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Seeds for Mission

He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 2 Corinthians 9:10-11

Dear Friends in Christ,



I pray that you are well this Lent and discovering more and more of God’s presence in your life each day. In last week’s Thursday email, I wrote about the role that each member of the church plays in the thriving of the church. I wrote about discipleship and stewardship. We regularly talk about opportunities to grow in the faith and to support ministries within and outside the church. Only once or twice a year do we speak about how the bills get paid for the property and staff and resources for ministry. That might feel a little clunky, or commercial, perhaps. And yet, these are part of the common resources that God gives us to help us thrive in our mission.


Other venues have provided more details, but I’ll write a few words about how the parish is faring financially. God has provided for us in amazing ways, especially weathering significant challenges during the pandemic. The Vestry has a growth posture toward our ministries, willing to use reserves to help us grow by keeping our ministries strong. In 2020 and 2021 we even ended with surpluses instead of anticipated deficits, but 2022 did end with a $45,000 deficit (smaller than we had projected). The 2023 budget is balanced by allocating reserves of nearly $100,000, and now we are fully staffed. We hope that, as in years past, increased giving beyond pledges and new givers will help close that gap and minimize our use of reserves.


With our ministries thriving, we will thrive and grow enough to shrink these planned deficits to a more sustainable level. How will we accomplish this? If you didn’t read last week’s email, go back and find it, for it asks the question “who is “we?”” If members of the parish sit on their hands, then, like so many parishes in the country, we will decline. But the more each of us is engaged in worship and study and ministry and generous in financial support, the better our ministries will thrive. We will welcome more people into our community, and be better led for the future. And most of all, we will grow more disciples for Jesus, and grow more deeply as disciples of Jesus, less distracted by financial issues.


Our financial stewardship is about acknowledging God's gifts and thankfully giving back a portion of our income for the blessings we have received. As Christian stewards we serve God out of love and gratitude for these gifts. Many who intentionally practice this stewardship speak of the joy they have found in this discipline, watching God bless them and others in the process.


I know that many households are challenged with low income, dramatic health issues or overwhelming crisis. However, others have the means to contribute but have not done so. If this sounds like you, then I would ask humbly for your financial support of the parish, even if it is a small amount. For those who are contributing, please prayerfully consider increasing your contribution, or pairing your financial contribution with increased involvement. Every contribution makes a difference in our ability to retain excellent staff and provide ministries that make a difference in people’s lives. And, of course, the discipline of giving is an important part of spiritual growth as well.


Stewardship is about much more than money and the church. Stewardship is a powerful Christian practice that opens our eyes to God’s generosity and provision for us. The Vestry has seen that in the parish as a whole, finding encouragement to invest in our ministries in response to God’s calls. You too can experience this blessing in your own life as you embrace stewardship more broadly as a Christian discipline.


How are you supporting the church financially? How are you more broadly managing your life as a Christian steward to God? God bless you in this season of Lent as you grow in grace and walk more closely with our Lord.


He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 2 Corinthians 9:10-11


Yours in Christ,


-Tom

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