Stewardship and Commitment Campaign"Go out into the world in peace, have courage, hold on to what is good, return no one evil for evil, strengthen the faint-hearted, support the weak, help the suffering, honor everyone, love and serve God, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit."
Dear Members and Friends,
Once a year we come together to reflect on the many blessings God has showered upon us, and on God's call to us individually and as a community of Christ. We choose our response to His bountiful grace and pledge to one another our commitment to the life of the church in the coming year. Now is the season.
God has a purpose for
But there is so much more God is calling us to do. We can do better at what we are already doing - strengthening our current ministries to meet the increased needs of these difficult times; refreshing our physical space and our worship to shine even more brightly as a beacon of hospitality to the stranger, aid to the needy, hope to those in despair, and to the inquirer the Way of Christ. We are being called to pursue important new directions, too - further developing the nascent VCU Presbyterian Fellowship campus ministry, growing our relationship with our brothers and sisters at
All of this requires financial resources. Just beyond where our current budget takes us, there lie these and other important needs and wonderful opportunities. Each one of us makes a difference! Together, increasing our commitments, we can make a very big difference. Have courage. Trust in the Lord from whom all blessings flow, for the Lord calls us to our challenges as well. Pray that we may become an ever more faithful, ever more vibrant witness to the Gospel in the City and the world.
Thank you for your support of the church over the past year.
This year please consider increasing your financial pledge to the church. If you were not able to pledge last year, see if you can find a way to do so this year.
Please prayerfully consider tithing, the liberating Biblical ideal reflecting the commitment of one's life to God. This year make it your ideal, and make a significant move towards tithing. If all of us were to tithe or move steadily toward tithing, our church could do so much more.
Am I moving closer to what God has in mind for me, or farther away? Or am I simply wandering? Let's each of us use this season to reflect on our personal journey, and to resolve to point our life closer to God. Committing our time, talents, and worldly treasures to God is a powerful way to do so, moving us from mere church membership toward the joy, peace and rewards of living discipleship in the Lord. We establish our priorities, first returning to the Lord what is the Lord's.
We've enclosed a card on which to indicate your financial Pledge to the church for the coming year, and another card on which to indicate the areas in which you are offering to commit your time and talents. Please mail them to the church, or bring them to Worship on Dedication Sunday, November 13, 2011.
We would be delighted to discuss these matters with you or answer and questions you may have. A detailed current year budget of the Church is kept in the Church office and can be sent to you upon request.
May God bless you and your families.
Your Stewardship and Commitment Council:
Stewardship and Commitment Campaign
Words from Kathy Pryor
How are each of us called to "know Christ and to make Christ known in downtown Richmond and throughout the world"? What does it mean to celebrate the blessings God has showered on us and to figure out what an appropriate response to those God-given blessings should be? As I've been reflecting on those questions over the last few weeks, it occurred to me that most of us have a few precious people in our lives for whom we would do or give almost anything. There is no sense of sacrifice or burden because our love for the person makes it something we want to do or give. It struck me that is the way we should feel about giving back to God. After all, God has given us those special people in our lives--- along with the food we eat, the shelter we enjoy, the good lives we live. I don't know about you, but it's easier for me to feel that desire to give generously to people I know and love than to give back to God.
But I come a little closer to that sense of wanting to give generously and without any sense of sacrifice to this church, because at Second I have experienced much of what I think God's family is supposed to be about and much of the love and support that God gives us every day through God's people. We sometimes sing the refrain from the Iona community Take oh take me as I am. Summon out what I shall be." This describes for me how the writer Anne Lamott describes grace. "Grace meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us. For me, Second has offered that kind of grace"accepting each of us where we are when we walk in the door but not leaving us there. Through challenging sermons, small groups that struggle with difficult questions of faith, mission opportunities, and individual relationships with friends who are themselves seeking to live their lives more faithfully, Second summons out from each of us what we can be. By not leaving us where it found us when we walked in the door, Second challenges us to be more faithful Christians who more fully "know Christ and make Christ known" to those with whom we come in contact within and outside these walls. We do that when we engage in Second's many mission efforts. We do that when we welcome a stranger to Second. We do that when we apply our Christian faith to difficult decisions we make in our jobs. We do that when we support each other when one of us is in crisis. I've personally experienced this community of Second as the hands and heart of Christ when I was struggling with a health crisis which I knew I couldn't face on my own. Members of Second made Christ known to me in that time of crisis.
So, while I may not know how to give generously to God without any sense of sacrifice or burden, I do want to give generously to this community of faith which has helped me experience the kind of grace that accepts me fully as I am but loves me enough to nudge me toward living a deeper, richer faith. This time of stewardship is an opportunity for each of us to recognize the many blessings God has given us and to respond in gratitude by digging a little deeper"in our commitment of our time, our money, our skills and gifts. We do this not just so that this community of believers can more faithfully make Christ known in downtown Richmond and the world, but so that each of us individually can be a better reflection of who God has called us to be.
Words from Tom Jefferson - John 3:16 ~ For God so loved the world
When we think about our circumstances, we should think first about God's love for us - how blessed we are to be in the USA - in Richmond - in the church today dressed as we are - fed this morning as we surely were - expecting to be fed here at lunch. We are a very blessed group of people!
You may very well have wondered, What does your stewardship group want this year? That question has been asked in meetings recently. Usually the questioner's expectation is a dollar number or a percentage increase in pledges.
Perhaps you have noticed how careful we have been NOT to answer that way. This is what we want from you this year. First a critical recognition that all you have comes from our Father in Heaven. The parents you have or had, your spouse, your kids, your home, your work, your whole life. Then we want you to think about how good God has been with all these items so what should your response be? You regularly hear the phrases generous,good stewardship." What our hope is what we want is for you to practice being a good, generous steward.
Practice with your Time - arrange your time so you can come to worship so you can get refreshed as a Christian every week.
Practice being generous and kind with your family, with your coworkers, with your neighbors, with those who serve you on voice mail, in the grocery, filling station, mail man, and on and on.
Be thoughtful about the world we live in. How does God want you to use our resources - water in drought and good times, fuel for cars, heating, cooling. Be a good steward in all things.
We believe that God, as well as your stewardship group, wants you to use your financial resources carefully! Having been on your budget and finance committee recently, I can assure you our staff is ever more conscious of all the items your church must pay for - staff's frugality helps us have more money for our mission outreach. Your mission council works hard to put our money in those places that get the most "bang for your buck" in helping the needy.
We want you to use your financial resources very carefully so you can honor God's request that a person tithe to his church. Many in this congregation do tithe and have learned that that discipline helps us enjoy even more the 90% that God lets us spend as we please.
Before you fill out that pledge card that was mailed in the stewardship packet this week, refrain from the temptation to just put what you put for last year. Consider all we are mentioning and make your pledge a generous response that honors your Father in Heaven and shows Him that you acknowledge how blessed he has made your life!
Remember Deuteronomy 8:17-18: You may say to yourself "My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me' but remember the Lord your God for it is he who gives you the ability to produce wealth and so confirms his covenant which he swore to your forefathers as it is today.
Your stewardship group expects to work all through the year to continue encouraging generosity and good stewardship in all the activities of our lives so we can always be a blessing to those around us!
Thank you. Tom Jefferson
Your Stewardship Council Members:
Julia Carr, Tom Jefferson, Nan Miller, Emily Griffey, Larry Palmer, Anne Grier, Jeff Gallagher