When my grandmother lived out her final days and then passed away in the early hours of the morning the pastor of our church was very present to us, gathering us around my grandmother in prayer and later leading us in an intimate memorial service that honored her life and committed her into God’s hands.
When I was in seminary and struggling through a difficult time I found myself craving the church’s worship. Sunday mornings restored my sense of self by putting my life in the context of God’s unfailing love and presence. The church reminded me of whom I am and gave me the hope that I needed.
I share these stories because they are two of the many reasons that move me to give financially to the life of the church. The generous giving of other members empowered the church to employ a pastor who cared for our family during our time of loss. The generous giving of others propelled a church to offer thoughtful worship that meant more to me than anyone might have known. Others gave me the gift of church when I needed it but didn’t have money to support it myself.
That’s how it is with the church. When we give to the church we give the gift of church to others. We give to the children in our pews a faith foundation that will serve them throughout their lives. We give to our neighbors a God–centered community in which to find meaningful and enduring relationships. We give to one another opportunities to explore and exercise gifts, to grow in faith, and to serve God’s people.
Without the church’s worship and fellowship, without the church’s opportunities to put my faith into action, without its book studies, and bible studies, and small group opportunities to exchange our thoughts and stories, I wouldn’t encounter God in the rich, surprising, often subtle, and incarnated ways that I do. Without the church I believe I would be a very different person.
Therefore, I give to the church. I support the ministries of the church because others have given (and continue to give) the gift of church to me. I want to pay it forward. I want to give the same gift to others.
April 29-May 20 is “stewardship season” at our church. This is our first time moving our campaign to the spring. Having engaged in the busyness of initiating new programs in the fall and celebrating holidays all the way through Easter, we now have some time to focus our energies on supporting the ministries that mean so much to us all. This is a time for you to think about why you give to the church!
In addition to weekly testimonies from members of our congregation you’ll receive two stewardship mailings. Please take the time to read them carefully. I believe they will be useful to you as you consider your level of financial support for the 2018-2019 program year. The second mailing will include a pledge card for you to fill out and bring with you to church on Sunday, May 20. Following the service we’ll enjoy a celebratory “festival of pies” coffee hour (please bring a pie to share!) and an opportunity to engage in a Congregational Meeting to review the ministries of the recent past and share plans for the near future. If you can’t be here on the 20th we hope you’ll mail your pledge card back to us in time for it to be included in our announcement of the initial results later that morning.
As always, thanks for your thoughtful participation.