The Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost
October 31, 2021
In the past week Grace Church has been bustling. Last night we hosted a party in celebration of the 2022 Annual Campaign. “Let the Doors be Open” is the theme, and so we did, and people came. In normal times Stacie and I would have hosted this party in the rectory, but due to Covid we didn’t want to risk the close quarters of the house. Instead we spread out in the chancel and sanctuary (that is, the choir pews and altar area) of the church itself. It was a wonderful time. Dozens of friends and acquaintances reconnected with each other over drinks and tasty hors de ’oeuvres. New members met and mingled with longstanding parishioners. The purpose of the gathering was to thank those who have already made a commitment to the annual campaign, and also those who intend to do so in the coming weeks.
If you are in the latter category of people still considering a pledge, try to keep a human face on how your giving blesses the mission of the church. Think about the person walking down Broadway, burdened with the worries of life, who comes by the church, finds the main doors open, and is able to enter, rest, and pray. Think about the young person in college who comes to the Episcopal campus ministry that meets here, and discovers not only fellowship, but a way of being Christian that holds up in the secular city. Think about public school student, formerly falling through the cracks, who enrolls in The GO Project and now loves to study and learn (yes, GO is now returning to in-person sessions on campus after the long pandemic hiatus). Think about everyone who comes to worship, sings the hymns, and connects with God through prayer and praise.
Most of all, think of yourself. Look in the mirror. Your annual giving has the potential to bless you, the giver as much as it does anyone else. In the Book of Acts (20:35), St. Paul reminds us of some words of Jesus: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” I have found the saying to be true in my own life, and in the lives others I’ve witnessed. Being generous opens our eyes to see God’s hand at work in our own lives, and helps to cultivate a grateful heart.
Also, on Monday the fun never stopped as Grace Church was turned into a set for an upcoming Amazon series called Dead Ringers, starring Rachel Weisz. We don’t know when the episode will air, but the scenes included a torrential rainfall out front produced by a rain-making machine and a variety of Roman Catholic statuary inside. What was really amazing was how many people were on hand to create these few scenes. Hopefully it won’t all end up on the cutting room floor. Check out the picture, below.
See you in church.