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Stewardship 2023

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Enough Westlake United Methodist Church Stewardship 2023

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Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity One of Jesus great teaching parables involves a sower who cast seed along the ground The sower hoped the seeds would sprout grow and bear good fruit Some seeds did just that producing a great harvest But others Jesus said fell among thorns and though they began to grow these good plants were quickly choked out Jesus said the thorns were the cares of the world and the lure of wealth Matthew 13 22 In a culture where having enough seems to have become a never ending pursuit Jesus parable remains incredibly relevant Many of us are chasing the American dream in ways that lead to stress anxiety and fear thorns that can rob us of the ability to enjoy the abundant lives of purpose that God intended for us All of us have struggled with these issues at one time or another So in this year s stewardship series we will utilize scripture to explore how God s plan of provision is always enough and as a result we will discover joy through simplicity and generosity Throughout this brochure you ll read a narrative about the incredible mission and ministries that are made possible because of your generosity and faithfulness to sow seeds that bear fruit May our hearts be stirred so that we might continue to be good stewards of all that God has given us as we experience God s goodness and abundance May God guide each one of us as we make personal commitments of our offerings to God through our church in the coming year We will consecrate these commitments in the worship services on the final two Sundays of our series Enough Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity When you are ready to make your 2023 pledge can do so online at westlake umc org stewardship or by returning the included pledge card on Consecration Sunday February 12

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Worship Worship the Lord with gladness come into God s presence with singing Psalm 100 2 Christ teaches us to love God and love our neighbor As United Methodists we strive to share God s love with the world in tangible ways The Methodist understanding of God s expansive love and grace informs how we design worship that we hope so transforms the hearts of worshipers that they leave inspired to transform the world To that end worship is constantly evolving as we push the boundaries of love to expand justice and include all of God s children Our high calling makes worship challenging and exciting and asks that we continually find new ways to share God s word in relevant and authentic ways In the coming year we hope to develop a broader Worship Design Team to expand lay participation so that worship can become even more creative passionate and meaningful We are working on new banners which will then invite us to relocate our existing banners We will continue to fine tune our process of incorporating dynamic visuals decorations and frequent experiential moments so that our gatherings will draw us in more fully through all our senses We wtill indeed worship with gladness as we come into God s presence Music Ministry Music brings everyone to unified expression of our love for Christ and each other and opens our hearts to the movement of God s Spirit At WUMC our Music Ministry engages all of us from the youngest children to the more experienced young at heart whether participating in one of our many ensembles or singing congregationally God hears and welcomes all forms of praise The Spirit moves participants to sing play instruments ring bells and lead worship both inside and outside the church Through music we want to nurture the continued spiritual development of all people who come to WUMC and connect them to God in ways that encourage them to share the love and power of God s Spirit in the world This coming year we hope to grow our musical groups and deepen individuals understanding of themselves as musicians as well as servants of Christ To that end we host guest artists who can inspire our groups and take our musical offerings to that next level Growing our groups means we invite all not just those with experience to try participating Whether in handbells Foundation Band or choirs of all ages just try it out You will find community laughter and beautiful fellowship filled with gorgeous music

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Adult Ministries We want everyone at the church to find their people in a class or a group so that each person can grow in their relationship with God as they grow in relationships with one another how injustice and inequality affect the everyday lives of our neighbors as we grow in our capacity to be faithful witnesses of God s healing and inclusive love The church is held together by these relationships More than 50 of the people who attend worship at WUMC attend Sunday School or a faith development small group during the week both in person and on Zoom That is a great number and we want to continue to see that number grow Whether you re interested in taking a deep dive into scripture studying issues relevant to faith in a changing world learning how to listen and open your heart to God s constant activity in everyday life or exploring and engaging issues of social justice there is a place to connect and belong We are committed to helping our congregation grow in faith at every age and stage of life so that you are better equipped to follow Jesus for a lifetime Through the simplicity of relationships both with God and one another we discover that God has provided more than enough for us to grow We will continue to fill in the gaps and expand learning opportunities this year During the summer months we provided special programming to bring multiple classes together and expand our understanding about mental health the prevalence of disinformation in our society and its impact on dysfunction in our institutions we took a virtual tour of Community First Village and heard stories about the resettlement of Afghan refugees in Austin just to name a few This winter and spring of 2023 we are partnering with First UMC and St Luke UMC in our Capital District along with Austin Seminary to provide special learning opportunities to listen and better understand

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Service Wow It was an incredible year of service at Westlake UMC Service helps our congregation proclaim the good news through key angels who lead and coordinate service and outreach opportunities that support organizations like Habitat for Humanity Street Youth Ministry Kairos Prison Ministry the United Methodist Committee on Relief Mobile Loaves Fishes Refugee Services of Texas Casa Marianella Border Ministry La Posada Providencia University High School Central Texas Food Bank Any Baby Can and the Women s Storybook Project Whether it s spreading the love to teachers healthcare workers and first responders in our community resettling Afghan refugees here in Austin or providing financial aid to displaced Ukranian refugees in Eastern Europe the Service Committee operates from a mindset of abundance rather than scarcity Recognizing that God is more than enough to supply our needs the Service Committee inspires us all to give of our time talents and treasure to love our neighbors as ourselves here in Austin and around the world Through our Christmas in October initiative planning ahead to give and serve generously during the holidays we had the most robust participation in years Survivors of human trafficking were our guests at a Friendsgiving Feast through Refugee Services of Texas 200 of our unhoused neighbors received blankets hats and scarves along with meals and hot coffee through Mobile Loaves Fishes 500 pounds of coffee were bought and supplied to military chaplains around the world through Holy Joe s Caf 70 people were sponsored and received Christmas gifts through Any Baby Can 202 incarcerated women in the Coleman Unit received gift bags reminding them that they are not forgotten Asylum seekers in Austin received gift baskets assembled with love by over 40 volunteers Dozens of children in Travis County received lovingly wrapped Christmas gifts through the Brown Santa initiative Children in Zimbabwe received the funding and books needed to provide education along with seeds tools and water to develop gardens through It Starts with Soccer Food was cooked and prizes funded to provide a night of bingo and good cheer at Community First Village Many voices joined our Chancel Choir to sing Christmas carols with our more seasoned neighbors at Querencia Senior Living Expect to see more of this incredible work from Service this year and make plans to participate generously recognizing that God has more than enough to meet our own needs and the many needs we see around us If you re looking for a place to start the Methodist Team Build with Habitat for Humanity begins in February of this year

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Fellowship We love breaking bread together because it nourishes the Body of Christ in body and spirit And when the Fellowship Committee is involved there is always enough to go around They devote themselves to providing WUMC with opportunities to gather for food and fun and even a little competition Thanks to this incredible team we have the Dessert Bake Off Potlucks and all church meals like the Baked Potato Bar Lunch and the Ice Cream ChillOff Pizza Party They even help support annual events like the Fall Festival in October and Cookies with Santa in December It s hard to catch these busy team members as they work behind the scenes washing dishes in the Hobart but the next time you do say Thank you We recognize that one of the ways God provides for our relational needs is through fellowship with one another at WUMC This past fall and beyond new efforts have been made to help folks reconnect around meals in Table Groups following a prolonged season of limited face to face encounters during the pandemic This year we will continue to gather in fun creative and meaningful ways Let s grow together as we fellowship more with one another in 2023

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Welcoming Did you know that each month WUMC welcomes all new movers within a certain radius of the church Through a partnership with a local company we re spreading the news about our welcoming church to our newest neighbors and inviting them to come and participate with us We know it can be awkward to step into a church for the first time Studies have shown that church visitors decide whether or not they ll return within the first seven minutes of that visit Thank God for our Welcome Committee because they are filled with joy and passionate about sharing the secret of how amazing WUMC is with everyone who walks in the church doors We strive to come alongside first time guests and provide guidance to help them connect to a small group understanding that a person is more likely to stick with the church when they find their people Folks from our Welcome Committee also join us at annual community events sponsored by the Westlake Chamber of Commerce to help spread the simple yet powerful message that WUMC is a church that cares about serving inclusivity and you at every age and stage of life This year we will continue to welcome new movers and fund more advertising on social media for community events sermon series and seasonal worship And through personal interactions we will continue to spread the word that we are a church that cares and demonstrates its love for God by loving all of our neighbors as God loves us

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Children s Ministry Can I read the scripture today with my new Bible Sam asked as the children s Sunday School class sat down to dive into the lesson of the day during Sunday school Sam had just received his Bible as a gift from the church as we give Bibles to our Third Grade kids Sam was not the only child excited to have his new Bible The fourth and fifth grade students expressed their enthusiasm for Sam to have a New Bible reminiscing on how they received one in third grade The interest in the Bible didn t stop at receiving a new Bible but as the kids explored the Bible through the new Sunday School curriculum The kids love Cool Carl who teaches and learns alongside them on Sunday mornings The new curriculum is only one way the kids have been growing this year The Children s ministry developed an amazing Summer Camp at Westlake previously called VBS and numerous children from the church and community came and learned about Jesus The children have not only been learning but have also been serving On the first Sunday of the month they give their time to come and lead service at 9 am as a part of Children First Worship Service As a part of the Christmas in October efforts they made and decorated ornaments to hang on the angel tree to help collect toys for the Brown Santa program They then delivered these toys and helped wrap many gifts for families in the Travis County area that the sheriff s department was able to deliver to the families The children of Westlake UMC show no sign of slowing down on their desire to learn grow and serve Through the help of the Westlake Family the Children s ministry will be able to continue to impact the lives of many children in the Westlake area

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Youth Ministry Summer trips are a part of what makes youth ministry special Over this past summer we loaded up a couple of vans and took 25 people to Mountain Top in Tennessee During our week at Mountain top we helped numerous people through clearing brush painting porches and building lean tos The work that the youth and adults performed was life changing for the homeowners We of course took time to have fun along the way While we were traveling to Mountain Top we were able to stop at an awe inspiring pyramid that housed a Bass Pro Shop Travel is a common theme while youth are having a blast Traveling Turkeys was a huge hit with our youth and their friends We were able to travel to three different houses to have a progressive Thanksgiving Dinner Gathering around tables for conversation food and fellowship was very enjoyable for our youth as well as our host homes For our Christmas party this year we hosted a Silent Disco in our church gym Numerous students and adults gathered for the silent disco We were able to have dinner snacks and massive door prizes All of these amazing events were able to happen because of the contribution from our fantastic congregation This year we are excited to have more fun together and continue growing in our capacity for compassion and service

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Congregational Care A participant in this year s Grief Support Seminar remarked The compassionate love and support that Westlake UMC extends even across thousands of miles is incredible This is not an uncommon sentiment Congregational Care facilitates our ministry of care through trained Stephen Ministers and by empowering and mobilizing individuals and small groups in the church Every Wednesday a group gathers via Zoom to pray by name for each individual and situation on our public prayer list as well as many others that desire more privacy Members of our congregation write cards cook or order meals knit blankets and prayer shawls make phone calls and have returned to in person visits and pray with people connected with our community in times of joy and sadness In all seasons of life the church strives to be present in peoples lives

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Preschool Westlake United Methodist Preschool has served the Westlake community for 42 years and we continue to provide the best possible quality as a Texas Rising Star program The preschool has undergone many changes in the past couple of years After shutting down and then reopening under pandemic restrictions this is the first school year where things are beginning to feel like normal again We re back to having Chapel time and music classes every week and once again we re able to invite families back into the school for special events like Christmas Chapel and holiday parties Last summer we reduced the number of classrooms by removing the walls between our twos and threes classrooms which gives us the flexibility to base student enrollment in relation to the number of staff available Our enrollment is lower than before the pandemic so we have room to grow We continue to adapt in order to meet the needs of our neighbors with young children while making sure we maintain the highest standards in care

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2023 WUMC Operating Budget Personally you may be feeling that we are heading into interesting financial times and the same is true for Westlake United Methodist Church The 2023 operating budget for WUMC is 1 188 589 00 which represents an increase of 88 173 00 or 8 over 2022 As we all know the cost of everything from eggs to wages have increased significantly over the past year The bulk of our church increase is related to Facilities and Staffing It s costing us more to heat cool and maintain our property and buy supplies for our programs and ministries But even more critically we must ensure that we increase earnings for our incredibly gifted and faithful staff so they are compensated with a livable wage given the higher than usual pace of inflation and cost of living in our area As we continue to reconvene post pandemic and build momentum in our church community it s essential to support our ministries and people for the purpose of serving God s mission and ministry through WUMC We are called to be faithful stewards of all that God has entrusted to us and your stunning generosity rises to the occasion every year Thank you so very much for continuing to faithfully discern how God is nudging you to commit financially to support WUMC in 2023 Through prayer and faithful response we will most certainly have Enough 2023 Budget 1 188 589 2022 Budget 1 100 416 8 Enough Discovering Joy Through Simplicity and Generosity About the Sticker As a visual reminder of a call to generosity we invite you to place this easily removable sticker in a place where you will see it multiple times throughout your day Printed on it is a short prayer that calls us to gratitude simplicity and generosity all excellent reminders as we make decisions throughout our day about how to spend our gifts and resources You may stick it on your rearview mirror or put it on your laptop or it s been sized for the back of your cell phone an item most of us literally have in hand throughout the day It is my prayer that in coming weeks we might all grow in gratitude as we embrace simplicity and extravagant generosity