E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 9, 2018

Mustard Seed Sunday, Ministry Fair, Ministry Training Day and more in the E-Newsletter for September 9, 2018 https://mailchi.mp/1242dd201a4c/ey7eu7o5mr-1400301

From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP

Dear *|FNAME|*,

In the lectionary readings each Sunday we are currently working our way through the Epistle of James, a letter that challenges our religiosity.

I've particularly enjoyed the conversations these readings have engendered at our regular Thursday Noon Lectionary & Lunch Bible Study. (Speaking of, did you know you can actually get a shirt with our Bible Study motto on it online here?) We've wrestled at those meetings with the insistence that faith that is not manifested in outward actions has no worth, no value. 

There is always a sense in our culture that the point of going to church is to feel good (or better!) about life. Or the sense is you go so you can get saved. The problem is that both of these views present a rather anemic understanding of the Christian faith.

The Christian faith is not only about you and your relationship with God. It is not only about your (or my!) sense of spiritual connectedness. 

The Christian faith is about experiencing the love of God and letting that love transform you so that you can be an instrument of God's love to change the world. 

As a parish community, we are in the midst of that time every year where we discern as individuals how we will take our part in God's work in the church and in the world.

One of the key questions during this month is how we will bring our worldly treasures to bear in that work. I know that as I have experienced rising violence, anger, and vitriol in the world, Bethany and I are more committed than over to being absolutely sure that a tithe, a full 10%, of our household income goes right here, to the work SJE does to change the world through the love of God. 

This year the Stewardship Commission is asking for all pledges to be submitted no later than Sunday, September 23—just a little over two weeks from now. Their goal is that we can then set a budget for what our church can (and cannot do) to spread God's love next year. With that budget set earlier in the year, we can truly devote the holiday seasons of November and December to gratefulness and joy. 

I truly hope you will join Bethany and me in committing to give a percentage of your first-fruits to the work of God through the people of SJE. If a tithe of 10% is beyond you, consider starting working in that direction, maybe giving 5%. And know that there are fellow parishioners who invite you to join them, who also tithe to the work of God here—or who even give more than a tithe. You can click here to make your pledge for 2019, or to change it if you have discerned God is calling you to something different. 

And as you discern, I really hope you will spend some time in the Parish Hall this Sunday after each service for the Annual Fall Ministry Fair. All the various ministries of the parish will have tables set up, with members eager to share with you what they do to transform lives and spread God's love and justice. 

And Sunday afternoon, our Worship Ministries will have their annual refresher meeting and workshop for new members. If you've been thinking of getting involved in a worship ministry, click here to see what's out there and what time each ministry is meeting. 

After all, our financial commitment to our faith is only one part of the puzzle. God also invites us to action, to standing up and doing something so that we can more faithfully Worship God, be Transformed in Christ, and Change the World. 

We cannot do this without you, without your generous support, and without your hands, feet, and hearts. 

Thank you, people of St. John's, for being a congregation that always wants to ensure that our faith is not just a fuzzy ideal, but that is a generous and sacrificial lived way of life that actually does change the world we live in. 

Through Grace,

PS~ And don't forget this Sunday, being the first Sunday of the Program Year is also the Blessing of the Backpacks AND a Mustard Seed Sunday. Kids and teachers bring your backpacks with you to be blessed. And at all three services, all children will be invited to join the Gospel Procession, sit on the chancel steps with Fr. Jared for the homily, and then stand with the other altar ministers around the altar for Holy Communion. 

Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, September 9  https://mailchi.mp/1242dd201a4c/ey7eu7o5mr-1400301

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