“I thank my God every time I remember you, constantly praying with joy in every one of my prayers for all of you, because of your sharing in the gospel from the first day until now.” Philippians 1.3-5
Paul says it better than me. My greatest thanksgiving this year, as often, is for each one of you who make up this amazing, compassionate, dedicated, Christ-following community. Last year at this time I wrote pretty much a manifesto for the coming year, this year I want to keep it simple – and encourage us all to celebrate, and re-dedicate ourselves to, our community of faith, hope, and love at St. John The Divine.
Growth and Grace
We have seen in this past year some new members who are already active in service and faithful in prayer at St. John’s, I am glad for the energy and love which they bring and share. We are considering our worship pattern through the week, and wondering about the viability of a new Sunday evening service once a month, we continue to have a hard-working and creative staff, generous clergy and ministers, dedicated pastoral team, prayer ministries, healing ministry, and those who take careful thought for our governance, administration and finances. We are blessed.
We, as I’ve said before, have an abundance – of time, talent and treasure. We have many who give generously of themselves and what they have to perform and to support the mission and ministry of the church, here and beyond our walls. Thank you! We continue to grow as an expansive and generous community – a giving, outward looking people and it is exciting to have the privilege of leading such a community.
Strategy and stewardship
I am grateful for those, our Treasurer David, and the Finance Group, who in partnership with our wardens continue to carefully explain and account for the finances of our church. Our strategic plan, as passed overwhelmingly at Vestry, is being reworked into priorities which the budget and the ongoing work of planning can take into account. We are considering moving towards a fundraising campaign in partnership with our Diocese under the banner of ‘Transforming Futures’ and careful thought is being given to what that would mean and what we would be aiming for. We seek to be a Church that is embedded with love and service in our local downtown community – with all of the difficulties and opportunities that offers.
As we undertake to live into our vision to be and to have ‘A heart for Victoria’ we realize that to continue with all that we undertake, and to move into new ways of being and doing Christian Disciples, we need your support – financial, and in terms of your time, gifts and energy. I recently read a piece by Erin Wathen on the Patheos Progressive website that talked about volunteerism, and says:
You cannot volunteer at your own church, in the same way you cannot babysit your own kid. Because the church belongs to you in the same way your family does. It’s your own place, your own people. So of course you help take care of it.
St. John’s feels to most of us, I hope, that we belong here, we belong together. If we wish to continue to grow as community, we all need to give – our prayers, our money, our time, our energy, our wisdom, our presence; whatever it is we are able to offer. As we come to the end of the year we consider our giving, and I would ask that you consider how we might continue on our path of growth, and sustain our many ministries. Out of our gratitude for all that our community gives, please consider your thanksgiving gift and your ongoing support for St. John’s. It isn’t often I have been bold in saying that we need money, but here I am, and we do, money given to allow us to pay staff, cover costs, and invest in all that we do now, and all we hope to do in our shared future. Pray, and prayerfully give as you are able.
I continue, day by day, to give thanks for the life of this community, and for all of you, as I continue to be energized, enthused, and refreshed just by being a part of St. John’s. My thanks again to you all, for being and for continuing to build a spiritual community with a heart for justice and for change.
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!
With thanks for our partnership in the Gospel,
The letter and Fall Calendar can be downloaded below.