It’s Thanksgiving week, and as often happens this time of year I find myself thinking about Barney the purple dinosaur. You see, when our children were younger, we often read “Barney’s Thanksgiving” together, a sweet little book in which Barney and his friends take turns sharing the relationships, foods and gifts of nature for which they are thankful. For better or for worse, it’s just one of those associations that will likely be with me for the rest of my life. So as I write this week’s message, I will summon my muses – Barney, BJ and Baby Bop – and share some personal reflections of gratitude as they relate to St. John’s.
We speak often about how challenging life has been over the past 18 months, at every level, but I hope that the many inspirational reflections of how St. John’s has not only survived but thrived during this time have been a source of pride, strength and comfort. So, first and foremost, I’m thankful to our clergy, our staff and our countless volunteers for their tireless leadership and support of St. John’s, because without them, none of it would have been possible.
As we near the conclusion of our annual giving campaign, I am most grateful to the individuals who shared their “Ministry Moments” over the past six weeks. Their messages of what it means to share their time, talent and treasure, and how they have seen those gifts multiplied within and beyond the walls of our church are so impactful and inspiring. I’m also thankful for those of you who have taken the time to respond to the campaign with your pledges of support for the coming year. Your gifts are a true blessing.
Speaking of stewardship, our theme for this year’s campaign was “A Future With Hope,” and I am grateful for the opportunities that lie ahead for St. John’s. I’ve been deeply involved in the consultation process with Ministry Architects this year, and there is so much energy and love behind this strategic planning process that will guide our parish over the next 3-5 years. We’ve got a lot of work to do, and I am sure we’ll hit some bumps in the road along the way, but it’s an exciting time and I can’t wait until the day we look back and see just how far we’ve come.
I’m so thankful to see so many people returning to in-person worship! It’s wonderful to see familiar faces, and to welcome our newcomers, each week in our sanctuary. At the same time, I’m thankful to see that our on-line worship service continues to attract others who are not able or not quite ready to join our services in person. I don’t think I realized how much strength I draw from this community of worship until it was not available during the pandemic.
And finally, as my tenure on Vestry wraps up this year, I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to serve in this role. I appreciate the thoughts, concerns and questions that many of you have brought to my attention over the past year, and the spirit of trust in which you shared them. I am especially grateful for the words of support that I have received.
The list could go on and on … Best wishes and blessings to you and your families for a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!