What a difference a year can make! Last year, we were collectively digging out of a mountain of snow, and enduring cold temps. This year, it was a very different story, with little to no snow, mild temps and green grass into December.
It will be my pleasure to serve as the Council President again this year, along with Ashley Mattson returning as the VP. New this year, Josie LaFave and Andy Kohls, will begin their terms as Secretary and Treasurer. At the same time, I’d like to thank outgoing Council members Deb Rude, Joan Halderson, and Jim Bischoff for their time and contributions during their terms. Deb served as Secretary each year I have been on Council and always did an exceptional job of capturing the happenings of our meetings and helping to keep us all on track. Joan served as Treasurer, supporting the Finance Committee and keeping the Council apprised of all things financial. I appreciated Jim always providing straightforward dialogue, willing to share his opinion, and always helped ensure we were adjourned in a timely manner. We have three new members joining the Council this year: Chad Peterson, Heather Damico, and Hannah Peterson. We are all looking forward to partnering with them in their new roles, getting them up to speed, and making an immediate impact as we enter 2024.
As I looked back over 2023, I would say Zion had a great year. Early in the year, we identified priorities that as a congregation we should achieve, such as calling and installing an Associate Pastor, and we did.
The youth education programs continue to be a bright spot for our church. VBS had a great program and was well attended this summer and Confirmation classes have never been larger. The leadership initiative to reengage teens is working. Attendance at weekly high school youth group up 1700% and is continuing to grow.
Financially, giving has been steady. However, increased staffing along with increased activity within the church in providing our ministries has resulted in associated higher expenses. Zion has a comfortable cash balance as of the end of 2023, but increased faithful giving will be necessary to continue to support God’s work being done by the staff and members of Zion.
As this new Council meets in January, we will set priorities as a cohesive team and begin the process of entering a new year, with both a Senior and Associate Pastor in place, and looking forward to all we can accomplish together.