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November 10, 2021
Dear Members and Friends of Grace Church,
I hope this letter finds you and your loved ones safe and healthy as we end another challenging year, but one that brings a greater sense of hope.
As we look to 2022, Grace Church’s Stewardship Committee drew inspiration from the Gospel of Mark as it developed its pledge campaign theme, “Heartfelt Giving: Sharing Your Best.” In Chapter 14, Mark recounts an exchange between Jesus and a woman who breaks a precious jar of perfume with which to anoint Jesus in the days leading up to the Last Supper. Priests and scholars who witnessed this act scolded the woman for this act of wastefulness. Jesus, however, commended her for her heartfelt act of generosity, noting that “what this woman has done will be told in memory of her.”
As a community of believers, we demonstrate the fullness of our generosity to our community by sharing our talents and treasure. The global COVID-19 pandemic presented all of us, individually and collectively, with unprecedented challenges. The Grace Church community responded with generous pledges and contributions to our Growing in Gratitude campaign, allowing us to support local housing and food bank providers and to successfully shift to our online (now hybrid) options for worship, which have sustained and grown our congregation. The collective talents, including those of our talented Zoom team and dedicated weekly celebrants, allowed us uninterrupted access to our rich liturgical services, Father John’s thoughtful sermons,and Madeleine Woodworth’s superb musicianship.
As we emerge from pandemic restrictions, we’re eager to explore new expressions of our generosity. For example, after 20-plus years of faithful service to Grace Church, Douglas Van Houten departed as our church administrator. The search for a new administrator is under way, but it will stretch us to hire someone full-time. The Vestry is hopeful that our parish will continue to grow and has taken a step of faith trusting that with the generosity of the parish and some fundraising we can have the staff we need for our parish life to run smoothly.
Our hard-working Vestry has been a careful steward of our budget for 2021 and continues that practice for 2022. The new budget reflects anticipated expenses and provides for modest increases to our ministries, which we hope can fully re-emerge next year. In light of our expenses and the ongoing economic challenges, we are asking members to consider a 6 percent increase in their pledge. The 2022 budget is available for review at the Grace Church website, and a full explanation of the budget will take place at our November 21 coffee hour. (Please return the enclosed pledge card by December 19).
The generosity of the Grace Church’s community – in both talent and treasure – has given us the foundation to strengthen our faith, understand and appreciate our differences, and grow in Christian love. On behalf of Father John and the Vestry, we extend our appreciation for your continued support.
In peace, grace, and hope,
Chairman, Stewardship Committee
If you would like to review Grace's budget for 2022, please follow this link.
Click the Pledge to Grace image below to submit your pledge, or download a form to mail at this link.
How can we express our gratitude for the many and varied blessings we have received from God?
We can use these gifts to help others – to serve our parish, to help others our community, to serve our neighbors.