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Each year the membership of VCL gathers in November to lay the groundwork for the year ahead. We agree to a new budget, affirm key officers, talk about plans, and pray together. By November 11 we will send our annual reports and budget, via email, to everyone in the church. Hard copies will be available on that day as well. Each of our staff and ministry leaders prepare reports to provide an overview of our church’s work.

At this meeting, members will be asked to affirm two new elders and a new treasurer as well as incumbents in several positions. While the Board of Elders does not need to be larger, we feel that adding two younger men would strengthen our board. The names of these nominees will be in the bulletin.

At this writing the budget for 2013 has not yet been finalized, however it will be somewhat higher than this year’s $505,000. Increases will be explained in the meeting. We will be asking the congregation to approve a 5-10 hour per week assistant for Susan Eclov in worship and education.

The elders will update the congregation on a task force being formed by Chris McNiven to define more clearly our distinct identity and direction as a church. From this we expect to provide a clearer rationale for additional staffing. The task force will seek to synthesize many discussions we have already had and to get additional input from the congregation. Their goal is to present a completed report to the elders in March. That will give us time to refine and present conclusions to the congregation at our May congregational meeting, if not sooner. We are not sure whether we will recommend additional staff at that time. If we do, the congregation must approve any new position as well as the increased budget to fund it.

Everyone in the congregation is invited to the annual meeting , although only members may participate in the voting. Childcare will be provided. The meeting will be Sunday evening, November 18, at 6:30 p.m.

Counting Noses

Each year at this time I do a census of our church. About 300 children and adults were listed in in our January 2012 directory. About 70 of those people are no longer at VCL, or 23% of our congregation. However, true to form, we gained back that same number in new attenders. Of those who left in 2012, 61% moved away. Others switched churches or stopped attending. We lost an unusually large number of undergrad students to graduation last year. There are fewer TIU students among this year’s newcomers and more local residents. This pattern of turnover is very similar to most other years.

Join with Other Churches to Pray for the Persecuted Church

The International Day of Prayer for the Persecuted Church is Sunday, November 11.

As is our custom, we will be joining with several other churches to pray for our Christian brothers and sisters who suffer for the faith in other parts of the world. The service this year will be held at Gracepointe Church, 1221 W. Maple Ave. (Rte. 176), Mundelein. We will pray from 6 to 7 p.m.

Typically, we pray in large and small groups for various specific countries and regions. Detailed prayer lists are provided so you can pray specifi-cally. We also hear stories of specific believers so we can pray for them. Persecuted Christians ask nothing of us but this: “Please pray for us!”

By Pastor Lee Eclov