E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 16, 2018

Holy Cross Day, What is Stewardship?, Movie Group and more in the E-Newsletter for September 16, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/6d0bb4ece924/ey7eu7o5mr-1402825

From the Stewardship Commission
John Harberts, Chair

Dear *|FNAME|*,

As you all know, our pledge drive is underway. There are actually only two weeks left to turn in a pledge for the 2019 budget. But I'm not writing at this moment to talk about the pledge details. Instead, I want to say a few words about how we think about pledging.

The chances are if I went up to most people in this church and said, “Are you engaged in a ministry?” most of us would say, “Oh, no. I am a parishioner and I attend church, but I am not engaged in a ministry.  We have a priest, staff, deacons, and so on. They do the ministry.”  We tend to have a rather passive image of our role in the church. Even if we are actively engaged, we don't think of ourselves as ministers. We say, "Oh, well I volunteer."

We need to seriously rethink that, if we say we are part of the Body of Christ. We are really, each of us, engaged in a ministry. If ministry is the act of helping someone in need so they can be closer to God, that is what we are really engaged in – not simply fundraising, but our own ministry.  

And at this moment, you have an opportunity… one we shouldn’t miss. 

We are a community—not just of Episcopalians, but —a community or ministry of God’s love. We all have needs: spiritual, religious, emotional, and most likely even at times physical needs with our health, food, shelter and so on. Together we are a community with needs that also has the resources to meet those needs.  God has invited us to worship as a group for that reason—because we all have needs and together we can meet those needs. If you think about it, I can hardly come up with anyone in this community who in the last few years hasn’t at some point faced the kinds of needs I listed. I can’t think of a time either, when those needs were ignored. God works through community. God works through our relationships.

God works through the people here for the people here. or relationship. That means God works through you…not just the staff.

So, you are engaged in a ministry. And we need to be clear that ministry isn’t always easy. It takes effort and even some sacrifice. The gifts and resources you have are yours. That is why giving is an act of love on your part. You are giving something you have received yourself. That is an act of love. You sacrifice something for others with no thought of payback.

A pledge should be seen as something deeply meaningful we all do.  As I mentioned, we call our collective efforts by different names. We call it volunteering, charitable giving, “helping out,” pledging, etc., but make no doubt about it, it is really your own ministry.  We need to know that, because we need to feel empowered as Christians, not passive.

That is what we are being called to do. This is your gift to give. Turning in a pledge is your chance to minister as much as Father Jared visiting someone, performing a wedding or baptism, a Stephen Minister counseling someone, helping at Loving Spoonfuls, or someone providing at the Unity School in Uganda. The list goes on and on. There should be no doubt that your pledge or gift is your opportunity to your own ministry because it is your love, your sacrifice that is being made. We are all part of the Body.

I simply want you to realize that an act such as pledging and giving is far more than meeting a budget. Pledging is a call, a knock on our door, an invitation to what is perhaps the most critical and essential ministry in this church. Because this single ministry—turning in a pledge—is what enable all other ministries here to exist, it is what enables them to blossom. 

The ministry of your pledge reaches children, those in distress, those without enough to eat, those who need lifting up, those who want to worship and thank God, those with joy in their hearts, those with sorrow, young and old – all of us. Please take this opportunity and share in the pride of being responsible for all the good we do.

So, if by chance someone does come up to you and ask, “Are you engaged in a ministry?” I hope you answer, “Yes, I am.” If we are part of the Body of Christ, we are not passive bystanders. Our actions and giving are active ministry. Please answer this call and click here to turn in your pledge today.

Yours in Christ,

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 16  https://mailchi.mp/6d0bb4ece924/ey7eu7o5mr-1402825

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