Thank you to every member who attended the annual Business Meeting last Sabbath evening. Before I continue with a recap of the meeting, I must correct the meeting name. The meeting should have been renamed “The Annual Church Family Mission and Ministry Meeting.” For the seventy-plus members in attendance, the meeting promptly began at 5 pm and a motion was immediately voiced and voted that the meeting would last for two hours. The first thirty minutes of the meeting were dedicated to refocusing on the Biblical mission of the church (Discipleship and Witnessing) and a season of corporate prayer. Every attendee was encouraged to pray in groups of two or three for a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit as we prepared to spend time together refocusing on our mission “To Know Jesus and To Make Him Known.”
Following the devotional and prayer the next hour and a half was dedicated to ministry reports and the important task of funding the ministries and mission of the church. Our clerk, Shashikala Sanjeev shared the minutes from last year’s meeting and an up-to-date church membership statistical report. Just as we have a family budget to run our homes the church requires a yearly budget to operate its ministries, church staffing, and facility costs which cover utilities and repairs. Once again, we are grateful for the surplus funds that the church received in 2023 from our membership, community friends, online viewers, and supporters for the 2023 church budget. The members in attendance voted a modest 1.4% increase for the 2024 budget over the previous year’s operational budget. Every year the new budget is an act of faith. As the Lord blesses us, we are encouraged to do our parts in support of the message and mission of Christ and His church on earth. A special shout-out to Roger Amorim and the Finance team for all the work that is done behind the scenes in monitoring and preparing financial budgets.
An evangelistic plan was introduced for 2024 which included as its key component, a revitalization of Adult Sabbath School. A new format entitled “Sabbath School Alive” was introduced by Pastor Henry and Rose Frias with three key foundational elements. “Sabbath School Alive” a General Conference initiative is built upon 1. Bible Study and Prayer, 2. Fellowship and Witnessing, and 3. Local and Foreign Mission Emphasis. This initiative has been embraced by the world church and combines the ministries and Adult Sabbath School and Personal Ministries as one department. For “Sabbath School Alive” to succeed and flourish in Willowdale, all of us must be willing to understand and embrace the meaning of the word “revitalize.” Revitalize simply means to refresh, revive, and renew the original purpose of Sabbath School. The founding purpose of Sabbath School is for members to study the Bible together and be trained and equipped for service. As disciples of Christ, we are to be witnesses and soul-winners in our day-to-day interactions with others. Every Youth, Young Adult, and Adult Sabbath School class at Willowdale has a two-fold goal in 2024: 1. nurture and care for existing class members, and 2. win one new soul to Jesus.
The Buildings and Grounds Committee Chair Marc Marcos shared recent upgrades (heating, plumbing, and insulation repairs) to our building. The members present were extremely happy with the updates and applauded the work that has been completed over the last three months (November/December 2023 and January 2024). Our members were also super excited about the next steps regarding our church renovations. The church renovation and décor committee has been tasked with the responsibility of having a renovation plan developed in 2024. Please remember to fund the work of renovating and maintaining our sixty-year-old church building with your faithful financial support.
The highlight of the evening was the presence of our high school youth/members who sat in the first three rows of the gathered audience. They stayed for the duration of the two-hour meeting. Privately I had asked them to attend for 30 minutes, and then they would be free to go, but they stayed. Hallelujah! In my thirty-plus years of ministry, I have never seen a group of high school students attend a business meeting like they did, from beginning to end. At the 6:30 pm mark, our youth became servers in distributing warm soup and buns to the attendees. Thank you to the hospitality committee for this special treat. We concluded the meeting at 7 pm with a PowerPoint year-end review of the ministry at Willowdale for the year 2023. Thank you to Meredith Cudanin and her team for this presentation. The annual business meeting of the church constitutes the ultimate decision-making body of the local church and God was present in our gathering and our decisions. Members of Willowdale, thank you once again for your presence, support, and prayers. “To God be the glory, great things He has done.”
Pastor Glenn DeSilva