Dear Beloved Community,
I want to begin by saying thank you. Thank you for bringing to church your whole self — your friends and family, and your dreams for your life, our community and our world. Your open hearts and honest spirits have been fertile ground for the Holy Spirit, who has been moving powerfully through our congregation over the past year.
Can you feel our deepening connection to one other? Have you witnessed our growing commitment to being radically inclusive and caring, to truly reflecting the kingdom of God?
Our congregation has worked very hard, co-creating with God, to bring forth such abundance.
- Your extravagant welcome continues to make visitors feel embraced by us and connected to God. And it’s proclaimed proudly throughout the year when our fruit festival crowds and Sunday congregation represent the tremendous diversity of God’s people.
- Your heartfelt service and commitment to social change for the most vulnerable is well known around the Island through our Wednesday night Community Suppers, the Winter Shelter program for the homeless, and our participation in the Island Grown Gleaning program.
- You have nourished one another spiritually through Sunday services, book groups, Bible study and lectio divina, as well as the sharing of moving personal experiences through the spiritual group, Mapping our Faith Journeys.
You each have played a role in the renewal of our church.
We have been blessed with an abundance of Spirit, energy, and people. In an age when many churches are struggling, we cannot take this abundance for granted. And so, we are writing with an invitation: Join us in living out our gratitude, and join us in sharing your financial gifts in support of our life together.
How do we steward this abundance? Mary Oliver’s question, Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? calls us to attention. The question can be asked of us individually, but also as a congregation. It’s a serious question: are you awake to and cultivating God’s precious gift of life? Are we awake to and being the best stewards of our precious life together?
Our church is in a new place. And so, it’s time to look at our ministry together with fresh eyes. Our growing congregation means more relationships to cultivate and more outreach to those going through difficulties or grief, more spiritual nourishment programs and more volunteer opportunities. It also means more responsibility to share our vision, God’s dream, of a just, inclusive and peaceful world. Your help is needed – your financial gifts, as well as your time and talents – to ensure our continued flourishing.
If you already give on an annual basis, I encourage you to increase your giving, so that your generosity of spirit matches the generosity of blessing that’s been bestowed upon us.
If you have never pledged to the church before, I invite that new level of commitment. Please understand that gifts of all sizes have an impact on the work of our church. To pledge, simply estimate what you intend to give in 2018. Some people determine a weekly gift and multiply it by the 52 weeks in a year. Others pledge to give a percentage of their annual income. Automatic Giving is a method nearly half of our donors choose. But telling us is what matters most. Knowing your giving plans and the giving plans of all who support the church, helps us to plan our ministries.
Please prayerfully consider your giving, fill out the enclosed Estimate of Giving Card, and return it to the church on or before December 10, when we will bless the cards during the Sunday Service.
Let us come alive to this wild and precious moment, so that our church can grow into the fullest expression of its mission and vision. Please join me in bringing your whole self, and your financial gifts, as we live out our unique calling at this time and in this place.
With deep gratitude,
Rev. Cathlin Baker