Pastor’s Perspective – May 2014
It is hard for me to believe that we are already preparing for our Spring Annual Meeting. My father always told me that time would move faster as I got older, well, I must be officially “older” since time seems to be moving at breakneck speed. It seems like only yesterday that we gathered for our winter (Financial) Annual Meeting. Held two weeks late, due to wintry conditions, the Financial Meeting gave us a great opportunity to provide necessary information to the congregation of First Baptist Church of Greater Toledo.
Unfortunately the winter proved to be a long and snowy one. The Toledo area endured record amounts of snow, which certainly impacted the attendance and participation of many people. We understand that this may have also negatively impacted our ability to communicate all that has been accomplished and all that is going on here at First Baptist Church of Greater Toledo. Please continue to read as I let you know what we have been doing and provide some much needed information.
Since August 2013, we have celebrated two worship services each Sunday, with a 9:15 traditional service followed by a 10:45 celebration service. We continue to work hard to deliver quality worship in two different styles each Sunday, and we pray that our attempt has been pleasing to God. It is our hope that you understand our commitment to communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ to the world in the style that is attractive to those who are interested in following Jesus.
Beginning on June 1, the date of our Spring Annual (Program) Meeting, we will celebrate one unified service of worship at 10:30 on Sunday morning. This schedule will continue through the summer months, with a new schedule to begin on Sunday, September 7. This will mean the return of a more blended style of worship and the reunification of First Baptist Church into one worship service. We think this will provide a much needed break for our Children’s workers, allow for the Choir to take much of the summer off, and allow the Church’s leadership to evaluate the impact of the changes made in the past few months.
This year the Spring Meeting, held on June 1, will follow the 10:30 worship service. June 1 will also be a day of celebration, as we honor those who have served Jesus Christ and First Baptist Church through fifty years of membership. 50 year members will be honored in worship and recognized with a dinner, provided by the Women’s Missionary Organization, immediately following worship.
The Spring Meeting will begin after the meal is completed and will allow us to vote for new officers, review the reports of the past year, and get a sense of where we are in our 2014 planning cycle. Much has been accomplished since last we met, with the calling of a new Children’s Director, the Rev. J. Maurice Staley, ranking high on the list of accomplishments. Mark your calendars and be ready to join the conversation on June 1, 2014.
At our Winter Meeting we discussed the plans for our new audio/video system. I am pleased to announce that we have raised all of the necessary funds and will be moving forward on this important renovation in June. These worthwhile changes to the sanctuary of First Baptist Church will allow for increased accessibility in sight and sound for all generations. The word of God has been preached at First Baptist Church for over 160 years; it is our expectation that after these renovations and upgrades, God’s word will sound better than ever. It is the goal of this project to allow God’s word to be understood by everyone who worships with us. Furthermore, we will be able to gain access to new ways of communication, with upgraded video capabilities and increased accessibility for people of all ages.
The Church Council has been working diligently to upgrade and improve several aspects of our facility and our outreach. Countless hours have been spent upgrading and adding that special attractiveness to our Children’s classrooms. We believe that the time, money and effort is well worth the cost. God has called us to reach out to the children of this area in order that we might share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them. If you have not seen the new and improved Children’s room, then take the time to peek in and see how inviting they are. The improvements in our facility and our staffing are part of our continuing commitment to reach out in new ways to new people in Holland and through the greater Toledo area.
Of course, there is much more work to be done. The Facilities Team is currently seeking a comprehensive picture of the needs of our Church facility. The survey will involve a “soup to nuts” evaluation of everything from the parking lot to the roof being looked at and considered for repair.
When the written reports are put in your hands (two weeks) before the Annual Meeting, they will include the results of this survey including the cost for these repairs and restorations. The Council is also considering a request to utilize the Building Fund monies to take care of any necessary repairs or improvement. Of course, this cannot be done without your support and approval.
One of the most important decisions that the Congregation will consider at the Spring Annual Meeting will be a vote on whether to utilize a portion of the Building Fund in order to accomplish the stated maintenance needs of First Baptist Church. After delivering the reports and discussing the pros and cons of these actions at the Annual Meeting, we will ask you, the Congregation of First Baptist Church, to make this important decision. Once again we hope that you will be present for this important meeting.
We are rightly thankful for all that God has done at First Baptist Church. We are also hopeful for what God will accomplish in the future. We are grateful that you have given to this Church your time, talent and treasure in order that the God of Jesus Christ might be glorified in Northwest Ohio and around the world. Thank you for your continue support and input.
Blessings and Peace,
The Rev. Daniel Wm. Bellavia, Senior Pastor
First Baptist Church of Greater Toledo