November 15, 2022
By The Rev. Michelle Baker-Wright, PhD, Priest-in-Charge
Dear Parishioner and Friend of St. James’,
Every pledge campaign begins with gratitude, and I give thanks to God for the gift of this community every day. Throughout all the uncertainties of this year, you have faithfully contributed your ideas, your funds, and your time to our community. Your generosity empowers the ministry that we do together at St. James’. Because you give, we continue to be a place where those in need come to be strengthened and fed, where children and youth experience vibrant educational opportunities, and where we worship together and are sent out into the world to love and serve in Christ’s name.
This year, each of us is being asked to focus on “Growing Faith Through Generosity.” Throughout scripture, we hear faith described in a manner akin to a muscle that needs to be exercised and stretched. In all areas of our lives, our choices point back to what we believe to be true about God, our relationships, and our world. The choice to give can feel like both a risk and an investment. It is a statement about what we find of value, and it is a tangible way that we participate in God’s work in the world.
Faith and generosity are virtues that remind us that life is larger than ourselves. God is the source of all that we have, and “all that we have we return to God.” In the Hebrew Scriptures, the practice of offering the “first fruits” of their harvest was a discipline that formed God’s people in patterns of trust. When we bring forward bread, wine, and money during the Offertory and place it on the altar each Sunday, we symbolically enact this discipline.
In giving, we discover that the choices that we make in faith deepen our own lives and our relationship with God, as they tangibly impact our community. As we emerge from the past three years of pandemic and societal unrest, there has never been a more critical time for St. James’ to embody good news to our world.
Here is a pledge card for 2023; on November 20, Christ the King Sunday, you will have the opportunity to place this card on the altar as a way of offering the gifts you will make in the coming year to help our church and our neighbors. If it is more convenient for you to give online, online pledging options are available on our website, sjcsp.org. Our faith and generosity is rooted in the One whose faithfulness is steadfast; and in gratitude we have the opportunity to make this good news known more fully to those around us.
In Abundant Gratitude,
The Rev. Michelle Baker-Wright, PhD