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Parish life and a ‘Wonderful Life’

…to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…
Ephesians 4:12


Dear Friends in Christ,


I’ve been thinking recently about a scene in the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.” If my memory serves me well, Jimmy Stewart’s character is trying to prevent a run on the local bank when the economy tanked. He speaks to his fellow townspeople to explain that their savings is invested in the homes of their neighbors, whom he names and points to in the room. If they panic, then it hurts everyone, but if they if they all stay steady, then they will weather the recession together. It was not an economic crisis, but rather a crisis of faith and mutual support.


I’ve thought of this scene with a smile when I think about some of our ministries that thrive on involvement. For instance, as we came out of COVID shutdowns last year, families with young children were the last to re-engage onsite. We had many families participating in Sunday School, but not always at the same time. So any one visit to Sunday School found only a small group of kids. When they all showed up at the same time, however, they found a much larger group, encouraging more engagement and commitment. Like starlings trying to figure out when the whole flock is going to fly, we step out, hesitate, and others hesitate. But when we’re ready, we fly together strong.


Of course, holidays and school vacations lead to a regular up and down to our ministries. But the more that we make the decision to show up and engage—and the more we invite others to engage with us—the more our relationships flourish and our ministries flourish. This is part of our stewardship as Christians. We have individual stewardship, but our individual stewardship makes a big impact on the stewardship of the whole parish. The more we invest in time and money and leadership together, the stronger we are as a Christian Community.


We don’t always speak about our individual stewardship with others, but we could encourage each other and personally invite others to participate and connect and invest and get involved together. The closer we grow together, the closer we grow to God together, and the more we grow into God’s mission for us, Growing Disciples of Jesus Christ. That is indeed the most wonderful life. See you Sunday 😊.


Yours in Christ,


-Tom

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