“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…” James 1:17, NRSV
Dear Friends of Saints James and Andrew,
Every message about our pledge campaign begins with Gratitude, and I am pleased to continue the message you have received from our clergy recently as we focus on our annual pledge campaign. Our theme this year, Every Perfect Gift, highlights all the ways in which we have been blessed by God and how that inspires us to give back to our neighbors, our church, and the world. In my message to you, I want to focus on our gifts of Treasure, the financial gifts that we make to our community to support our mission.
This year has been so different from other years in terms of what has been asked of us as individuals and as a community. I want you to know, because I have heard your stories and walked along side you this year, that I know some of us are struggling with finances, with isolation, with uncertainty. Over and over again, I learn that it is the God we encounter at our church and Jesus who we follow by recognizing him in each other, that keep us together, that provide the consistency in a shifting world.
Every dollar that we raise has a face behind it, a story, a purpose, a mission! We use our financial gifts to serve God, to care for each other, and to show our love for our neighbors. What greater gift can there be? I am grateful for how each of you supports our ministry in our community.
If you are ever in doubt about the impact of your giving, look around you. Whether you have seen your church family on a screen this year or in pews as we have been allowed, every person you see is part of the story of your giving. As you consider making your gift or your intention to give this year, I ask that you also consider how you have been impacted, and how you will impact this church and our neighbors. What is the story of your gift, how will it unfold? How will your blessing be a blessing to others? This is the spirit behind our theme of Every Perfect Gift.
This year I invite you to make your perfect gift, reflective of the gifts you have received from our Creator.
With gratitude for each of you,
Di Kurkulonis, Stewardship Chair
Con Trowbridge, Erica Burns, Elizabeth Keitel, Stewardship Team
Thank you for returning the online pledge form by Sunday, November 7, 2021. If you prefer to submit a card, you can pick one up at the Church Office.
Dear Friends of Saints James and Andrew,
Every pledge campaign begins with gratitude, and that is how we want to begin our message to you this year. We are inspired by your generosity – by the grand acts that you have accomplished this year, by the single acts of love and kindness, and by the unseen work you have done in service to God and our church community. We cannot say it enough--thank you.
Our pledge campaign this year focuses on our gifts; not just on the things we wrap with paper and bows, and not the things we put in envelopes or give from our bank accounts, but all of the gifts that we give throughout the year. It is traditional to talk about offering the gifts of time, talent, and treasure, and easy to do so without really focusing on the strength each offers our community. We are grateful and aware of the ways in which you have given all three, and today we want to focus on your time.
Time, they say, is the greatest gift, because it is a gift that we can’t replace. When we give our treasure or our talent, they come from renewable streams, to some extent. But time, once given, can’t be taken back, reclaimed. This is why we are inspired by the ways that you give of your time to this community. You give generously by being present with the community in worship- whether it be virtual or in-person; by volunteering at our feeding ministries and pantry; by engaging in the important work of creation care, anti-racism, and advocating for God’s dream for this world. Whether these gifts of time are measured in hours spent running a ministry, participating in our programs, volunteering in the community, or in minutes spent on zoom calls, this community is generous with its time!
In this season where we uphold our gifts, we hold you up in light, love, and leadership. Over the coming weeks you will be hearing more about our parishes’ gifts from clergy and lay leaders. Know that each of you is a gift, to each other and to a world in need of our loving, liberating, and life-giving God.
Rev. Heather and Rev. Molly
Dear People of Saints James and Andrew,
We are overjoyed that in this Eastertide, as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ, conditions will soon allow us to resume limited in-person worship. The last year has been hard in many ways, but despite the challenges we’ve faced, we have demonstrated resilience as a faith community. We have all learned much more than we ever thought we might need to about navigating technology in order to participate in virtual worship, coffee hour, and the like.
Many of you will remember having difficulty hearing when attending worship in the main sanctuary prior to the pandemic. Others will remember what difficulty we had with sound as we began to livestream our worship from the chapel and main sanctuary during the early days of the pandemic. The clergy and vestry have spent considerable time and energy trying to resolve these issues over the last year; our investigations have brought us to the conclusion that we must look to the future and invest in an entirely new and comprehensive sound and video system.
Vestry Members Andy Levchuk and Reynolds Whalen took on leadership of the project and met with two vendors as we explored our options, and we were immediately taken by the outstanding work Small Town Sound and Photo has done with other area churches, including St. Francis Episcopal Church in Holden, Massachusetts. (If you want to get an idea of what our new livestream worship will look and sound like, we encourage you to watch a service of St. Francis’ here.) The Vestry has voted to accept Small Town Sound’s proposal to install a new system costing $15,000; it’s our hope that the installation work will begin soon.
We feel called to undertake this large scale capital improvement in order to provide a quality livestream worship experience long after the pandemic fades away. We have come to understand live streaming to be an important way that we can include those who for various reasons are not able to worship with us in person: we see it as a tool for pastoral care and for spreading the good news of God’s love well beyond Franklin County.
This project will enhance the worship experience of both those who are gathered in person and those who are watching from home. We are drawing from our savings accounts to initially cover these expenses.
We invite parishioners and friends of the parish to prayerfully consider making a special one-time gift to this project, in thanksgiving for God’s blessing as we resume in-person worship. It is our goal to raise $15,000 and replenish our savings during this year in which we are already facing a deficit budget.
If you are moved to make a contribution, we encourage you to send donations earmarked for ‘sound/video’. We also can accept donations through our website.
You will find a video from Vestry member Reynolds Whalen on Facebook, who will help lead a new team of Digital Ministers, explaining this project in a bit more detail. We encourage you to watch it to learn more.
Thank you for your faithfulness throughout this past year, and for your generosity as we seek to invest in the future ministry and worship of our faith community.
Clergy & Vestry of Saints James and Andrew