary to worship Him! 

 

But PRESENCE means more than being physically present. Presence also means pledging to be part of something together.

 

Our presence is important: 

  • when children or adults are baptized and we promise to surround them with love and nurture them in the faith. 
  • When we pray for and visit those who are sick. 
  • When we attend memorial services and give thanks for the saints who have gone to God
  • When we laugh with each other during good times and cry with each other during bad times.

 

 

And what is lost if we're not present? 

 

  • In a few weeks we'll have a big Halloween carnival for the children in our community. 
  • Angel Tree will be happening soon thereafter, followed by Little Brown Bags. 
  • This summer this sanctuary will be filled with happy children during VBS. 

 

None of those things, and many others, can happen without us all being present to help and support. 

 

Remember that song "I am the church, you are the church, we are the church together"?  For Huffman United Methodist Church to continue to BE, we must be present. 

 

Think about the hugs, handshakes and greetings that we get every Sunday- those are possible because someone is present. 

 

Take a minute to look at the people around you, and to be thankful for their presence in this service, and in the life of this church. 

 

We leave you with this quote:

 

WALK TOGETHER

FEEL THE HEARTBEATS

EXPERIENCE THE PRESENCE

THIS IS HOW TO BE THANKFUL

Stewardship Message from Donna Rowan and our Children: PRAYERS

Our children can not give much in monetary amounts, but one thing they do give is prayers.  Our children pray for cancer patients, hurricane victims, people who have lost a loved one, and our church.  Sometimes we pray for a scratch on our knee.  Their prayers are simple, but sincere, faithful, and from the heart.  Our children have learned and grown in their faith and compassion for others as they come together to pray each week.  We have learned not to pray for a win in a sports event, but to do our best and to keep everyone safe.  We also have learned not to pray for an A on a test, but for God to help us absorb knowledge while we study.  At one point we had a prayer wall, so we could see if our prayers were being answered.  It was so exciting to look back each week at the prayers we were able to pull down, and to realize that sometimes our prayers are answered in ways differently than we had hoped for.  I hope that some of you have felt the prayers our children have prayed for you.  These children have taught me that God listens to simple prayers that are from the heart.  Our prayers do not need to be elaborate, fancy, or drawn out.  Our prayers are our conversations with our father and friend.  I encourage you to pray with the heart and faithfulness of a child. 

A Message from Sarah O'Kelley, Chair of Stewardship

Why I give: 

 

Nineteen years ago, on 9/16/2000, I danced with Kevin O’Kelley at a wedding. He drove me home to my mother's house after the wedding, and on the way he told me he was a director of youth ministries at HUMC. I was in my first semester of graduate school and thought, "huh, that’s an interesting job." I think I even asked him how long he thought he’d do that. I had never known anyone whose actual job was in a church. I stepped foot in the church building, in the DDR, for the first time about a month later when the youth threw him a surprise party and I was invited. I started attending HUMC’s Heartsong about one month later, attended the traditional worship service soon after, and joined the church on Palm Sunday 2001. I was married here. Our 3 girls were baptized here. Kevin’s memorial service was here. I’ve been here for countless youth and children’s events, VBS, XLs, and choir tours. I co-taught elementary Sunday school, sang in the choir, and joined a silent UMW circle. I had at least one child attending The Children’s Place from February 2004 until August 2017, meaning I was in and out of the education building doors nearly daily, and I have been a Board member and then Chair of the daycare Advisory Board since 2007. I have lived, been in meetings, slept, eaten, cried, and laughed in nearly every space that this building contains. Probably every single person in this building has given of their time, money, and prayers to support me and my family from the moment I entered this church’s life.  

 

There have been times I’ve questioned my place in the church, the people in it, and the purpose of the building and the structures it operates within. I remember reading the Book of Discipline for the first time and the limiting statements regarding homosexuality and serving in appointed positions. I questioned. I’ve been hurt by individuals, groups, and leaders in this church. I've likely hurt others here. Although I was a churchgoer my entire life before HUMC, I had never belonged to a church at so many levels. Being part of a church, the physical and organized entity, has been a reminder of the imperfection of people and the limits of expectations and hope, at times. It has been a challenge in self-reflection and forgiveness. I’ve had to reframe my commitment many, many times over the last 19 years. I’ve been surrounded by friends and members who I know have done the same. Last week Ed’s sermon included the phrase “crisis of commitment.” I felt the weight of those words for myself, our church, and our community.  

 

Like many of you, I give because of the LEGACY of my family in this church. I give in FAITH, when finances are tight or unpredictable, and in faith that my tithes and offerings will be used in a meaningful way. I give for the PURPOSE that our church has in our community and in the lives of all our members (past, present and future), reflected in our Mission Statement. I give because I’ve experienced #transformativelove 

 

I am an unlikely chair for your stewardship campaign. For 18 out of the last 20 years I toggled between the Tuscaloosa and Birmingham NPR stations to avoid the guilt of the fundraising drives. The Fall competitive soccer season is extremely busy across my 3 girls, and I am hardly ever in town on the weekends. I’ve been on Lay Leadership when nominating people to this position and I’ve been on Finance for the last 10 years or so. I know the responsibility and potential weight of the position. And yet I volunteered as your chair. I could not ignore the nudges (possibly pushes) that I was feeling each time stewardship was mentioned. I feel like this is a time, an uncertain time, where I am compelled to stand here for this church and open up conversations about what tithing and stewardship means. I feel like this is a critical time that I will reflect on in the future and would regret not doing my best.  

 

It won’t be that different from other years; you’ll receive letters, a pledge card, hear from others in the congregation, and be asked to pray/consider/pledge. To be honest, I have not figured out how to do this given my personal feelings about where the larger UMC has been and is headed, but I am committed to exploring this with you over the next year.  

 

I am going to ask each of you to consider why you give, possibly why you don’t. Help me share those thoughts by sending me short texts, voicemail, emails, notes to gather and share anonymously with the congregation. I’ve set up a dedicated Google voice number to receive your thoughts at 704-561-1648. You can also email me at sarah.okelley@gmail.comEach week I will collate these responses and share them in various platforms of ongoing conversation until Pledge Sunday on 10/27. Thank you for your openness to move through this season with me and your congregation.