Being Brave

I grew up in northern Florida, lived in Florida all my life, lived just south of the “Space Coast” for a while, and I never saw a space shuttle launch. I can remember, however, the day the Challenger exploded. We were outside wondering if we could see it going up into space, and we were shocked when we were called inside to watch the news coverage of the explosion. It’s one of those days that I will never forget.

A few years ago, when our family went to the Kennedy Space Center, a quote from that tragedy from then-President Ronald Reagan stood out to me. He said, “The future doesn’t belong to the fainthearted, it belongs to the brave.” (see photo)

I was reminded of this quote this last week when our church leadership was faced with an opportunity. You remember, last Friday I encouraged us to think of opportunities rather than obstacles. St. Mark’s was faced with an opportunity, and we chose to be brave.

Did you know that we have carried a mortgage payment from our last building project? It’s true. When we built the office wing, we ran short of funds and secured a mortgage to finish the project. We’ve been paying on it since. Over the years, we have talked about paying it off, or paying part of it. Mostly, we simply continued paying this mortgage as though it had become part of us.

This week our final balloon payment was due, and we had choices to make: pay it off, refinance, take up a special offering, explore other options. We chose to be brave. Following the Finance Committee’s unanimous recommendation, the Covenant Council met and affirmed by vote that we pay it off. On Monday, our Finance chair and associate pastor took our last mortgage payment of just over $119,000 to the bank. Praise God!

This is a brave act. In a year when we are rebuilding and reopening and questioning what’s next in a post-pandemic world, we choose not to be fainthearted, but to be brave with the resources you have given this church. It is a brave act because in making this choice, we have reduced our general reserves by nearly half, leaving us with enough money in our reserves to almost cover our expected budget shortfall this year. We make this brave choice knowing that God is good, and we will continue to both watch our expenses and trust in the blessings of our church and of our God.

We will celebrate this milestone at 11 a.m. next Sunday, Feb. 27 on the patio, with our district superintendent supervising a mortgage burning and with cake for all. We invite you to join us as we celebrate the faithfulness of God and our church, and as we look forward to a brave future together, debt-free.
In the meantime, I wonder what brave thing you will do? The future, after all, doesn’t belong to the fainthearted.

See you soon,
Pastor Lynn

(Please note, masks are required during all services as well as inside all St. Mark’s buildings.)

Join us for worship:

  • 8:30 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary and child care in Rm 15
  • 10 a.m. Modern worship service with Praise Team in Fellowship Hall
  • 10 a.m. Traditional service with choirs in Sanctuary
  • 10 a.m. Youth and children’s Sunday School and child care
  • 10 a.m. Livestream premieres on YouTube and Website

To access our livestream service:

  • From the main menu on our website click “Worship.”  -OR-
  • Go to YouTube and search for UMC St. Mark’s Oro Valley or use this link.