Posted on in Vestry Corner by The Rev. David Marshall
Last weekend several of us attended the Diocesan Convention. It was my first convention, and with our yearlong focus on Stewardship, I found it to be great experience meeting new people, making connections, and learning from other churches in our region. We have just started our annual pledge campaign, and many of the messages seemed to speak directly to the state of our church and its needs.
Our Bishop gave a talk on the state of the Diocese, and detailed how many of us are having hard times. Many churches, including St. Dunstan’s, are not able to pay their full diocesan assessment and have declining numbers. He made the point that we could look at this situation and be disheartened, or we could see it as an opportunity for renewal. While many churches are struggling, others are experiencing growth. How will we become one of those churches?
As stewards we are asked to do the best we can with our resources to serve God. That requires that we ask ourselves what God is calling us to in our community.
We have taken some of these first steps. Our Youth Group is partnering with other churches and helping Ryan’s House. Our Tent City Cooking Ministry works with Greater Seattle Cares and SHARE. We have collected food and volunteered for the Food Bank, and St. Agnes works with a number of organizations. We have called the police department and other groups working in Shoreline to start conversations to see how we can best help them.
These actions are only part of the needed shift in thinking. How can we best connect our people, and how can we support them in their work? Won’t they need resources? We have a great history at St. Dunstan’s and great stories, but what will be in the next chapter?
Our church is uniquely positioned to make this shift but can only do so with your support. We sit near a tough section of Aurora where many are in need, and yet we enjoy a tree filled tranquil setting. Our worship if full of beautiful tradition, and our faith teaches us tolerance and understanding.
Our parishioners need to be supported. Our Youth Group and Sunday school have almost no budget. The Tent City Cooking Ministry survives on donations. Father David carefully manages his small discretionary fund. Our musicians freely grace us with their talents. As we consider how we can do more for our neighbors, please remember there are many among us who are gladly giving what they are able but who are already stretched.
These works can be the beginning renewal and growth at St. Dunstan’s, but they’re just a start. Please ask yourself and your friends what we are being called to do in our community. I hope you will consider those answers as you consider your pledge to St. Dunstan’s for this year.
Blessings to all,