One of my earliest memories from church was the Doxology, singing “Praise God from whom all blessings flow” to the tune of the Old 100th. I remember the ushers approaching the altar, holding the highly polished collection plates as the nave filled with the sound of reverberating voices. This was also the first piece of church music I learned to play on the piano, and one I played dozens of times at church services when I grew older. I have since forgotten how to play it, but I will never forget the feeling.
These memories and emotions quickly returned to me as the Stewardship Committee discussed the annual fund campaign, reflecting on the writings of Episcopal priest, writer, and poet, the Reverend Renée Miller:
Gratitude practice is beneficial for every spiritual personality. It is both an internal practice and a practice of ministry. We find our own soul expanding every time we feel and express gratitude, and when we’re grateful, we find that our lives expand as well. Those who are grateful bring grace into the lives of others. Gratitude builds on itself and when we grow in gratitude others grow in theirs. One moment of gratitude leads to another and in the end, we have hearts filled with joy.
This passage transformed my thoughts and feelings about how and why my family will be pledging this year and will continue to share our financial gifts with St. Peter’s. To me, pledges and donations are outward expressions of gratitude for the blessings we receive from God. My family and I feel blessed to belong to the community of St. Peter’s, as I hope you do too. Our response to God’s love and abundance in the form of a financial commitment will help us uphold and realize our Parish Vision.
Please join me, the Vestry and the Stewardship Committee in pledging for this year’s annual fund by Commitment Sunday, November 5.
In faith and with gratitude for life at St. Peter’s,
Jay Norton, Annual Fund Chairman