Letter from Pastor Leo

A Letter from Pastor Leo

Dear Bear Creek Family,

I am so grateful to the Bear Creek family for the love and support you give to Lupe and me. I am thankful for the financial support to Bear Creek these first eight months of 2022. This is an amazing congregation! Despite a 15% decrease in giving, we have continued to provide quality and effective ministry to our church and community. I understand everyone has been impacted by inflation and the economy and appreciate your intention to continue to support Bear Creek financially. Although some have struggled with giving this year, others have stepped up their giving and filled in the gap. I love that we can be there for each other and make up the difference when some members of our family are suffering.

I hear positive stories every week of individuals affected by the ministries of Bear Creek through our preschool, the food pantry (MESA partnership), and Bible studies for children, youth, and adults, as well as the hospitality of our members on Sunday mornings. You are making an eternal difference in the lives of others. Please start telling everyone about our Kid’s Church that starts Sunday, October 2. Can you imagine all of the little lives that will be impacted? Thank you.

The Family Life Center building HVAC system

Now for an update on the HVAC system in the Family Life Center. Sally Lehnert, Trustees Chair says, “The Family Life Center building HVAC system includes 8 large compressors and ductwork. This system is over 20 years old.”

“Over the last two to three years individual compressors have stopped working. With eight original compressors, four on each line, we have been able to continue cooling the FLC building even after one and two compressors died. That was until early this summer when two more compressors quit working. We are now down to three compressors out of the eight. With fewer compressors moving cooled air, the humidity rises in the building. We are currently pushing air around with portable fans. Trustees chose to replace the entire system with new state-of-the-art equipment rather than replace each compressor as they failed. The new equipment we have ordered uses a different coolant and will be more efficient. The new equipment should arrive by the end of the year. Fortunately, we are past the hottest months and will use less air conditioning this Fall.”

Brent Kieschnick, Finance Chair, says, “The cost to replace the HVAC is $275k. With our existing loan payment increasing in November due to principal payments restarting, the Finance committee is evaluating financing options that will enable this needed replacement and limit the impact on our operating budget.”

What can you do?

There are three things I am asking of each member these next three months. Please pray and commit to

  1. Giving generously to the operating budget, whether you pledged or didn’t pledge.
  2. Giving above and beyond your pledge to offset the extra expense brought on by replacing the HVAC
  3. Making your 2023 Pledge during our upcoming Stewardship Campaign to enable us to plan our 2023 budget

As I begin my sabbatical today, I am praying for you and every member of Bear Creek United Methodist Church. The Conference has assigned Rev. David Meeker-Williams to be the Interim Pastor while I am on sabbatical. Pastor David has spent some time with the staff this week and is eager to be with you. I had lunch with him and his wife Marilyn and they are a wonderful couple, both retired United Methodist pastors. I enjoyed my visit with them. They are dedicated to Bear Creek’s success these next three months. Come to worship this Sunday to meet Pastor David and Marilyn. Give them a warm Bear Creek welcome.

Lupe and I appreciate your allowing us to take this time. The conference designed the short-term sabbatical for the edification of the pastor, educationally and/or experientially for their leadership of the local church. During my sabbatical, I will finish writing a book that I have been working on since arriving at Bear Creek, and complete one-week (45 hours) coaching training offered by the conference in October. For the renewal of my soul, I am planning some fishing, creating memories with the grandkids, spending time with my Mom in Louisiana, enjoying adventures with Lupe, reflecting in some quiet time with God, and finding other activities that will recharge, renew and refresh me.

You can expect a video update in 30 days, the next one in 60 days, and before you know it I will be back in the pulpit on Sunday, December 4. Please allow God to do something special for you during this time. We love you and will miss you. Thank you for staying engaged. Be courageous!

May you be refreshed,

Pastor Leo