A Weekly Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, October 1, 2017
By: Doug Pera
“The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving.” — Albert Einstein
I have the honor of sharing a few thoughts on why St Mary’s holds such a special place in my life and the life of my family. As I was considering church options a few years ago, I landed at St. Mary’s due the influence and suggestion of my wife, Jane. It did not take me long to determine that St Mary’s was a good fit for me and what I needed from a church family. The warm and welcoming environment was immediately evident and my comfort within the church continued to grow as I met more parishioners, became more involved, and was able to spend time with the leadership of the church.
Additionally, I felt there was a feeling of acceptance and understanding of various points of view. I knew then, and it is only more relevant now, the ability to openly discuss one’s views in a loving environment is often missing in today’s institutions. At St. Mary’s I feel that I can have a view and while not everyone agrees with it, there is a respect and openness to hearing a different viewpoint.
While all the characteristics mentioned above still apply, I have also developed an appreciation for the value that St. Mary’s provides to my family. I feel that I have grown in my relationship with God but also have seen my family’s growth as well. Jane, Gray, and Lucie have all invested time and energy into their relationship with St. Mary’s, and have benefited in ways too many to explain. The children’s program has created a buzz and excitement that is palpable when you walk in on Sundays. Jane has been incredibly impactful in so many areas of the church but she would tell you that she has been the beneficiary of her activities at St Mary’s.
The value of St. Mary’s to me and my family has been too great to measure in terms of monetary value. However, I understand the need to do everything that I can to help by investing my time, talent, and treasure to ensure the continued growth of programs and energetic staff, and maintain the fantastic physical facility that we all enjoy. We need your help during this pledge season.
A Weekly Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, October 1, 2017
By: Mark Deutsch
Do You Believe?
I have long been a believer.
As long as I can remember, I have believed that I have a responsibility to leave this world a bit better than it was before I got here. I believe that I have a responsibility to help those less fortunate than myself. I believe in surrounding myself with other individuals who also believe that character and positive values matter. I believe that local communities are best equipped to serve the needs of their local community. I believe in supporting the neighbors who support me. I believe that each of us has limitless positive potential and the power to change our lives and those around us for the better. I believe that my actions matter. Henly and I both believe that we should instill these beliefs in our children and raise them to be kind, thoughtful, and loving.
We believe that St. Mary’s is an ideal community to foster and support these beliefs. Over the course of the past twenty or so years that we have been members of the St. Mary’s family, we have gladly shared our time, treasure, and talents to deepen our faith. Whether it is through…
Worship around the beautiful grounds …
Spiritual Education programs for adults and children …
Music that brightens even the darkest days …
Pastoral Care when faced with some of life’s greatest difficulties …
Fellowship such as Supper Club which is one of our all-time favorites …
Outreach to serve our most needful citizens …
Children & Youth Programs provided by our outstanding staff …
St. Mary’s provides a wonderful, nourishing environment for our spirits to soar. I believe these are the reasons our family gives joyfully to St. Mary’s.
What is it that you believe?
We are excited that you are a part of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in this time of growth and vibrancy! As we embark on a new church year together, a continued sense of appreciation for our past and a new enthusiasm for our future invite all of us to open the next chapters of St. Mary’s story in our life in Christ.
Our theme for the 2018 Annual Giving Campaign is “A Gift Opens the Way.” After meeting this summer, the Stewardship Committee decided to expand on the Diocese of Virginia’s 2018 Theme “To you All Hearts Are Open.” These are words you hear at the beginning of almost every worship service when the Clergy prays, “Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid…” Here at St. Mary’s, we are not only opening our hearts but unlocking our future – and your gifts are the key.
Each time we come to church, grab our nametags, settle into our pews, move from hymnal to prayer book to bulletin, it’s sometimes easy to miss this important call to worship…. and into our relationship and story with God. This year we invite each person who enters our doors or drives by our beautiful campus to consider how your gifts of time, talent, and treasure open the way for each of us to deepen our relationships with God and build a community of faith.
This fall we are telling the story of how all our gifts have a profound impact within our Parish, in our local community, and around the globe with written and video reflections.
As you hear these stories, we ask you to consider through prayer and conversations with God how you and your family are being called to open your heart and share your gifts with St. Mary’s and its mission. Join us as we reflect on how to strengthen our vision and enhance our vibrant mission through stewardship. We are excited about connecting with each of you, and we are excited about this year at St. Mary’s!
With open hearts full of gratitude for your presence at St. Mary’s,
Jane duFrane & Fay Lohr
Click here to watch co-chairs, Jane and Fay, kickoff this year’s campaign!