Dear Beloved Community,
When I gather with small groups to map their spiritual paths, and the twists and turns that landed them at our church, we inevitably ask: why this church? why now? There are a handful of common answers – music, preaching, prayer, and opportunities to serve the Island community. But community – an intergenerational, diverse, caring and spiritually seeking community – tops the list. Here we can sit side by side sharing our joys and concerns and our longing for a better, more just world. Here we gather to make meaning and find belonging.
Over the next few Sundays, you will be hearing a variety of people speak from the pulpit about how they found their way into our church, how they have been fed spiritually and discovered ways to give of their time and their talents to further our mission and purpose. You will begin to see a pattern – how a deeper sense of belonging was fostered, first dipping a toe into congregational life and then wading into leadership roles.
The Spirit has started something wild and exciting and robust among us. Something different than before. Our congregation is more diverse than ever. Lay people are feeling empowered to create and lead their own programs – consider our new book group program. Sunday worship services are creative, meaningful, welcoming, joyful, passionate and relevant to the times in which we are living. The Spirit beckons us. Join me, She says, as God’s co-creators, as stewards of this unique moment in our church’s history.
Our response to the Spirit’s nudging might be: how? what shall we bring or do? As I pondered this question, the following answers emerged:
Let’s bring our highest selves to church. Let’s be open-minded, flexible, welcoming, patient, kind, curious, and loving. This unique moment in our church is not about serving what we know, what is familiar, but serving the Spirit, arriving in a variety of forms – new people, new ideas, new volunteers, new leaders, new ways of doing things.
Let’s bring our interests and passions. You may ask me – what can I do? And I may answer back – what makes your heart sing? Let’s take the time to identify ways you can serve the church that will truly bring you joy.
Let’s offer and surrender our whole selves. As we ground ourselves in our status as children of God, we discover a vast reservoir of gratitude. All that we have is a gift from God to be shared for the flourishing of God’s world. Let’s be good stewards of our whole lives – our time, our talent and our treasure.
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 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 2019. Some people determine a weekly gift and multiply it by the 52 weeks in a year. Others commit to give a percentage of their annual income. Automatic Giving is a method nearly half of our donors choose. Knowing your giving plans and the giving plans of all who support the church, is vital to planning our ministries.
Please prayerfully consider your giving. Fill out an Estimate of Giving Card and return it to the church on or before January 6, when we will bless the cards during the Sunday Service.
What shall we bring? Please join me in bringing your whole self as we live out our unique calling at this time and in this place.
With deep gratitude,
Rev. Cathlin Baker