The following letter was mailed to all members of First Pres. It accompanies a letter from the chair of the finance committee and a pledge card. Stewardship Sunday will take place on Nov. 6th.
Dear friends of First Presbyterian Church,
As 2022 quickly winds down, it is time for the Finance Committee of our congregation to collect annual pledges for the coming year. These pledge amounts will be used to create an operational budget that plans for employee salaries, facility usage, and mission-giving, among other things. None of these things simply happen. You pay your light bills and your staff (thank you!) by giving generously as the Lord leads you to give. You provide precious financial resources, and the leadership of our congregation determines how to best put those resources to work. Because you give, Lauren Scharstein can minister to young women in Kenya; Love INC can employ necessary staff who love the poor and the marginalized; and your pastor is free to preach, to pray, to teach, and to counsel without the encumbrance of another vocation. Because you give, we can light and heat a building that shelters not just our congregation but Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, and the Hillsdale Arts Chorale. Because you give, inspiring choral anthems resound throughout our county every Sunday morning at 7:30 AM, and those on the down-and-out can catch a free meal and a little hospitality every month. This all happens because you give.
We are entering a challenging season in the life of our congregation. The experts tell us that a great shaking is coming to the American church. The mainline project has come to an end. American culture was once deeply informed by the great Protestant church traditions. This is no longer true. Many churches will close in the coming decade. Many others will choose the path of lingering. I pray that you would join me in wanting neither of these paths for our beloved church. We want to not only remain open but to thrive amid the turmoil of American life. We want to worship God in the Spirit and in truth (John 4:24). We want to be a congregation that prays unceasingly (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We want to be a part of the discipling of the nations (Matthew 28:19). We want to be a community of shared rejoicing and shared weeping (Romans 12:15). We want to keep in step with the Holy Spirit (Galatians 5:25).
Not all churches will close or linger. In fact, there is a clear indication that throughout our land and even in our own community there will be churches which are full of the Spirit’s power. They will minister with faithfulness. They will preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. They will grow in depth and in size. It will happen because of the grace and strength of God. I want us to be one of those churches. Let us pray, work, and give to that end. And may our great God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – be glorified.
Yours in Christ,