Stewardship 2023

September, 2022

Dear Friends in Christ,

You may have seen the Rector’s article in the Messenger, announcing this year’s Stewardship Campaign theme: “More Than Enough.” If you’ve not yet read it, we commend it to you. In it, we are reminded of our blessed assurance that God creates, sustains and loves in abundance and so provides us more than enough for our well-being.

In that theme, “More Than Enough,” you can hear also our Christian aspiration. We aspire to do more than just enough to be a church; we strive to bear witness to and enact as best we can the love revealed in Christ, the love that pours itself out in abundance. And so you’ll see, if you look around, that there aren’t a lot of half measures at St. Paul’s.

  • We’ve seen our Earth Care and Buildings and Grounds teams start with the seed of an idea for a rain garden to help control runoff, and push it ever forward – doing more by promoting native species and installing signs to educate passersby about the life around them, then looking more broadly at how to make our outdoor space more hospitable by removing invasives, promoting native plant life, and increasing light in, making our Memorial Garden and backyard a place of welcome and joy.
  • Our Sacred Ground program was developed purposely to make it more widely available not only to the parishioners at St. Paul’s, but to the wider Brunswick community and the national church. Our participants have not just done their homework and called it good enough; parishioners have gone through the course more than once, have become facilitators, and notably, have taken the work forward into critical self-examination to reckon with St Paul’s own historical connection to the practices of enslavement and oppression and to the trade in human life as chattel.  It is hard and holy work.
  • We did not merely survive the pandemic, or do just enough to get through it. We pushed to find new ways to be a church, to find new ways to connect with those who need to hear the gospel. We now have a vibrant online worship community, and through sound and video upgrades have vastly improved everyone’s ability to physically hear the Word.  You have generously supported the Rector’s Discretionary Fund and the sound and video upgrades. You give faithful feedback on what is working well and what can be improved. You patiently take inconvenient precautions against Covid so that all might feel safe and welcome in worship.  You have made us thrive as the Body of Christ.
  • We are seeing new faces and new families almost every Sunday, joining us for the first time, finding a spiritual home here, and becoming energized. We are filled with joy and gratitude to see relatively new parishioners diving into our parish life with gusto – serving as ushers, joining hospitality and other ministries, reading the liturgy of the Word, even serving at the altar as acolytes, and in so many other ways, all to the glory of God.
  • Several years ago, the Vestry reflected on our family ministries and youth formation. We had historically supported youth and families with a half-time staff position and parish volunteers. The Vestry discerned a need to do more, to call a full-time, ordained clergy person to be our Assistant Rector.  We honestly did not know how we would fund it, but we knew it was the work love called us to.  So we put the love ahead of the arithmetic, and went forward in faith. The Diocese provided partial financial support for three years, and the parish stepped up in stewardship to allow increased funding for the position. As the Diocesan support nears its end, we know this parish will continue its generous support of this vital ministry.

At St. Paul’s, the Spirit animating our undertakings is expressed not in the phrase “good enough” but in a prayerful chorus of “What more can we do?”  This work is full of challenges, but we meet them with grace and surmount them with dedication. I hope you know how much your Vestry appreciates your dedication to this work and your generous support of it.  And we hope you know how important the work of our parish is.  We truly are a model for the Diocese and a beacon casting the light of Christ into a world that needs it.

Finally, we know the financial challenges so many face these days. We know how real the worry is whether one’s resources are or will be enough. We also know that the world’s machinery very much turns on the fuel of fear and worry; but that is not the Kingdom Christ preached and we proclaim. We hope you find at St. Paul’s a place of rest and refuge from the way of the world, and communion with God’s love and Christ’s Body. Your fellowship, worship and glorification of God, online or in person, are your dearest gifts.  Whatever other gifts you bring to God at St. Paul’s – whether time or treasure, whether modest or ample in the eyes of the world – we receive them gratefully and in the firm assurance they are more than enough in the eyes of God and this Body of Christ.

In gratitude and love, we wish you the peace of Christ.

Cliff Ruprecht and Jan DeBlieu, Wardens

Wardens Letter 2023_V209182023

pledge card 2023_v2309182022