Friday, October 19 2018
As part of the Jesus movement, we follow the One who loves us so much that he gave his life so that we might understand God’s never-ending love for all of creation. And here’s the hard part: As followers of Jesus, we are called to give all of ourselves to God’s work in the world (TENS).
There are so many exciting things happening at St. John’s right now. Next weekend is our Harvest Fair! There will be great food, raffle baskets, a white elephant sale, St. Hilda’s Guild crafts, holiday boutiques, baked goods, Vermont cheese, designer clothes and handbags, Thrift Shop clothes, and more. We are called to be generous in giving of our Time, Talent, and Treasure at St. John’s. Generous living is much more than what we do with our money. We are called to be kind to one another and to all living things. We are called to deal with each other honestly and to be humble. Stewardship is a call to action to each of us as followers of Jesus. Jesus showed us the way to live generously: by welcoming the outcast, by overturning the tables of the money changers in the temple, by dining with the poor, by healing the sick, by teaching, by forgiving, and by ultimately giving his life so that all might have life abundant.
Each year, I am asked to preach and teach on stewardship. The fact is that if you put God first in your life, everything else will come in line. Of course, we want to keep the building in good shape, to hire a curate, and to give to the poor, but what is really important to me is your spiritual health. When your heart feels the redeeming love of God, you will naturally love others. When you feel the forgiving grace of God, you will naturally forgive others. When you realize that everyone is welcome in the Episcopal Church, you will want to show hospitality to everyone you meet. Stewardship is so much more than money and it is what makes St. John’s such a special place. We are like one big family and although we can be a little dysfunctional at times, our greatest gift is our hospitality. Please know that this is the greatest gift you can give to St. John’s. Before you put one dollar in the plate, please give yourself that others might have life abundant.
We make a pledge each year to help the wardens and vestry make a budget for 2019. You will receive a pledge card in the mail this week and I ask you to prayerfully consider the gifts that you receive and ask you to make a pledge to St. John’s. If you have not received a pledge card yet, they are available on the table in the back of the church. We will collect pledge cards for the next three Sundays and bless them at the altar on November 4th on Loyalty Sunday. Each week, you will hear parishioners witness about what they love about St. John’s.
Our Diocese has hired a stewardship consultant, who advised us to figure a suggested annual pledge. We are trying the suggested pledge this year. Please use this number as a guide. We are thankful for whatever you can pledge. In order to hire a curate next year, we need to increase our pledges. Please consider raising your pledge this year so that St. John’s may continue to grow and flourish. Another way you can help is to invite someone to St. John’s. Perhaps they can come to the Harvest Fair or join you on Sunday. It is a hard subject for most of us to bring up, but many people are frustrated with their own church and now is the perfect time to invite people to St. John’s.
I am so grateful for you. Your faithful membership at St. John’s and your generosity sustains our ministry and is a source of encouragement to me. I am always proud of the fantastic turn out at Harvest Fair and all the outreach and mission that we do. God bless you!
In Christ’s love,