For Doris, And All the Saints – We Give Thanks.

Dear Friends,
 
First of all – a note of sadness to share. Our dear friend and eldest member of our church, Doris Brand, peacefully passed away yesterday morning. Doris was 103 years old. I have had many visits with Doris in my short time here as your pastor and I have treasured each one of them. She was a person of grace and love, as you know. We look forward to celebrating her life on Saturday, November 10. Click here to read more.
 
Secondly, this coming Sunday is All Saints Sunday in the church year. Doris is now among the saints we will remember. We look forward to remembering and honoring her and all the saints who have gone before us during worship. After communion, worshipers will have the opportunity to light a tea light candle in memory of a loved one who has passed away. This can be a moving experience for worshipers and one that I expect many will appreciate. 
 
Also, as we approach All Saints Sunday, please take time to also remember those innocents in our nation and world who are senselessly killed based solely on race or religion or often for no apparent reason at all. What happened to the Jewish community in Pittsburgh, unfortunately, is only the latest reminder of our need to pray fervently for our broken world. You and I, as Christians who believe in the love of Jesus, have the heavy responsibility of praying for our world and of standing up for the injustices we see happening in our world. A book I’m reading now says it this way: 
 
“The only thing we (The Church) really have to offer the world right now is all we’ve ever really had to offer it: a shared expression of lives that reflect the life of Jesus. That is still the greatest thing we can aspire to and the best chance we have to alter the planet in the way those first Little Christs did.” (John Pavlovitz, A Bigger Table: Building Messy, Authentic, and Hopeful Spiritual Community. Westminster John Knox Press, 2017),137-138.
 
Please, let’s strive harder each day to be “Little Christs” in this broken world that truly reflect the life of Jesus. Lives depend on it.
 
Lastly, Thank you for your great faithfulness and generosity to our congregation! I am humbled when I see the many ways so many give so much to God, through this church. Last Sunday was Stewardship Sunday. We gave thanks for current gifts of time, talent and treasure, while being challenged to give even more as God enables us. I heard both enthusiasm and hesitation in regard to this year’s stewardship challenge. This is expected, and I appreciate honest and heartfelt responses. Thank you! Our Finance Committee will take a close look at the financial commitments that were made last Sunday and assess whether or not we feel able to move forward with our vision of increasing current staff compensation and and adding a new part-time Director of Children’s, Youth and Family Ministries. It does appear that the total amount pledged for 2019 is significantly higher than any previous year pledged going back to 2013. After carefully comparing this amount pledged to previous years, and considering all of the non-pledged amounts and gifts of loose offering received, our Finance Committee Chair, Scott Lecy, will update the congregation more specifically about what this means moving forward. Stay tuned.
 
See you in Church!
 
Pr. Dale