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Stewardship 2023: Growing Faith Through Generosity

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Growing in Faith at St. James’

The Drust Family - Rob, Margaret, Robert and Paul

We’ve attended St. James’ for 32 years. As we reflected over the previous three decades, it became very apparent that every important event in our adult lives has included St. James’…  we were married here 31 years ago, and it was truly one of the most wonderful days of our lives. When we were expecting our twin sons, Robert and Paul, we were blessed by The Rev. Mary Gray-Reeves (The Rt. Rev. Bishop of the Diocese of El Camino Real, now retired, who at the time was an Associate Priest at St. James’), Rev. Mary bestowed a special blessing of health and strength upon us and our unborn babies. It was that blessing, in this church 25 years ago, which we believe has kept us safe, happy, and healthy.

Once the boys were born, St. James’ became even more important, as we committed to raising them to know the love of Christ. Robert and Paul were baptized and confirmed at St. James’ they previously served as acolytes and were active members of our AWAKEN Youth Group, they were part of the Youth Pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 2015. Our sons have grown up, all 6 foot 4 inches of them, at St. James’. This church has provided them a foundation for their personal lifelong Spiritual journey. As they grow into young adulthood, St. James’ has provided them with opportunities to make good decisions, be kind and thoughtful with their words and actions towards others and to build a strong relationship with God. Finally, many of you are our dearest friends whose fellowship we enjoy both inside and outside the walls of St. James’.  

We believe pledging is our way of giving back to St. James’ for the many blessings we have received. This church has given so much for which we are grateful. It only seems right to give back. Our hope is for St. James’ to continue for another 100 + years to serve the needs of others. We believe we reap the rewards far more from just knowing we are giving and helping others and this Church. St. James’ can only provide the services and ministries that are so richly deserved in our Parish family, with your help.  Please keep the Stewardship theme in mind as you consider your pledge – “Growing Faith Through Generosity.”  We believe you will receive the rewards and benefits many times over.

May God continue to Bless You.

Growing Up in Hawaii

Alicia Nakata

My name is Alicia Ho Nakata and I grew up in Honolulu, Hawaii. While growing up, my parents were very happy to pledge to the local church. As you know many of the churches were founded by missionaries. My relatives/friends belonged to different religious groups but we all got along. I remember the good times I had at my church by attending Sunday School, going on trips, singing in the choir, participating in sports activities, and doing fund raisers.

After leaving Honolulu following graduation from high school, it was easy to find an Episcopal church in any city in California. However, I have gone to many different churches in different areas and found St. James’ in South Pasadena to meet my needs. The people are friendly and welcoming so I felt comfortable being an active member. (My family members were active in the Episcopal Church but have left home.)

The people here at St. James’ care about the old, the young, and the in-between. The music and liturgy are welcoming to any newcomer. This is why I have pledged to St. James’ and hope others feel the same way.

Our New Hometown Church

Bryan Garcia, Jessica Robles, and Laurence

Our little family moved to South Pasadena and began attending St. James’ Church in May of 2021 (mostly at 8 o’clock, in case you’re wondering why you don’t recognize us). We are originally from Los Angeles County, but spent about a dozen years living in Berkeley before returning to the region after Laurence was born. Part of what drew us to South Pasadena specifically was its walkability, including to the local Episcopal church!

We wish we could share some sort of heartfelt story of why we chose St. James’ to be our place of worship, but in reality it was simply the parish church in our new town. We are strong believers in the geographic parish system, which is deeply embedded in the “DNA” of Anglicanism. Through our Prayer Book, each parish church can be the local expression of our particular form of Christianity within its surrounding community.

This isn’t to say that there aren’t wonderful things about St. James’ that have kept us here so far, even with it being a sort of “default” choice: Families with young children like us feel integrated into the life of the parish; the clergy and staff are warm and welcoming; the excellent music and choir; the parish day school that Laurence now attends.

It’s because of these things that we pledge to St. James’ Church. Bryan served on the vestry at a previous parish of ours, so he especially knows the importance of pledges to the financial planning of the organization. Above all, we make our annual pledge to give our “first fruits” to God in order that the Kingdom of Heaven may be brought closer to reality here in this place, our parish, “on earth as it is in heaven.”