Destined For Joy

September Stewardship Letter

Beloved in Christ,

As you are receiving this, I am in the Colorado Rockies with my sons in the Arapahoe National Forest Wilderness. Despite our separation in miles, you are on my heart and in my prayers. I am very grateful for you, my Church family. You are loving, supportive and living into what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ. Paul’s words from his letter to the Philippians 1:3-6 comes to mind for me: 

“I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.”

Together, we serve the Lord God who loves us in abundance, and who gives us everything we need for our life and salvation. We can do all things in him.

As I typically do in the fall, I am writing to you to introduce our Stewardship series which will begin in October, and also, appealing to you to help with some specific needs we have right now. 

In terms of our Stewardship Series, on October 13, 20 and 27, we’ll be exploring through God’s word why and how we are called to be good stewards of all that God blesses us with; it all comes from Him. In addition, the week before that begins, on October 6, we will gather for a Congregational Meeting to explain our transition into our new building facility which looks like it will happen in the month of November. For that to happen smoothly, there are some immediate needs we have which I’d like to outline here. My prayer is that you will prayerfully consider how you can participate in meeting those needs. Our most immediate needs are as follows:

  • Kitchen: Our builder is in the process of completing construction of our full kitchen which we would like to be able to utilize from day one in the building. In addition, we have carefully been able to outfit the kitchen through auction purchases at pennies on the dollar for appliances, prep tables, shelving, etc. And, by the grace of God, we’ve been awarded a $25,000 matching grant towards the kitchen. Yes, a matching grant, which on the terms of the donor needs $25,000 in matching funds before it can be paid out to us. To date, we’ve quietly raised just over just over $4,000 specifically for the kitchen. We need this grant to be able to finish up the kitchen. Every dollar donated specifically toward the kitchen will go to meet the match. I ask that you prayerfully consider a gift toward this. It’s a way to have your gift “doubled” with the match!

  • Sanctuary Chairs: We have a need for new, comfortable sanctuary chairs and have plans to purchase them but do not yet have funding in place. So, we are inviting you to “buy” chairs for yourself and your family, and, as God moves your heart, for new folks who will be coming to Apostles in the near future. The cushioned chairs we’ve picked out cost close to $40 each with shipping. Would you prayerfully consider participating by buying yourself a chair or two, perhaps one or more for a guest?

  • Prepping, Planting, Moving and cleaning help: As we get ready to move in, we’ll need to organize, move and do a final clean-up of the new space. We’ll also need to tidy-up the space we’re leaving at Pender Drive. Would you consider giving some of your time and talent to help the staff in this way? There also will be shrubs to plant so we’ll need some inside and outside help. Please contact the office and let us know how and when you can help, and we’ll publicize as the time gets near when and where your help can be applied.

My friends in Christ, know that I would not ask you to do anything I’m not willing to do myself. Beth and I have given generously to this project and are contributing with our time, talent, and treasure as well to do our part to see it all through. Will you partner with us? I am trusting in our Lord, the Great Provider, and have seen time and time again how He provides for his people, through His people. I pray you will experience His joy and peace as you respond to Him in obedience. If you’d like, I have resources for families and small groups to aid you in studying God’s word on stewardship that will be made available when I return the first week in October. In the meantime, I pray God’s blessings upon you, for His peace to be with you every day, and for His joy to fill your heart knowing you are loved dearly by Him.

Your brother in Christ Jesus,

Joe Acanfora+

What a Difference a Year Makes!

Dear friends in Christ,

It was just a year ago we began felling trees on our property in preparation for a new building. Now, as you can see, we’re making steady progress for a hopeful completion, by God’s grace, later this fall.

It’s been fun to watch the changes and progress, even though there have been obstacles to overcome along the way. They’ve been a good reminder that it is only by the grace of God that this is happening and will come to completion. One of my favorite Bible passages from Lamentations 3:22-23 says:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

This beautiful love poem is a sure reminder that we can count on Him for all things, and He will see us through. This building project has been a life lesson into full dependence on God, and your prayers for His continued faithfulness are much appreciated.

In  particular, please continue to pray for the safety of the workers and the Lord’s blessing on them and their families, especially Chuck, our site superintendent, a faithful brother in Christ.

Please pray for good weather so the work may progress, for timely delivery of materials, and guidance for all concerned.

Please lift up our neighbors, some of whom are stressed by the changes in the landscape. Pray their fears will be relieved and that they will be at peace knowing our intent to be good respectful neighbors.

Please lift up Fairfax County and all whom we’re dealing with there, that they will treat us fairly and reasonably and that the favor of the Lord goes before us in all of our dealings.

Please pray for our finances. In November of 2018, I challenged us to raise an additional $300,000 this year and next year ($300,000 each year), to finish up this project with everything we need.  By God’s grace, we brought in over $101,639 since then! Thank you. Pray the Lord continues to provide through our generosity and ask of Him what He would have you contribute.

Finally, I ask for your prayers for the leadership of the church. Our vestry and staff work diligently in the service of the Lord. Pray for the Lord to bless, guide and give us His strength to meet the challenges before us, and mostly for us to turn it all over to Him and rely on His strength in the knowledge that:

He who calls us is faithful and true; he will surely do it.”

I am so excited about all that’s gone on this year. Not just in our building, but also our working and volunteering at Willow Springs School, our feeding ministries in DC and Fairfax, the miracles we’ve seen though our Healing Ministry, and the joy of our worship time together on Sundays and other special times.

A big thank you goes out to our Sunday Volunteer team who makes it possible each week, and to all of you who make up the Body of Christ at Apostles. May our Lord bless us this year, and the year to come.

Yours in Christ -

Joe Acanfora

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 inform you of our finances at Apostles and 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 $41,478.09 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 $940,000. 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 tune 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

Groundbreaking Celebration

Sunday, August 19, 2018
11717 Lee Highway
Fairfax VA, 22030

The Lord blessed us with beautiful weather and a striking setting for our Groundbreaking Celebration on Lee Highway! Set within the footprint of our new building, we worshiped together under a tent and asked the children and youth, the next generation, to break the ground. It was a time of palpable joy and celebration with old friends and members of the community joining us in praise of God for his many blessings to us along this journey toward a new home. Bishop John Guernsey and former Rector David Harper joined Joe and Josh to celebrate communion on the very spot where the altar will be situated in the new building. We were also joined by representatives of Fairfax County. How firm our foundation in Christ alone!