More Than Enough: Stewardship 2023
Letter from the Rector – October 4, 2022
And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven, and blessed and broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And all ate and were filled. What was left over was gathered up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. Luke 9:16-17, NRSV
Dear St. Paul’s Family,
I am grateful to you, and to all the members of our congregation. Throughout the year I have witnessed such generosity as you contribute your ideas, your funds, and your time to our community. Every dollar that we raise, every minute of volunteerism, every good plan comes from the heart and goes toward our mission.
Our pledge campaign this year focuses on the miracle of sharing, the ways in which our means meet the needs of the world, the ways in which we respond to the Gospel, the ways in which we sustain our community. Our theology of giving focuses on the three-legged stool of Wealth, Works, and Wisdom, the ways in which we make our gifts to the world. In today’s letter, I would like to focus on Wisdom.
Our ancient texts treat Wisdom in a personified manner, in some of our traditions, almost as a fourth member of the Godhead. Wisdom is a source of inspiration, creativity, and guidance that has been a part of the world since it was chaos. Wisdom smooths out the edges of our Creation and gives us ways to make order, plan for change, prepare for renewal, appreciate what we have. She (the pronoun often ascribed to Wisdom) is in all of us, resonant, reactive, reaching forward to make connections with our traditions and culture and experience.
More Than Enough, the theme for our campaign, brings us back to that moment of miracle described in Luke’s Gospel, having just been fed by Jesus from a scant few loaves and fishes. The people in that story heard Jesus’ call to share what they had in order that all might benefit; and that is what you do with the gift of Wisdom you possess. When we have strategies that need to be developed, or committees that need to be staffed, or problems that need to be solved, you answer the call of your church, and share your wisdom and experience.
Wisdom adds to wisdom, and our whole community is filled with inspiration and action. You are that inspiration and action, without whom our church and our ministry would be diminished. In a few weeks, you will receive an invitation to name and pledge the gifts you will make in the coming year to help our church and our neighbors. I ask that you pray with us as we launch our annual gathering of gifts and gratitude, and consider how you will contribute your gift of wisdom.
In Abundant Gratitude,
The Rev. Mark Wilkinson, Rector
Letter from the Senior Warden- October 19, 2022
Dear St. Paul’s Family,
When I was asked to serve as your Senior Warden this year, I had no idea what an honor it would turn out to be. More than being the chair of our leadership, I have had the opportunity throughout the year to witness the many ways that you contribute to the church and to our neighbors. While we do spend a lot of time in our Vestry meetings talking about our own finances and operations, we spend even more discussing how we can serve our neighbors around St Paul’s and focus our work on the world.
More Than Enough, our campaign for this year’s pledge campaign, calls us to remember that when we share what we have with the world, miracles happen. Our theology of giving focuses on the three-legged stool of Wealth, Works, and Wisdom, the ways in which we make our gifts to the world. In today’s letter, I would like to focus on Works.
In his epistle, St. James reminds us that our faith and our works are both necessary to activate our true calling as Christians. It is not enough to simply believe, but we must act on that faith to serve our neighbors and change the world. You do this all the time, in so many ways. The Neighborhood Garden, KatyCares, KCM, The Beacon, The Gathering Place and Fall Fest.
Your works are not just about the programs our church sponsors or arranges in our community, or the things we pray for on Sundays; they are also about the way you raise your family, pursue your career, participate in the civic life of our community, volunteer your time in schools, shelters, and social causes. We are called to be the body, and I have seen you be the hands, heart, and head of God in our community. Inspired and informed by your faith, you give so much to our neighbors.
Thank you. Thank you for all that you do for the Church and for the world. In a couple of weeks, you will be receiving an invitation to pledge your gifts for the year to come. I ask that you pray with us as we launch our annual gathering of gifts and gratitude. Please consider how you will contribute your gift of work.
With humble thanks,
Harlan Matthews, Sr. Warden
Letter from the Treasurer- October 26, 2022
Dear St. Paul’s Family,
Leading the annual campaign is never easy, but it has its own rewards. One of those is to witness the power of how your gifts fund the mission and ministry of our church in the community. Because of you, we can share our message of love with many, and this is the greatest gift!
We have been focusing on Works, Wisdom, and Wealth as we enter our annual campaign this year, and it falls on me to talk about Wealth. Each household has had a different financial experience of the pandemic, and this year’s turbulent market and inflation have been rough on all of us. Even so, I am inspired by the ways you made and continued to make your financial gifts to sustain our ministry.
Our campaign theme is More Than Enough, and it comes from the end of Luke’s version of the feeding of the five-thousand. Responding to Jesus’ call, the gathered crowd turns their pockets inside out, shakes out their blankets, rummages through their parcels to find enough to take care of the needs of the community. And what do they realize? That by the miracle of faith and the action of Love, there was more than enough, an abundance of leftovers!
Our stewardship campaign is like that ancient story: each of us contributing what we can provides enough – enough to fund our operations and an abundance more to take care of our neighbors and plan for the future. Every gift is a miracle, a chance to change the world. And every gift is Love, the kind of love that protects, trusts, hopes, and perseveres, as St. Paul wrote to the Corinthians.
This year, our goal is a Pledge Total of $372,000, an increase of about 10% from last year. Reaching that level, along with nominal, miscellaneous and incidental income that we normally also receive during the year, will enable us to meet rising costs, as well as to fully fund the various needs of all of our programs that are vital to our mission, for total budgeted expenditures of around $383,000 in 2023.
Thank you. Thank you for all that you do for the Church and for the world. Today I am asking you to consider what you will pledge to our community in the coming year to sustain our ministry and to serve our neighbors.
I ask that you pray with us as we launch our annual gathering of gifts and gratitude, and consider how you will contribute your gift of wealth.
In the spirit of love,
Bruce McKee, Treasurer
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