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Dear Congregational Family,
1.       Blessed Thanksgiving!  I encourage you to come to our Thanksgiving Service on Thanksgiving morning at 10:00am.  This has always been a very special service at Ruthfred as we gather to give thanks to God!  At Ruthfred, we have much to be thankful for as we look back over this past year.  God has blessed us indeed! 
·       Our nation has had a rich heritage of “Thanksgiving” as there were proclaims issued for days of thanksgiving which date back to the times of the Pilgrims (1621), the Colonial days, and national proclamations by President Washington.  Following presidents proclaimed it intermittently.  
·       “Thanksgiving Day” was officially established to be an annual observance in the U.S. by President Abraham Lincoln.  This was done during the bleak days of the Civil War. It was a call to turn to the Lord in repentance, praise, thanks, and earnest prayer.  As we come to the Lord, we give thanks for all that has been given, as well as humbly pray for God’s continued provisions.
·       My favorite Thanksgiving Prayer:
“You have given so much to me, Give one thing more, a grateful heart.” 
– George Herbert (1593-163)
2.       Congregational Meeting:  Last Sunday was our annual Congregational Fall Meeting to approve the 2019 Church Budget.  Thank you to our president, Gary Ausefski, and to Rich Kleiser for leading the meeting, presenting the budget, and fielding questions.  There was a wonderful spirit at the meeting, and the Budget was approved (I think unanimously!). 
There were a couple questions which might warrant further clarification: 
o   Question: “Would the Council prefer that people decrease their giving designation to the Current Fund, and increase it to the Benevolence Fund, so that Council would not have to transfer money from the Current Fund to the Benevolence Fund in order to meet our budgeted giving amounts?”
o   Answer: “No, actually it is better to have extra in the Current Fund which can be easily transferred into the Benevolence Fund if needed, because if there are excess funds in Benevolence, they can not be transferred to the Current Fund.”  In summary, the Current Fund is the Fund from which any need can be meet (if, of course the funds are available!).
o   Question:  “Why is the Budgeted Benevolence Giving ‘flat’ as opposed to other expenses which have increased.
o   Answer:  We have are thankful to have continued to have robust Benevolence Giving through our church!  In years past, Ruthfred had a very large Endowment Fund which produced significant interest (especially when rates were high).  All of the interest went into the Benevolence Fund.  When the last addition at Ruthfred was built, that Endowment Fund was emptied out for building expenses.  Therefore, the source of interest money for Benevolence was cut off.  In order to make this up, the Current Fund was tapped at a much greater rate which put additional pressure on that Fund.  This is one reason why we have not always been able to increase our percentage of benevolence giving each year, as we had sometimes been able to do in the past.  Regardless, let us not lose sight of the fact that, we continue as a congregation to give 20%+ of our entire budget which is far and away beyond the average giving of churches in the U.S. 
o   I’m so glad that we have a long heritage of generous giving, and a heart to continue it and look for ways to increase not only our giving, but also our personal involvement in the mission of sharing and living out the Good News of the Gospel!
3.       New Members: Last Sunday we received a wonderful group of new members!  Please take opportunities to get to know: John Bender, Jr., Rebecca Brown, Kathy Corazza, David Grafton, Ron Stout, Elaine Widich, and Patty Willmott.  Sharon Robbins and George & Nancy MacDonald have also moved back to the area and have transferred back to Ruthfred Lutheran Church.  Welcome!!

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving, as we continue, 
                “Growing Together in our Faith as the Family of God.”

                                 Pastor Carlson

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