Faith in Action: The Theme for the Year 2024
Worship is the submission of all of our nature to God. It is the quickening of the conscience by his holiness; the nourishment of mind with his truth; the purifying of imagination by his beauty; the opening of the heart to his love; the surrender of will to his purpose–all this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable.”
―William Temple Archbishop of Canterbury 1942-44 during World War 2
My beloved St. John’s Episcopal parishioners,
As we conclude the Advent season this Sunday, I am left feeling a bit disoriented and confused. Firstly, it went too swiftly for me. I left the darkness and long nights of North America just after Thanksgiving and flew to South Africa. It felt like going back in time or fast-forwarding time, to be in winter on Monday, November 27th, and then disembark a plane the next evening to a bright summer sky at 8 pm in the southern hemisphere. It really is amazing what technology enables us to achieve. For example, my grandfather was able to go to England in the sixties. Trips like those took weeks or months in the past years. Yet for me to attend his funeral in South Africa it took me less than twenty-four hours. What a tremendous accomplishment in the transport industry. Thank you to the innovators and people who work endlessly to reduce the gap and make trips to South Africa efficient.
Similarly, the Annual Campaign at St. John’s is taking longer to achieve the target and, at this point, we are facing a deficit budget. A deficit is like the journey my grandfather took from South Africa to England by ship when it took them a week to get to their destination. It is going to take
longer to get to your destination and you will be so exhausted when you arrive. But now we can fly and can get there relatively in a short time. A balanced budget is the most efficient way to get to our destination. So, for me, when Mo. Sarah asked me to help with the Stewardship Team, I
was excited to work with the team and find ways to achieve our goal for this 2024 Annual Campaign. I know some of my colleagues who are associate rectors do not like the Stewardship Campaign and they find it daunting. I love it because I am an evangelist at heart, and love
advocating for God’s Kingdom to come down here on earth. I am passionate about seeing God’s reign to be actualized in concrete ways. Just like the incarnation of Jesus, who actualized the reality of God and made God a tiny baby and vulnerable like everyone else. If Jesus was willing
to be dethroned, then there is nothing I will be unwilling to do.
Therefore, I am grateful to be working with the Stewardship Team and learning together with them. It is exciting to work on a crucial background piece that enables our church to be a caring and loving place.
Thank you for your hard work on the Faith in Action Annual Campaign. Pastoral Calls helped to remind and urge people to send their pledges.
This campaign left me with the reminder that the church is ultimately an institution for those who do not yet belong to it. Our business is to be working for those who are not a part of our beloved church community. As a parish in the Town of Wake Forest, we are committed to serving the
population of this town.
Personal stories are always key to a successful campaign and sharing God’s good news to the world. Special thanks and shout-outs are in order:
● to the Stewardship Team members- Gabrielle, Victor, Kevin, Gail, Patti, Carol,, and Camille- for sharing their stories with the congregation. They were not simply serving on an assigned committee. They told you why they care and even what sacrifices, struggles, or learnings motivate their commitment to be on the Stewardship Team.
● to Gail Perry for the very inspirational seminar on fundraising and that she shared some ideas from her book to entitled Fired-Up Fundraising: Turn Board Passion into Action
● for team members’ willingness to write thank you notes quickly
● for Louis Miller’s financial expertise and resolve to urge us all to give a 15 % increase
● for Barb, our administrator, and Al, our treasurer, who are on top of all the numbers and keep track of new pledges, reduced pledges, and people who have gone away
● For us, as a congregation, who have collectively committed more pledges than last year.
That is a huge accomplishment, and we are training more people to lead and coordinate the work of the stewardship ministry.