All Saints Messenger - October 31, 2013

posted Oct 30, 2013, 12:32 PM by Church Secretary

My dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Fall is a time of harvest and thanksgiving - a time of gratitude for all the gifts God gives to us.  At All Saints, as with most parishes, it is also time for us to give back, which we do, in large part, through our annual Stewardship drive.  Over the next two Sundays, Stewardship will be a major theme of our services.

As we prepare for this and consider what it means to be a child of God, a disciple of Jesus Christ, and a part of the All Saints parish family, I ask you to prayerfully consider the following questions:

  • Have I been an active participant in the life of All Saints this past year? If not, do I wish that I were?
  • Am I actively involved in at least one ongoing ministry, such as the Altar Guild, Choir, Fellowship, Lector, refreshment provider, Usher, Sunday School, Vestry and/or the associated Committees?
  • How do I feel about the proportion of my resources that I have returned to their ultimate Source? How does this compare with my family's other expenditures?
  • Does my commitment of time to All Saints represent an appropriate percentage of the total number of hours I have available for charitable activity?
  • Is there an element of sacrifice in what I give of my time, energy, and money to the church? Or do I tend to fall back on what is easy?
  • Is the check I write to the parish from my "first fruits", based in faith, or do I give out of my financial "leftovers?"
  • Have I been willing to make a pledge to this parish as a tangible sign of my devotion and dedication to its ministry? Or do I assume others will keep All Saints going and growing?

I know that some of these questions are challenging, and they are meant to be. No one, not the Vestry, myself, nor anyone else at All Saints, can answer any of these questions for you or discern their meaning and relevance to your life and circumstances.

I thank you for your continued support of All Saints.  We are called as a community of faith to give back to God.  As you are aware All Saints depends on pledge income to operate and grow.  In 2013, approximately 60% of our parishioners filled out a pledge card.  If you have not pledged in the past I ask you to consider doing so this year.  If you do pledge, I would ask you to consider increasing your current pledge.  This past year we have spent exactly what we budgeted. We have taken every effort to keep costs down but we have also increased our obligation to increasing outreach.  In these times we know the need will be very real in the coming year.  This is where we really do need to do more and this year's budget reflects an increase in this ministry.

One of my favorite blessings to impart on the People of All Saints as we prepare to re-enter the world comes from Teresa of Avila, a 16th Century Nun, theologian, and mystic.  She reminds us in her simple and beautiful words that we are the ONLY people who can continue Christ's presence in the world:

Christ has no body now on earth but yours,

no hands but yours,

no feet but yours,

yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion

is to look out into the world,

yours are the feet by which he is to go about doing good

and yours are the hands by which He is to bless us now.

I am blessed to be your rector, we are all blessed to be Children of God and have All Saints as our parish family, let us remember how we have been called to be Christ's presence in the world and give joyfully out of our abundance and "first fruits."

In Christ's abounding love and grace,

Gary+ 

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