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Rising to the Challenge: Stewardship 2022

A Special Place

Allison Rector

St. James’ is a special place. I started attending when my son was just a little guy…he’s 24 now! We were looking for church home, found St. James’ and have never looked back.  

I was looking for a place to grow spiritually, become involved, make friendships and find respite from a very busy life. St. James’ has become a place for me over the years to continue to develop spiritually and remain grounded in scripture. I find peace simply in the pews, as soon as I sit down.

Over the years, with life’s ups and downs, St. James’ has always been a place where I found peace and a deeper love of God.  The past year has not been easy: a pandemic, protests over racial injustice, and a time of great uncertainty. St. James’ has been a place I could turn to.  

The church continued to minister to parishioners and provide creative ways to provide spiritual support and guidance.  Reverend Anne, Reverend Michelle and Reverend Gethin worked tirelessly to continue to keep the virtual doors open to everyone. The patio services were magical under the trees with the parrots signing along with the choir.  Spiritual delivery may have looked different but the message was the same.    

Our lives have changed. I eat better and exercise more.  I don’t take anything for granted - in particular time!  I’m a better mother, sister and friend.  I am kind to strangers and take every chance I get to understand people’s stories.  I continue to seek ways to grow spiritually.  Some things that were important to me are now more important.  

I pledge to St. James’ because it’s important to me.  I want to be able to support the ministries, provide a place of comfort and peace that will be here now and well into the future.  

The Definition of Stewardship

Deno Kidde

I have been a member of the St. James’ family for over 30 years. My three children attended St. James’ Parish Day School and were acolytes. My son did his Eagle Scout project here at St James’. I am an Altar Guild member, and on the current Vestry. I am also am a Lay Eucharist Minister (LEM).  

I am being a steward by donating my time to St. James’, but I also am a good steward by pledging to financially support St James’. St. James’ has guided me through the last 30+ years and I have in turn been a steward by pledging each year.

I am rewarded with what St. James’ offers me spiritually, and physically. It is hard to put into words what I have received here at St. James’ but my heart is full and I will continue to pledge and be a good steward so that we can keep carrying on.

The definition of STEWARDSHIP: “Utilizing and managing all resources God provides for the glory of God and the betterment of his creation.”

Enriching Our Faith

Allen, Sylvia, and Emily Bergstrom

Our family has been coming to St. James’ for almost a decade.  Time flies!  We came searching for community, and found so much more.

This community has enriched our faith.  Emily had her first formal Eucharist here, and Sylvia and Allen were received into the Episcopal Church here.  We’ve attended various adult retreats and religious classes.  After years of attending Sunday School, Emily now attends the youth services and “Awaken” for teens.  

This community has surrounded us with love.  Over the years we’ve shared fellowship with, and received loving kindness from, many people in our church.  There have been prayers in times of need, financial support for the kids to go to the National Acolyte Festival in Washington DC, and meals delivered to parishioners recovering from illness.  There have been beautiful concerts, pool parties, Dodger nights, and bbq’s, and our favorite service every year—Mass on the Grass—where our dog, Pickles, can join us and be blessed.  Through all this, our family has gotten to know many interesting and lovely people, and pets!

There have also been a wealth of opportunities to “Live the Word of God” through service.  We’ve enjoyed being part of different ministries--Ushering, Children’s Ministry, Food Locker, Community Care, and the Building & Grounds Committee.  Allen currently serves on the Vestry.  Emily has enjoyed being a Chorister during the holidays and participating in the Christmas Pageant.  These days she serves as an Acolyte.

You may be reading about all these wonderful memories and thinking:  I remember that old church, but it’s not like that anymore…  Well, we believe the most important part of it was still there through the Pandemic—this church family.  Our awesome clergy provided sermons, and later whole services and classes, online so we could continue being connected.  

Parishioners stepped up to provide beautiful art and music to accompany those sermons and services, and to record the services for people to watch from home.  Now we’re slowly getting back into the rhythm of learning together, loving together, and serving together in person, and it turns out that our church still needs us to help pay the bills.  We humbly pledge to support St. James’ so that this community can continue and thrive, and hope you’ll join us too.

An Act of Christian Love

Chris and Mary Jo Wiedey

St. James’ Church is a wonderful blessing from God that we share together. It is a house of worship that provides a setting for our ministries and our devoted care. In a more profound sense, St. James’ is a living community of faithful followers, seeking the guidance of our Lord.

And yet, the season of Christian Stewardship reminds us that none of these blessings are our own. We are merely caretakers of what God has given us. Our calling as Christians is to extend faith, hope and love in the present and in the future. This calling requires resources.  

We first pledged to St. James’ when we moved to Pasadena ten years ago. We made many new friends whose dedication to St. James’ served as an inspiration and incentive. We found the Sunday Eucharist service to be thoughtful and sublime. Of course, as musicians ourselves we appreciated the high quality of music at St. James’.

But while all of these reasons are important, they are secondary to the fact that at St. James’ we are challenged to think seriously about the summons to fulfill Christ’s teaching. Each week we gain deeper insight into the teachings of the Gospels, the Pauline letters, and the Hebrew scriptures. Sundays at St. James’ are never insipid.

As St. James’ enters its autumn 2021 Stewardship campaign, we ask you to consider how we might grow as a faithful community, and what kinds of resources will be needed to continue and extend the mission of our church.

Stewardship is about giving thanks for the blessings that God has given us. It is an act of Christian love that helps the church achieve its highest purposes. We encourage you to think about giving back to God a portion of the gifts you have received from Him. Please join us in pledging to St. James’.

Rising to the Challenge

Kevin Baaske, Stewardship Chair

Dear Friends,

I write to ask if you will make a commitment to St. James’ Church in the form of a pledge for 2022. If you have pledged previously, I ask that you pledge again. If you have not pledged before, I ask that you become a pledging member of our wonderful church.

Each year, we reach out to all members of the congregation to ask them to make such a commitment. If you listen to the words of our stewardship speakers and read the inserts in the Sunday Bulletin, you will know that pledging makes people feel better about themselves and their relationship to God.

This probably doesn’t surprise you. We know that the blessings we have come from God. When we commit to financially support St. James’, we signal that we recognize this and are grateful. Providing financial support to St. James’ also enables the church to continue its mission “to Learn, to Love, to Live the Word of God” and I know that you will feel good about contributing to that mission by making a pledge.

This year’s stewardship theme is “Rising to the Challenge: We Are All In This Together.” If we all make a commitment to St. James’ by pledging, I sincerely believe that we can overcome any difficulties we might face as a parish of Jesus Christ.

There are pledge cards in the pews and one will also be mailed to you. On Sunday, November 7, we will place our pledge cards on the altar as one community of faithful people. If you are unable to attend church that Sunday, just put your pledge card in the offertory plate as soon after the 7th as is convenient or mail it back to the Church.

Thank you for reading this letter. I pray that you will make a pledge and that God bless you and your loved ones.