On Generosity and Giving

“...that I may share with you some spiritual gift to strengthen you-or rather so that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith.
Romans 1:11-12

What am I grateful for at St. Paul’s?

by Madeleine Msall

I am grateful for lots of people and experiences at St. Paul’s but my deepest gratitude is reserved for the annual Christmas Fair.  It’s our biggest community project outside of weekly worship.  It’s a crazy amount of work.   It’s also the most generous, inclusive and unrestrained event in our church calendar.  All the rules about what’s allowed in the Great Hall or the Sanctuary are suspended on Fair Day.  Hundreds of strangers pour into our church.  Chaotic and inspired, the Fair, for me, is an irresistible invitation to loving community.

An enormous number of parishioners donate their time and talent to this immense fund-raiser.  All the Fair proceeds are distributed to organizations that respond to human need.  Take a look at the list of supported organizations on the Outreach Bulletin board.  They are all connected to St. Paul’s at multiple levels, since many of our members also make personal donations or volunteer their time with these good causes.  The Outreach Commission works gratefully and prayerfully to balance our local, national and inter-national “portfolio” of supported organizations.

Thus, the Fair is an important part of our individual and communal response to the call to loving service as a mark of the mission of Christ in the world.   This loving service is ever present at the Fair, signified by the Outreach dollars earned, but also embedded in the hand-crafted and home-baked goods for sale and personified in the enthusiastic sales force, table waiters and kitchen crew.  I savor the camaraderie, the pride in the work of our hands, the shared food, the open doors and the excitement of Advent.  Every linen napkin on my holiday table comes from the Treasures table; my family’s most beloved sweaters and scarves are from the Holy Stitchers; the wreaths and spice mixes are gift traditions for dear friends.  The things I bring home from the Christmas Fair are a continual reminder of the deep connection between the physical and spiritual comfort we, St. Paul’s church, offer one another and the world.