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Churchfunding: 2023 Year-End Report

Hello blog friends. It’s been a while! Slightly over a year, in fact. Here is my annual update about the repayment of our house loans, with a few other items of note. I’ll keep it short, because…

1) Life has been very busy lately. We spent a week in Iowa over the holidays, visiting my wife’s family. (During that time I updated my Beginners’ Bible Reading Plan. I’m really excited about the results–please look!) Then, a couple days after our return to Atlanta, my grandmother in Canada passed away, so I made a quick trip up there for her funeral. Between that and work, I haven’t had much discretionary time over the past month.

However, I’m grateful to say that our family is healthy and well, remaining busy with homeschooling, musical training, church commitments, and my part-time Choice Books work. (That will have to suffice for a family newsletter!)

2) Though I didn’t post any blogs in the past year, I did continue studying and writing. Most of my writing time this year was dedicated to revising and expanding my old essay 125 Years of Seven Ordinances (that’s the unfinished draft I posted years ago), since the Mennonite Historical Library in Goshen expressed interest in that research. This study is currently expanding into either a very long essay or a short book. I’ll let you know here when it’s done.

My divorce and remarriage studies mostly hit pause in 2023, but I still have more I hope to say on that topic, as well. For those who are impatient… thanks for your patience!

3) House loan repayments remain on schedule, thank God. At the beginning of 2023, we owed $14,507.50 in house loans. By the start of 2024, we owed only $7,855.00. Most of the difference was due to repayments, but a couple generous lenders forgave a total of $415.

Only 12 lenders are awaiting payment. (Several of those have received partial payment.) God willing, at our promised repayment rate of $500 per month, all loans will be repaid by April, 2025. Shall we have a giant open house weekend then to celebrate, inviting all lenders to come?

4) The main house improvement for 2023 was finally getting our attic properly insulated last month. Some spaces had only sporadic insulation and some spots had none at all! The biggest improvements are over our master bedroom and bath, and over the laundry room and my piano studio. The house feels more uniformly warm this winter and I think we’ll feel an even bigger difference when the sun starts warming our roof this summer. Hopefully we’ll see a difference in our electric bill, too.

5) Finally, I’m excited to say that plans are moving forward to rebuild this website. I built this WordPress site myself back in 2014 (self-taught) and have only tweaked it with plugins since. It’s been slow for several years now and its limp has become ever more pronounced, with significant down time. Truth be told, one of the big reasons I’ve posted so rarely of late is because it’s no fun waiting on a frozen website while trying to post.

I’ve been praying for a solution for a couple years, and now our church has generously pledged sufficient funds to rebuild Dwight Gingrich Online on another (more stable) platform and to pay for the first year of hosting and tech support. If all goes well, the migration will be complete within a month or two, and at that time I’ll share who I’ve hired to do the work.

Two details: 1) Please pray the migration goes smoothly, right down to the details like functioning footnotes and indexes. 2) The new platform will cost a little more to run long-term so I am planning to invite readers to help cover annual fees for future years.

At this point I’m committed to keeping all content on Dwight Gingrich Online free for all visitors, but for my family’s sake I also have to be realistic about the many thousands of dollars’ worth of time and fees I’ve invested in this website over the past decade, with very little funds coming the other direction. (Very warm thanks to my solitary monthly donor, if you’ve managed to read this far!)

Warm thanks again to everyone who has helped us with “the house that God bought.” Recently at the airport I randomly bumped into the real estate agent who helped us buy this house, and he certainly hasn’t forgotten the unusual way God provided for our needs. What  a testimony of God’s goodness!

For Christ and his church,
Dwight Gingrich

PS: Here are more random photos from our family in the past year:

Wingspan became a favorite game this year.


Praying while the organist played at a chapel in Callaway Gardens, during a getaway weekend Zonya and I enjoyed in the spring.


Cousin time during a June trip to Canada.


The path to Grandma Gingrich’s (my mom’s) dock.


Zonya’s cousin took us out to a ball game.


Singing and snacks with some new neighbors and fellow church members.
A typical view during my Choice Books work at the Atlanta airport.
The Great Backyard Flood of 2023.
Oldest daughter and I went to Anabaptist Orchestra Camp in August.


I read all the way through the Greek New Testament for the first time in 2023.
Leading congregational worship at a church Christmas gathering.
We walked the old road in Iowa where we used to live before moving to Atlanta.
The sunrise at the Atlanta airport the morning my grandmother Verna Gingrich flew home to Jesus (January 3, 2024).
Come visit us sometime!

Churchfunding: 2022 Year-End Report

Another year has passed, so it’s time for another update on our house loans. Thank God, our experiment is still going well.

(Background: As many of you know, we purchased our Atlanta house on March 25, 2016, paying the seller in full immediately, thanks to loans and gifts from nearly 90 individuals or families. Since this crowdfunding effort was the work of Christ’s church, we coined a new term: “churchfunding.” Here is the post that officially launched this adventure.)

At the beginning of 2022, we owed $21,232.50 in house loans. By the end of the year, we owed only $14,507.50.

Here is how that $6,725 difference breaks down:

  • We repaid $6,200 in loans, at more than the promised rate of $500 per month.
  • We were forgiven an additional $525 in principal and interest by two generous lenders.

In total, our house debt declined by $725 more than expected in 2022.

There are 14 lenders who have not yet received any repayment. If you are one of those 14, don’t worry. Your turn should come soon. God willing, at our promised repayment rate of $500 per month, we should have all our loans repaid by May, 2025.

Each month I use a random number generator to select a lender to repay. But first, I pray, asking God to glorify himself through the selection. So, if you need repayment soon, ask God to choose you! But if you need to, feel free to also let us know and we’ll do our best to repay you quickly.

In the first half of 2022 our house value hit a new high, just in time for the city to update our property assessment and increase our taxes. In the second half of the year, our property value steadily dropped, losing most of the gains of the first half of the year. (Thank you, rising interest rates and slumping economy.)

It looks like we missed our best chance to sell, so we’ll probably stick around here for a while yet. 🙂 To be clear, we have no dreams of leaving Atlanta any time soon. This is where God allowed us to settle, and we’ll stay here until he brings clarity that we should be elsewhere.

I don’t have time for a full family update, but here are some things I’m grateful for from 2022:

  • A wife who faithfully homeschools, keeps house, connects with ladies from church, cares for neighbors, reads over 100 books in one year, and endures up to four musicians practicing at once in one house.

  • Youngest daughter, who completed my Beginners’ Bible Reading Plan for the first time and is learning to like math.
  • Middle daughter, who wins first prize in our family for diligence and organization in daily duties and who dearly loves animals.
  • Oldest daughter, who grew by leaps as a cellist and all-round musician this year and is responsibly navigating her first year of high school.

  • Family game nights on Fridays.
  • Enough piano students that I rarely find space for new ones.

  • A new pastor at church, who is also my new boss at Choice Books, blessing me through both roles.
  • Fellow church musicians who gladly help the saints worship–and the volunteer soldier below who helped me with my sermon.

  • A great fall string orchestra concert (the conductor said it was the best in 14 years!) where our daughters participated and I even got to accompany at the piano for one piece.
  • Time for more blogging than in the year before, and for light and peace as I study, write, and interact with my readers and their varied perspectives.

  • Random blessings, like a mostly-positive experience fostering a shelter dog, a brand new lawn mower (yay!), vehicles that keep running, a couple visits from my mother, and a trip to Iowa to see Zonya’s family and skate on the farm pond.

Thank you, again, to everyone who helped us buy our Atlanta home, and to all who have supported us in so many other ways. We remain very grateful for “the house that God bought” and invite you to come visit. 

Let’s be faithful to Jesus in 2023. He is coming soon!

For Christ and his church,
Dwight Gingrich

Churchfunding: 2021 Year-End Report

At the turn of every year, as an act of thankfulness and accountability, I like to give a report on our house loans. This year I’ll try to keep it short!

(Background: As many of you know, we purchased our Atlanta house on March 25, 2016, paying the seller in full immediately, thanks to loans and gifts from nearly 90 individuals or families. Since this crowdfunding effort was the work of Christ’s church, we coined a new term: “churchfunding.” Here is the post that officially launched this adventure.)

At the beginning of 2021, we owed $28,782.50 in house loans. By the end of the year, we owed only $21,232.50.

Here is how that $7,550 difference breaks down:

  • We repaid $7,000 in loans, at more than the promised rate of $500 per month.
  • We were forgiven an additional $550 in principal and interest by a generous lender.

In total, our house debt declined by $1,550 more than we expected in 2021.

At the promised $500 per month, we should have all remaining lenders repaid within about 3-1/2 years—by about July of 2025. As promised, we are using a random number generator and prayer to select who is repaid each month. If you have a financial squeeze, let us know and we’ll see what we can do!

In Other Developments…

In many ways, 2021 was a pretty ordinary year for us (apart from you-know-what). We didn’t do any significant repairs or improvements to the house, getting distracted in part by vehicle needs. Our van passed 250,000 miles this summer! Repairing a leaky portion of the roof is apparently next, hopefully followed soon by that leaky shower.

Besides my work, most days our family stays busy with homeschooling, driving the girls to their weekly string classes, taking hikes with homeschool friends, hobbies like reading and music, and doing things with our church family. I’m still responsible to schedule church musicians, and I lead music about once a month, usually helped by our oldest daughter (now a teenager!). I’m also in the rotation to preach a sermon every several months.

In our local neighborhood we aim to be good neighbors for Christ’s sake. Lately this has included taking a neighbor a Christmas meal, having a neighbor boy come over to play basket ball, and helping another neighbor look for a missing family member. We’ve also been reminded recently of the crime that occurs around us, praying for those who have been touched by tragedy.

I’ll mention two trips. In July our family spent a day at Edisto Beach State Park in South Carolina. It was our first family trip to the ocean since moving to Georgia, and we really enjoyed it!

A highlight of the year was finally visiting my mother again, in Canada. It was our first time seeing her since the start of COVID–the first time since our trip to my dad’s funeral. The trip was an answer to many prayers. Family ties are so precious!

In Blogging (Lack of) News…

As you may have noticed, I haven’t done much blogging lately. I got stalled on reporting the history of Mennonites and divorce, and now I’m wrestling more deeply with my own understanding of the biblical teaching on the topic. Recently I read a long book chronicling a journalist’s attempt to solve a murder case. The web of leads he got sucked into, some helpful, some dead ends, reminded me of the many exegetical rabbit trails I’ve run down as I’ve waded through varied interpretations of all the relevant biblical passages.

I invite your prayers as I continue to study—that my heart will be open to God’s truth, that I will be granted insight, and that God will guide my desire to serve the church by writing more on this topic. Maybe, at some point, a book? Surveying Anabaptist history and also sharing my own biblical exegesis and pastoral reflections?

Meanwhile, here’s a quick completion of my answer as to why American  Mennonites adopted a stricter no-divorce position. I’ve already suggested that a spirit of separatism lended itself to adopting increasingly rigid doctrinal positions, that American Mennonites had lost touch with early Anabaptist documents affirming remarriage in case of adultery, and that the switch from German to English may have affected their interpretation of Jesus’ divorce sayings.

To complete the picture, I’d want to discuss at least these additional points:

  • The topic of the “divorce evil” was in the air across the nation at the end of the 1800s (very much like “social justice” has been recently), troubling everyone from the President on down, so the Mennonites simply joined a larger political and ecclesial conversation, some of which was moving in a stricter direction.
  • New Mennonite periodicals, founded by John Funk, alerted them as never before to differences in their own ranks on the question of divorce and remarriage, leading to brisk debate.
  • In the periodicals there were calls for annual conferences, partly to resolve such matters of difference; it was at such a conference that a stricter position was officially adopted in 1905.
  • Before this conference some Mennonite leaders, especially some activist younger leaders like Daniel Kauffman, began to say that the only sufficient response to the “divorce evil” was to give no exception whatsoever. This stance seems to have been adopted for pragmatic reasons as much as for biblical ones, for it was only after the 1905 conference that more fully developed doctrinal explanations were published in support of the stricter position.

That’s a quick survey! Each of those points deserve a book chapter, and I’m sure I should add several more.

(And, to be clear, none of that history proves whether the adoption of a stricter position was good or bad; that would require a separate conversation about exegesis, theology, and pastoral care.)

Our family remains deeply grateful to everyone who helped us buy our Atlanta home, and to all who have supported us in so many other ways. Thank you! 

God is faithful! Please pray we, too, will be faithful, and that we can bear fruit for him in 2022.

For Christ and his church,
Dwight Gingrich