We gather. We pray. We listen. We break bread. We offer ourselves to one another. We leave in peace. +
These simple words open our worship every Saturday evening. They are simple yet complete. They don’t necessarily cover the details of running a thriving two-church parish, but they do cover the necessities of living a full and God-filled life. Our community is growing and changing every day:
- New people who have never been part of a faith community are seeking out new ways to understand life and walking through our door.
- Parishioners who have been away from church for reasons of Covid or life changes are returning to community.
- Parents and grandparents are bringing their children to our Sunday evening Family service to make sure their kids have a foundation of God for the life that awaits them.
- And many people are still joining us in worship online.
It’s a new world. It’s a new church. But we’re still the same: a faith-filled community welcoming everyone.
As your parish leadership, we are doing all we can to meet you and our changing world in faith and worship, teaching and fellowship. Each year we ask for your financial support to cover the basics of the parish expenses. The past two years we have asked everyone to increase their financial pledge by 10 percent to help us get through Covid and the budget gaps that all churches are experiencing. This year is no different. We continue to invite you to be a part of our parish family through your loving commitment of time and financial donation. And we are ever so grateful for your continued gift to the parish.
Here’s what has changed: Most of you receiving this letter know and expect that each year this “Stewardship” letter will be coming to you in the mail. And you generously respond with your annual financial pledge to the church. But in this developing faith world, with new people walking through the door every week, words like “stewardship” and “pledge” are unknown to those who are new to church. Not everyone is aware of the intricacies and financial demands of running a thriving faith community. So, this year, in addition to asking for your annual pledge, I invite you to be a part of a new project in our church called, “Invite, Welcome, Connect” or IWC. The words speak for themselves.
- We Invite people to come and experience the love and friendship that is offered at our beautiful parish. Invite a friend or neighbor to join you at church one weekend.
- We look around the sanctuary for people or faces we don’t recognize, and we Welcome them into our parish lives. They may have been coming to church for years, but their face is new to you. Say hello.
- And if they are new to the parish, we Connect them with others and the wonderful things going on in our churches: concerts, classes, or a simple cup of coffee.
This is an exciting time to be part of a growing church. It’s a time for those of us who have been a part of church for a while to learn and grow ourselves. It’s also a time to teach and offer ourselves in both old and new ways. So, as you hand in your pledge card in the coming weeks, be sure to look around the room. Invite and welcome new people to connect with our parish family. Explain what is going on in service and the importance of being a good steward. Gather. Pray. Listen. Teach and Learn.
Mother Shelley +