“Remembering the Last Hours”

Photo Fun

Eighth grade students at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School(OLS) reenact the passion and death of Jesus Christ, as they presented a live version of the Stations of the Cross in a school assembly.

 

Fifth-grade students at Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic School reenacted the Passover Meal or Last Supper that took place shortly before Christ’s death.

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Pay Yourself First

Pay Yourself First

Money Matters

presented by: Vision Financial

Each month you settle down to pay bills. You pay your mortgage lender. You pay the electric company. You pay the trash collector. But do you pay yourself? One of the most basic tenets of sound investing involves the simple habit of “paying yourself first,” in other words, making the first payment of each month into your savings account.

Americans’ saving patterns vary widely. Too often, short-term economic trends can interrupt long-term savings programs. For example, the U.S. Personal Savings Rate jumped from 3.5% to nearly 8% in May 2008 during the housing and banking crisis. It then rose and fell sporadically as the economic environment appeared to stabilize.1

The Genius of Pay Yourself First. Anyone who’s ever managed their own finances knows that saving can be a challenge. There seems to be an endless stream of expenses that demand a piece of each month’s paycheck. Herein lies the genius of paying yourself first: you get the cream at the top of the bucket, and not the leftovers at the bottom.

The trick is to prioritize. Make it a point to put your future first. At first, saving may mean a small lifestyle change. But most individuals want to see their net worth increase steadily. For them, finding ways to save becomes more of a long-term commitment than a short-term challenge.

Putting Your Money to Work. What will you do with the money you save? If retirement is your priority, consider taking advantage of tax-advantaged investments. Employer-sponsored retirement plans, such as 401(k)s and 403(b)s, can be a great way to save because the money comes out of your paycheck before you even see it. Also, as an added incentive, some employers offer to match a percentage of your contributions.2

For money you may want to access before retirement, consider placing the funds in a separate account. When the balance hits your target, you may want to move the money into investments that offer the potential for higher returns. Of course, this may mean exposing your money to more volatility, so you’ll want to choose vehicles that fit your risk tolerance, time horizon, and long-term goals.

In the pursuit of growing wealth, sound habits can be your most valuable asset. Develop the habit of “paying yourself first” today. The sooner you begin, the more potential your savings may have to grow.

-S. Joey Elmore

Vision Financial Group, Inc.

4505 Pine Tree Circle, Birmingham, 35243

205-970-4909, www.vision-financialgroup.com

 

 

  1. Bureau of Economic Analysis, 2017
  2. Distributions from 401(k), 403(b) and most other employer-sponsored retirement plans are taxed as ordinary income and, if taken before age 59, may be subject to a 10% federal income tax penalty. Generally, once you reach age 70, you must begin taking required minimum distributions.

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Sowing the Seeds of Christ-Centered Learning in Fairfield

Sowing the Seeds of Christ-Centered Learning in Fairfield

Mission Makers 

Volunteers from Briarwood Presbyterian serve dinner to Foundations’ parents. Other churches that volunteer and/or provide financial support include Cathedral Church of the Advent, Independent Presbyterian, Altadena Valley Presbyterian, Oak Mountain Presbyterian and Christ Church.

“Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.”Proverbs 22:6 

With a dedication to Christ-centered teaching and service, Foundations Early Learning & Family Center has quietly grown from an ambitious vision to a thriving preschool in Fairfield, Ala. Foundations opened in 2013 to provide at-risk families access to a quality preschool education in a Christian environment where children can develop academically, physically, socially and spiritually.

Parental engagement at Foundations is a cornerstone to its mission. Parents are encouraged to participate in bi-monthly Parent Involvement Meetings (PIMs) – evening programs that include dinner, childcareand speakers addressing topics on parenting, health and wellness, budgeting, and more. Volunteers from areachurches play an important role in the success of the PIMs by sponsoring or preparing and serving dinner for families and assisting with childcare.“Because parental involvement is key to our mission, it’s important for us to make it as convenient as possible for the families to be involved. PIMs provide a Christ-centered social setting where parents form lasting friendships and draw on the encouragement of each other,” says Foundations Early Learning & Family Center Head of School, Kathleen Drake.

A Foundations’ student shows off her lesson.

The Foundations roots date back to 2010, when Dr. Tanja Malone identified a gap in family services in the course of working with Fairfield families while pursuing her PhD at UAB.  Rallying community resources including PreSchool Partners, Better Basics, UAB, Hope Health Center, Child Care Resources, Harris Early Learning Center, Fairfield City Schools and Restoration Academy, Dr. Malone and her team launched a program that became Foundations Early Learning & Family Center. Since opening five years ago, Foundations has served more than 200 children and their families. “It is remarkable to see the way Christ is working in this school. It is truly a testament of grace and love,” explains longtime volunteer Eleanor Roberson. Learn more at www.foundationsearlylearning.org.

Melanie Berry McCraney

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Lending a Hand: North Shelby Baptist

Lending a Hand: North Shelby Baptist

Mission Makers

Member of North Shelby Baptist Church recently traveled cross country to Washington to help a church family in need.

Manual labor is the avenue members of North Shelby Baptist Church are using to share God’s love. In 2018, the church has 10 projects underway or in the works that involve “construction evangelism.” A team of about 20 church members recently spent a week pouring their physical and spiritual energies into helping Alder Street Baptist Church in the small town of Centralia, WA obtain a fully functional church building. The church sustained substantial flooding damage several years ago and has struggled ever since to get the church building back to a usable state. North Shelby Baptist volunteers replaced windows, hung doors, ground concrete floors, and applied commercial epoxy flooring. The team also led worship and provided a Sunday afternoon “block party” for the neighborhood of the church. The 2018 trip to WA was a follow up to a trip last year in which North Shelby Baptist volunteers insulated and sheet-rocked ceilings and walls, repaired the baptistery circulator/heater, and replaced two heating systems for the church, sanctuary and education space. †

 

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Safe House Ministry Continues with Help of HEART Fund

Safe House Ministry Continues with Help of HEART Fund

Mission Makers

After Tropical Storm Nate pummeled a safe house for girls in Nicaragua, a HEART (Humanitarian Emergency Aid for Rebuilding Tomorrow) Fund grant is helping it get back on its feet — and helping it offer crisis care to its neighbors. The $2500 gift couldn’t have come at a better time, said Landa Carnes, a missionary serving at Emmanuel Home of Protection, a ministry run by Baptist Medical and Dental Mission International. Missionaries at the safe house in Diriamba, Nicaragua, are still working to repair damage from the October 2017 storm and recoup their finances after stretching resources thin to help storm victims around them in dire need. The HEART Fund grant will help cover these compassion ministries plus help to replace roofs, windows, walls, and doors at Emmanuel Home of Protection, which serves victims of sexual abuse or trafficking. The needs in the Diriamba area are “almost insurmountable,” said Cindy Walker, a board member for WMU Foundation, which stewards the HEART Fund. “Poverty is rampant. Hopelessness is evident everywhere you look,” she said. But Walker also noted that she had heard story after story of people in the area who had been won to Christ because someone from the safe house reached out to them and met their physical needs. The home “is a beacon of hope and light in a dark area of our hemisphere,” she said.

The HEART Fund was created in response to Sept. 11, 2001. Since that time, the Birmingham based WMU Foundation has granted more than $473,000 from the HEART Fund to disaster victims in the United States and around the world.

-Grace Thornton

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