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State of the Church

Dear Christ United Friends & Donors,

It is my pleasure to report that, amid a very challenging and increasingly secular culture, the ministry of Christ United remains vital and relevant. Our commitment to changing the world by “Loving God, Serving Others, and Transforming Lives” made an enormous impact in 2018, and our plans for 2019 include an expansion of that ministry. Thank you for your commitment, vision, and support.

Highlights from 2018:

  • Our ministry to those in need. Christ United’s signature mission, Project Hope, and its many subsidiaries, including School on Sunday, continued to help people move out of poverty and into productive and meaningful lives. We saw at-risk teenagers graduate from high school, and adults receive professional accreditation and college degrees. Our ministry to people experiencing homelessness exploded in 2018 with a number of new programs and scores of volunteers. A full summary of those programs would fill pages, but I encourage you to get more information at cumc.com/resolvingpoverty.


  • Our ministry to children and their families. Extraordinary creativity and outreach by our Children’s Ministry made an enormous difference to many families. In addition to Sunday School, Easter Egg Hunt, and Breakfast with Santa, special programming such as Screenagers and The Spiritual Child helped to inform and inspire parents in the ongoing task of nurturing Christian children. Our tutoring and mentoring programs impacted lives at three local elementary schools, and School on Sunday continued to be a game-changer for at-risk public-school children.


  • Stewardship. Your generosity and commitment continued to be exemplary. The new tax law is having a negative impact on churches, but we met all our ministry goals and closed the year with a balanced budget. On behalf of the many recipients of your good will and generosity, I thank you. Your support has enabled us to attract and retain one of the most talented staffs in Methodism.


Upcoming in 2019:

  • Expansion of our ministry to at-risk children. We know that the future of America lies with our children, and that elementary education is where we find the most leverage in altering the trajectory of those who are at risk. An end-of-the-year experiment at Dooley Elementary has opened the door to yet another very creative approach to serving these children, their parents, and their teachers. I can honestly say that I know of no other church that has taken the responsibility of helping the next generation more seriously than Christ United, and we thank you for your incredible support.


  • More opportunities for connection. We now know that social isolation and loneliness are major challenges in today’s digital world. Our Strategic Vision for 2019 includes creating more opportunities for powerful social and personal engagement, including Bible studies, mission groups, Sunday School classes and small groups. Our vision is that every member of Christ United will have the opportunity for engaging relationships in a small group setting.


  • An exciting transition. The United Methodist Church mandates retirement at age 72, which will be the summer of 2020 for me. The Pastor Parish Committee will make an announcement early in 2019 about the process for expanding our staff in a way that will ensure strong and vital leadership for the next decade. I am very excited about this, and you will be too. Stay tuned!


In Conclusion:

I wish I had the time and space to share more with you about the excitement and the challenges of being a part of the remarkable ministry you have helped to create. Our shared vision of changing lives with the love of Christ – especially for those in need and for the next generation – has been more fruitful than any of us could have dreamed. For that we are indebted to the grace of God. If you have questions or would like to meet for more information, please call me here at the church or respond to this email directly.


Rev. Don Underwood
Senior Pastor