STEWARDSHIP 2017 – “PRESERVING YOUR LEGACY”
In the few decades following the American revolution, everyone who was anyone declared, with certainty, that the Episcopal Church in Virginia was dead. The same “death notice” was published at the time in many other states as well. By all measurable statistics, they were not wrong. In 1801, churches were crumbling, membership was almost non-existent and clergy were few and far between.
What kept the church alive? Simply, the faithfulness of a few.
From the women who kept the Book of Common Prayer alive by using it for family worship at home, to the clergy who continued to conduct services when and where they could, to the generosity of those who supported the church financially, the church managed to survive and flourish.
We are their legacy. Because of them, we are heirs of the Gospel promise; we have been, and continue to be, shaped by the majesty, goodness, truth and beauty of God. We all are the better because of it. In the larger scheme of things, the world is better because of them too, because it is a world in which the Christian faith continues to be proclaimed. There are voices today that declare, with certainty, that the Christian church as a whole is dead and/or dying. By measurable statistics and polls, they might be justified in their proclamation.
I believe them to be mistaken, because if history is any guide, they have failed to take into consideration one important factor: You… And me… And all those whose faithfulness, commitment and generosity will establish a renewed and continued legacy for the future. So yes, just as with those who have gone before us, we may indeed find ourselves in desperate times, but like them, our small acts carry the power of the Gospel of God.
Our gifts of time, talent and treasure maintain the church in a practical sense, of course. Buildings need to be maintained, programs funded and bills and salaries have to be paid. All of that’s important but that’s not what’s really at stake.
What’s at stake is your legacy to the world. One day the history books will make reference to the likes of you and me. The faithful whose continuing presence made a difference for generations to come.
Please give generously. Preserve your legacy. Shape the future. There is simply nothing more important.
In Christ’s love,
The Rev. Canon James D. Shoucair
Some Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: What is a pledge?
A: It is a deliberate response we choose to make to God’s grace in our lives. It is a statement of our support for God’s work through Christ Church. It is a commitment we make to our parish community.
Q: How much should I pledge?
A: Only you, after prayerful consideration, can answer that question! It might help you to reflect on:
- How Christ Church supports you in your spiritual journey.
- What Christ Church means to you in your daily life.
- How you want to support the ministries of Christ Church.
Q: If my life circumstances change, may I change my pledge?
A: Absolutely. Your pledge is not a legal promise, but is a joyful support for the ongoing life of the church. You may change it (down or up!) at any time!