There is a quote about stewardship that says "Stewardship is everything you do after you say 'I believe...'". This morning, we launched our Fall Pledge Campaign at St. Edward's. There were a few things different about this effort from others in which I've been involved. First, I've been at St. Edward's less than a month--this was my fourth Sunday here. Second, as most of you who will be reading this know, St. Edward's is a congregation in the midst of restoration. We've been focusing on the part of Praise my Soul the King of Heaven that identifies us as "ransomed, healed, restored, [and] forgiven" people. It is when we know ourselves to be blessed by God--to be ransomed by Christ's death and resurrection, healed by Christ's power, restored to right relationship with God in Christ and each other, and forgiven for those things we have done or left undone--that we are freed to enter afresh into a partnership with God in, to use the language of the prayer book, "restoring all things to unity with God and each other in Christ."
St. Edward's has been on a remarkable journey in many, many ways. Those who have chosen to remain here and thus remain in the Episcopal Church have sacrificed much through their gifts of time, talent, and treasure to keep St. Edward's the vibrant, lively community that it is. We certainly have our faults, and our fair share of interesting personalities (mine included!), but we are in the process of re-discovering what it is to be beloved Children of God. In that process, we are spending this month, as well as the seasons of Advent, Christmas, and Epiphany, focusing on the benedictine value of stability--not changing things for change's sake, establishing a firm liturgical, spiritual, and even financial foundation, and preparing ourselves to look at each other and out into the world with God's eyes, seeing where God is working, and joining in that work.
If you are reading this and are not already a part of St. Edward's, I invite you to come and be a part of this period of (re-) discovery. If you are part of St. Edward's, you will have many opportunities to see God at work in the world and join in that work. The first of those chances is the Pledge Packet that was given out at worship this morning and will be mailed out tomorrow to those who did not pick their packet up. Please take it, put it in a prominent place, and commit to thinking, praying, and talking with your family about your commitments of time, talent, and treasure to St. Edward's in 2010. Unlike a PBS-style pledge drive, we won't be asking for a specific amount or be giving out thank-you gifts for different levels of support. What we will be doing is using the collective pledge of all of our members to begin to discern God's vision and mission for St. Edward's in 2010 and beyond. May God bless and guide us in this effort.