October 19, 2016
Dear People of Grace,
I first saw the gold lettering on the arch in the sanctuary in 1973 when my husband and I walked through the doors of Grace as a young couple: ‘The Lord is in his holy temple let all the earth keep silence before him.” It was thought provoking then; its appearance and message draw me still. It is a piece carefully preserved from the old church and reinstalled when we built the new one. I wonder who chose the verse, shaped the wood and lettered the scripture. What were the conversations about this feature in the late 1800’s? By its presence now we are profoundly connected to those who came before us.
In many ways their efforts are not unlike ours today. They wrestled with a decision to build a chapel, fill its seats and pay their debts by hosting socials. In 1923 the timbers in the basement of the church began to decay and extensive repairs were undertaken. Priests came and left, but the congregation remained. Generations of families continued to provide and organize a Sunday School, choir, the Girls’ Friendly Society and a Men’s Club.
Driven by their beliefs and generosity, these pioneers laid the ground work for the physical growth of Grace Church and its property and its faith community. And we/you are a part of that community now, 150 years later.
In some ways our church traditions now are no different. We pray the same common liturgy, and we minister to each other in our midst and in our community. We do this because we are called to love one another and to share God’s blessings. We do this by promising to give our time, our talent and our treasure. By engaging in these ways, we are growing in our relationship with each other and with God. And we are growing our heritage.
As we plan to welcome the arrival of a new rector and celebrate our 150th anniversary next year, wouldn’t it be wonderful for all of us to commit to Grace and Join Generations of Generosity that came before us? In the weeks to come during our stewardship campaign, you will hear testimonies during worship from members of the congregation that describe their connectedness to Grace, their relationship with God and their commitment to give.
You are invited to pray and reflect on the same. What is God nudging you to do? Commitment Weekend will be November 12 and 13 where we will offer our pledges during worship and Join Generations of Generosity before us that committed to Grace Church and its enduring presence.
With gratitude for all God’s blessings,
Ann Hackett, For the Stewardship Ministry Team