Our CCI Annual Stewardship Drive for 2018 runs from October 21st through November 11th, during which time we will focus on the theme of “Transforming Generosity.” Stewardship time is given to us yearly to not only consider our pledge to support the mission of Christ Church, but to reflect together on our abundant blessings and our priorities as we consider Jesus’ call in our lives to be his disciples in the world. We hope for a prayerful, reflective stewardship time. Enclosed in each week’s bulletin, you will find a stewardship reflection based on the Sunday readings. Please take it home with you and use it in your personal prayer time.
When was the last time you received money when you came to church? Surprise! Upon arrival at the October 21st Sunday service, you received a $20 bill. Over the four weeks of our stewardship drive, look for an opportunity to give this to someone who needs it. It’s not meant to be sent to a charitable organization you support. Rather, let it be an opportunity to reach someone personally, on the street, at the grocery store, wherever you are likely to meet people. Don’t just hand the $20 to someone, but use it as a way to meet that person. Tell them you received it at your church and were asked to share it with someone. Let that encounter be a moment in which generosity not only transforms the receiver of your gift, but reflect on how that encounter transforms you. Return the envelope to the church over the four weeks and write on it how you used it and how the encounter touched you. No need to sign it. We will share your stories of your encounters as we receive them. If, over the four weeks, you are not able to find someone with whom to share $20, please return it to the church in the envelope provided on November 11th.
October 24, 2018
Dear Parishioners and Friends of Christ Church, Ithan,
We are energized by this year’s stewardship theme, “Transforming Generosity.” We like it because it has two meanings.
The first way to look at it is that generosity can transform us, our community and our church. When we become financially generous, we can empower the ministry of Christ Church, Ithan and transform the wider community.
The second meaning is that we can transform what generosity looks like. We can define generosity as the way we live our lives and the way our church works in the community. We are called to be generous financially. But we are also called to be generous in the way we welcome newcomers, care for the planet, forgive those who have offended us, and care for our facilities.
This year’s pledge drive is about more than our parish budget. It is about how we transform generosity and allow generosity to transform us. We know our lives can be changed through this work. We hope you are prayerfully considering the reflections offered in the Sunday bulletins during our pledge campaign. They represent a variety of voices on generosity from across the Church. Also, we hope that you find that special person with whom you will share the $20 bill given to you on October 21 and reflect on what that experience of generosity means to you.
Please wrap your decision about this year’s pledge to our church and its ministries in prayer. Fr. John noted on Week 1 in his sermon, “As we move together into a new future for Christ Church, Ithan, generous hearts and generous spirits will be essential.” Our “Good Works” initiative is being well-received in the community; our collaboration with St. Martin’s Church, Radnor is bearing fruit. Your Vestry is working hard to find ways for us to grow in discipleship, to be Jesus’ hands and feet in our world. We are involved in holy work as we partner with God in transforming our world.
On Sunday, November 11, you are asked to bring the enclosed pledge card to worship. If you are not able to be at worship that weekend, kindly return your commitment card to the parish office. Please consider with us an increase in your gift to support the work of our church. We look forward to offering our pledge card with you on November 11. For us, it will be a faithful response to all we have received from God and from this wonderful parish family of Christ Church, Ithan as we enter 2019, the 100 th Anniversary of the completion of our building.
On behalf of the Vestry, thank you for your faithful witness to God’s transformative call in our lives. We are grateful that you are part of the Christ Church, Ithan family.
Julia Gould, Rector’s Warden
Bruce Wietlisbach, Accounting Warden / Treasurer
October 15, 2018
Dear Sisters and Brothers in the Lord Jesus Christ,
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry often describes us as “The Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.”
As we begin to talk about stewardship of our parish and wider community, I want to pose these questions: What does that mean for us? What is God calling us to do as followers of Jesus?
As Episcopalians, we love our worship. Our liturgies inspire us. The Eucharist is at the center of our lives. We believe the bible is the Word of God and we are people of the Word.
As part of the Jesus movement, we follow the One who loves us so much that he gave his life so that we might understand God’s never-ending love for all of creation.
And here’s the hard part: As followers of Jesus, we are called to give all of ourselves to God’s work in the world. In the sixth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, Jesus, after teaching us how to pray, talks to us about money, our needs and our hope. He reminds us that we cannot have two masters. We cannot love God and money.
Jesus then says:
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?”
He finishes by calling each of us with these words, “But seek first God’s kingdom and God’s righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
How would our church —how would we — be transformed if each of us remembered these words of Jesus? We are indeed called to set new priorities.
Establishing new priorities for ourselves and for our church means transforming how we think about generosity. That transformation will call upon us to look for generosity in every aspect of our work and in every aspect of our lives. Remember the tenth chapter of Mark’s Gospel: “Jesus, looking at the man, loved him and said, ‘You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
Jesus calls us to take the long view. Again he challenges us to give all of ourselves to God’s righteousness and trust in God’s care.
What a challenge! What transformation!
As we work together in this time of our covenant relationship, as we seek to re-envision ourselves and equip ourselves to do God’s mission in our community and our world, generous hearts and generous spirits will be essential. How we give of our time, talent and treasure will speak clearly about our priorities and what are our hopes for Christ Church, Ithan and its future. We are a blessed people. How we use the blessings we have will determine the power and strength of our faithful witness to God and the things of God’s world. This is a time for us to rely on God and be generous as we seek to serve God in and through this faith community.
I invite you to actively participate in our stewardship / pledge drive this year which begins on Sunday, October 21. We will have a special surprise for you that day if you join us for worship! Over four weeks, we will consider our theme, “Transforming Generosity” and your presence at worship for four Sundays will be a generous gift to our church community. You will receive weekly bulletin inserts for your reflection. Please pray daily over the four weeks that God’s Spirit may guide your heart to be open to the transforming work of God in your life. Finally, on Sunday, November 11, you will be asked to make your commitment to our church by your pledge.
I hope you’ll join me as we work together to transform generosity in our church, our community and our lives.
The Rev. John W. Sosnowski
Christ Church, Ithan