A wonderful hymn, “God of the Sparrow, God of the Whale” (NCH 32) poses couplets of questions for us: “How does the creature say awe…praise, grace…thanks, care…life, joy…home.” Think about those pairings and how they play out in your own life: Do you respond to an awe-inspiring sunrise by praising God? Do you answer God’s grace by saying thanks? Is your response to being cared for by God to regard the sanctity of all lives? Do you respond to joy by acknowledging that you are at home with God? I wonder if a prevalent sin many of us commit is taking it all for granted…as if we deserve it and that it will always “just be there for us.”
Our church home is at a crossroads, and we need your help. Because we don’t want to burn out volunteers, this year we hired a great business manager to do Plymouth’s accounting. And because technology is moving faster than any of us can imagine, we hired a great IT/Communications professional to manage our database, ensure our computers and networks are working, lay out the Placard and send you this Staff Reflection. The rub is that we, the members and friends of Plymouth, have to pay for the services of gifted staff members, and that is going to mean that all of us need to Go Deeper and ask how we can respond to God’s grace and say thanks in a tangible way: through our giving to Plymouth.
Stewardship means different things to different members of Plymouth. To some, it implies giving a tithe – one-tenth of one’s income – to support the mission and ministry of the church. To others, it is one financial obligation among many others. For some of us, considering our financial pledge to Plymouth provides an opportunity to reflect on God’s abundance and grace, and as God’s creatures, we say, “Thanks!”
This week you will receive in the mail a letter and brochure from our Stewardship Board with all kinds of inspiring and useful information. I invite you to read it, to look closely at the Graduated Giving chart on the back and calculate what your pledge for 2020 might be, relative to your household income. (Jane Anne and I did this, and we’re increasing our own pledge to Plymouth in 2020.) And I invite you to pray about how you, as a creature of God, will say thanks.
P.S. At a special meeting of board chairs a few weeks ago, there was a suggestion that we emulate Heifer Project with sample giving opportunities…knowing that we aren’t actually giving a flock of geese or a water buffalo. So, I’m including some samples of what your pledge can help fund.
The Rev. Hal Chorpenning has been Plymouth's senior minister since 2002. Before that, he was associate conference minister with the Connecticut Conference of the UCC. A grant from the Lilly Endowment enabled him to study Celtic Christianity in the UK and Ireland. Prior to ordained ministry, Hal had a business in corporate communications. Read more about Hal.