6 October 2020.
Dear Friends in Christ,
St. Paul in his Second Letter to the Corinthians wrote famously, “…for we walk by faith and not by sight.” (2 Cor. 5:7) As a community of faithful Christians, we live today according to God’s promises, even though times are challenging us and our faith. The uncertainty of what will happen with this pandemic, racial injustice, a divided nation and God’s beautiful earth in peril concern us deeply. As a body of Christ, we are called to live each day according to the mercy, grace, forgiveness and love God promises us. This is no easy way to live. And yet, the people of St. Paul’s demonstrate these traits every day.
Walking by faith invites us to walk in trust that God is with us every step of the way. When even the next step forward seems obscured, we trust that when we sing the old gospel hymn, “Precious Lord, take my hand…” that God already has been holding it all along the way.
The Stewardship Committee has adopted the theme for our pledging program this year, “Faith -filled Generosity.” Naming the Christian virtues of faith and generosity guides us to pray and fully consider how we will respond to the invitation to make a pledge for the work that we love and are committed to in 2021. No amount is too small. No amount is too large.
Every year, we trust that the work God calls us to is a faithful response to the joy we have in praising God and in connecting with the world in great need. You have generously given to restoring our building, to beautify the Nave and upgrade the energy efficiency. This year, we have accepted that the future of digital worship and meetings is now; we upgraded the bandwidth, equipment and devices in the building and are currently upgrading the website and capability to create musical recordings for worship. You, in faith and generosity have made this happen. Thank you.
Your faith-filled generosity has created the funding of the full-time position for an assistant rector for children and youth. The Rev. Katie Holicky joined us in May during distancing precautions. She has immediately immersed herself into the life of the parish creating lively Zoom Sunday 9:30 a.m. worship, preaching regularly and inspiringly and providing in-person outdoor fellowship programs for youth and families with young children. She is our steady guide to upgrading our digital worship offerings.
Your faith-filled generosity has not diminished as the needs of our poorest neighbors increase. Many of you continue to give to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund so that we may distribute food and gas cards to our neighbors. And, within weeks, as the urgent need came to our attention for housing, our parish upgraded the Barnes building to make a home for a family of New Mainers of nine while securing a steady stream of rental income for St. Paul’s.
Please accept my thanks for your unflagging faith last year to fund so generously the vision we feel called to as we expand our mission to nurturing friendship and excellent pastoral care for all ages, for engaging youth, families with small children in the faith, and reaching digitally into the world daily to bring prayer and community to those longing for connection. This is the work God is calling us to. This is the work we love. This is my invitation to make a financial commitment to continue our forward movement as the body of Christ.
I am deeply moved and concerned by the financial uncertainty that many households face in this time of pandemic crisis. Unemployment and reduced employment are on the rise. We need our faith community more than ever to help support us. Please be assured that grace abounds in our community; that this year, in particular, time, energy, patience and finances are being strained in some households. We are in this together and must lean on each other and God’s abiding love for support.
As you consider making a financial response for God’s mission and our ministries at St. Paul’s, please do remember that no amount is too small. Truly. We are grateful for your faith-filled commitment. No amount is too large. If you can pledge even more than your generous pledge in 2020, I invite you to give 3% more or greater in 2021 as we look for our work in partnership with God and each other.
There is a very helpful guide of average pledges in several ranges to help you make your commitment. Please take a few moments to ask God, “What has inspired me and moved me in our work in these difficult times? How is Christ calling me to respond in faith financially to his mission at St. Paul’s in 2021?”
Join us this Sunday, October 11 at 1:00 p.m. in small groups, wearing your mask, in the memorial garden to meet the members of the Stewardship Committee and learn more about “Faith-filled Generosity.” Make your reservation here:https://reopen.church/r/VCnyKfSZ Or click on this link to join us for the Zoom program at 4:00 p.m. the same day.
Thank you all for your steadfast faith and joy-filled generosity.
With faith, hope and love,
2020 Pledging at St. Paul’s.
This shows how many parishioners pledge in various ranges of giving, what the median pledge is in each range, and how much was pledged by that group in total.
2020 PLEDGE CARD can be found here: