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It is 2016 and, yes, it’s official, Our Challenge is now concluded. Some four years ago the parish was forced into some deep soul searching, as a litany of capital needs moved from the someday/maybe list to the urgent list.€ The most urgent of those needs was of course the HVAC system in the church. You might remember two years ago when we were pumping warm air into the church through a portable generator. :-)

Our Challenge was a collaborative stewardship effort to respond to the list of over 1 million dollars in parish capital needs. The Pastoral Council chose to resolve these financial challenges without a high-pressure capital campaign. Accordingly, the financial appeal was an in-house, low-pressure invitation to prayerfully consider how we each were being called to respond out of a “need to give” vs. “giving to a need.” We called giving out of a “need to give” vs. “giving to a need” as next level stewardship. We have a need to give because we know intimately how generous God has blessed us in Jesus.

I am very grateful for the parish’s response to Our Challenge. Nearly half of the parish contributed above and beyond their regular tithe and the total amount given has topped 1 million dollars. I will provide you with the final numbers sometime before Lent. Most of the capital needs projects will now be checked off the list. Replacement of the church lighting system is the next active project on the list and it will be completed in the Spring—our insurance provider required us to replace our church lighting because of the fire hazard resulting from the building’s antiquated fixtures and wiring.

As I shared with you during the Our Challenge updates, December 31st would end the capital needs portion of Our Challenge and Our Challenge would transition into a Parish Priority Plan. We have been working on the Parish Priority Plan for about sixteen months and will be rolling it out soon. Very exciting!

I want to thank each of you for the time, talent and treasure that you sacrificed for Our Challenge. It has been a great success for our parish family.

Ad majorem Dei gloriam,

Rev. John F. Jirak

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