Destined For Joy II - January 2019 Update

Beloved in Christ,

Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ; God is with us in him.

Over the past two months I have written to informing you of our finances at Apostlesand our continued opportunities for your year-end giving, especially toward our Destined For Joy campaign. Thanks be to God, you are responding generously. I am happy to report that as of today, we, the faithful people of God have given $37,278.49 toward our Destined For JoyII campaign just since this appeal went out in mid-November 2018. This is over and above our regular giving and over and above the $1,900 we raised at our Christmas Craft Sale. Thank you for your faithful generosity! This puts us well on our way toward our goal of raising $600,000 over the next two years for Destined For Joy II.

In addition, you the faithful people of God by His grace, finished up 2018 extremely strong, enabling us to finish the year in the positive for the operations of Church of the Apostles. Although our accounting for the year has not been completely finalized, to date it shows our total income for 2018 was $617,525, and our total expenses were $561,532. That leaves us $55,993 in the positive just in our operations. That does not include the $283,097 we gave in designated gifts that went to specific missionaries or ministries. That means, in total our generosity for the year exceeded $937,900. Thanks be to God!

As I stated in my December letters to you, we are hoping and praying to be able to complete and furnish our new building with everything needed for mission, ministry and worship. I mentioned some of the things not budgeted for in the building that we are hoping to secure are: the complete full service kitchen, state of the art audio-visual equipment for the sanctuary, and furnishings for the interior and exterior. 

I pray that as we move forward you will continue to join me in prayer, because as we know, all things are possible in God, and we are totally dependent upon Him. I ask you not only to pray for the Lord’s total provision, but also inquire of Him how he is leading you to be part of that provision. Many of us have been partners with God in His provision for others, (God moves us to be the answer to someone’s prayer). And, most of us have had our prayers answered by God through the generosity of others. It is all our Lord’s doing. Our part is to be in-tuned with Him so we can get in on what He is doing. I know I always find that to be a joy, even when it requires some self-sacrifice. Though we may sacrifice, none of us can come near to the sacrifice Jesus gave for each of us. That being said, in the words of the apostle Paul: I appeal to you brethren, by the mercies of God, to present yourself as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)

Please join me in praying for the workers on our building site as well. The weather has provided very uncomfortable working conditions lately in the cold, wet and damp. While I know they are all grateful for the work and the pay the work provides, please continue to pray for their health and safety and for their families.

Please mark on your calendars for Sunday, March 24 for our Annual Meeting, when we as a congregation will come together to move forward in decisions and share a time of fellowship and information. Know in the meantime, you’ll be getting an update like this each month from me.

Thank you, and bless you, and please let me hear from you if you have any questions; God be with you.

Your brother in Christ,

Joseph Acanfora

Christmas Pastoral Letter

Beloved in Christ,

A blessed Christmas to you and your family. I hope and trust you are enjoying the realization, especially this season, that God is truly with us in the person of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit. In times past, we referred to the counting of the years as AD 2018, from the Latin “Anno Domini,” “in the year of our Lord.” History turned when Jesus, King of Kings, took human form and was born on earth, and the world has never been the same. Amidst all the uncertainty we face in today’s day and age, we can be certain in knowing that despite all the turbulence, God is in charge and the reconciliation of all creation, accomplished through Jesus, is coming in its fullness. As His body on earth, the Church spreads this message of reconciliation through its words and actions. At the center of this is the heart of the Father, overflowing with His love for creation. We as His body are an important part of His means for dispensing that love. Especially in this season, please remember the awesome privilege and responsibility we have to be His means of grace, his continuing gift to the world, that the world will know his Son, and in knowing him, will experience his peace, hope, joy and love. May you and your family know this and live it.

Peace in Christ -

Joseph Acanfora

Year-End Giving Appeal - Part 3

Beloved in Christ,

Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ; God is with us in him.

Over the past month I have written to you informing you of our finances at Apostles and opening opportunities for your year-end giving, especially toward our Destined For Joy campaign, and thanks be to God, you are responding generously. I am happy to report that as of today, we, the faithful people of God have given $13,567 toward our Destined For Joy campaign since the appeal went out in mid-November. This is over and above our regular giving and in addition to the $1,830 we raised at our Christmas Craft Sale. Thank you for your faithful generosity!

If you have not made a pledge or gift, your offerings to this campaign are most welcome as they will be funding a “city on a hill” from which the light and joy of Jesus Christ will shine. As I stated in the first of these year-end appeal letters we will be in need of roughly $600,000 in additional funding to complete our audio-visual equipment and installation (~$120,000), completion of our full kitchen to serve those in need as well as for our own use (~$100,000), interior furnishings (~$130,000), and $250,000. in principle reduction for our final closing when construction is complete in 2019. After the success of Phase One of our Destined for Joy Campaign, we believe God is calling us to raise this $600,000 within the next two years to bring all of this to fruition. With the great start we’re experiencing only a month into this, I am confident we will get there and grateful for you who are joining in. As you prayerfully contemplate your year-end giving, please consider blessing Apostles with your generosity.

Most importantly, please join the Vestry, Staff and Beth and me in continuing to pray. While our financial need is real, it will continue to take the Hand of God to propel us forward. I know, as Paul tells us: “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” - (1Thes 5:24)

Let us take joy in knowing we serve our Lord who is faithful in all things. Let us remain rooted in Him, connected to Jesus as the branches of His vine, empowered forward by his Holy Spirit. In this upcoming Christmastide, as we experience the joy and peace of Emanuel, God’s greatest gift to each of us, I pray that “the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, that your whole spirit and soul and body will be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – (1 Thes. 5:23)And that you would take joy in knowing our heavenly Father finds you blameless by what our Savior Jesus has done for us. May all we do give him honor and glory, and be a blessing to the people he loves. 

Let me hear from you if you have any questions; God be with you.

Your brother in Christ,

Joseph Acanfora

Year-End Giving Appeal - Part 2

Beloved in Christ,

Grace and peace to you in Jesus Christ this Advent Season, as we joyfully anticipate the coming of Emanuel.

As we progress through this season of expectant waiting in anticipation of the coming of Emanuel, we’re exploring this season through the four lenses of Peace, Hope, Joy and Love. The first week of Advent we talked about Peace. Peace that has come between God and man by the saving work of Christ, and because of that, the peace that is permeating creation because we can now have a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. We talked about the effect this makes in our lives, how we can be at peace with others, and even the world because Jesus’ redemption is for all. This past week we discussed the Hope of Advent. How we are people of hope not because of a blind optimism, and certainly not because of worldly evidence that it all will be fine, but because of the character of God. His love for us, his generosity toward us is so great that we can be hopeful because we know He is in charge and is bringing about his grand plan for our good and the good of all creation. In the next two weeks we’ll talk about Joy and Love, so stay tuned for that!

As part of being people of hope, we know God has good things in store for us when we remain yoked to Him and are co-laboring with him as the Body of Christ. As I appealed to you two weeks ago regarding year end giving and Phase 2 of our Destined For Joy campaign, I encourage you to prayerfully consider your year-end giving, and over the next two years supporting the long range work of Church of the Apostles and Apostles Campus Church by financially supporting the completion and launch of our worship and ministry outreach center at 11717 Lee Hwy in Fairfax. We have furnishing to buy, a kitchen to complete, and we want to have a quality sound and audio system in our sanctuary to praise God in Spirit, Truth, and Beauty without distractions.  We are counting on God’s faithfulness and your generosity to work toward these ends. As of this writing, you’ve already contributed $7,360 toward Phase 2 of our Destined For JoyCampaign, plus we’ve raised an additional $1,830 through our craft sale just for the kitchen!  We are off to a great start as we end 2018. As I stated in my letter to you two weeks ago, we are hoping to raise about $600,000. during this Phase 2 period of Destined For Joyover the next two years, and we can use the typical boost we get at year’s end to help jump start this effort, so I hope you will prayerfully consider being generous to this cause.

Most importantly, please join the Vestry, Staff and Beth and me in continuing to pray. While our financial need is real; it will continue to take the Hand of God to propel us forward.  I know, as Paul tells us: “He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.” - (1 Thes. 5:24)

Let us take joy in knowing we serve our Lord who is faithful in all things. Let us remain rooted in Him, connected to Jesus as the branches of His vine, empowered forward by his Holy Spirit. As we look ahead, prayerfully awaiting the coming of Emanuel, I pray that “the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, that your whole spirit and soul and body will be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” – (1 Thes. 5:23) And that you would take joy in knowing our heavenly Father finds you blameless by what our Savior Jesus has done for us. May all we do give him honor and glory, and be a blessing to the people he loves. 

Let me hear from you if you have any questions; God be with you.

Your brother in Christ,

Joseph Acanfora