From the Pastor - November 2019
Dear People of God,
I look around me at the ministry of Saint Stephen and there is much to celebrate and give hope. Saint Stephen has grown in generosity this year. We have learned at the feet of Jesus how to forgive one another and become God’s love in a difficult world. We have stretched ourselves to make sure that our school children have food to eat on weekends and holidays through the food backpack program. We have grown in our financial giving, raising our monthly offerings and rising to the mortgage challenge to pay down our debt by over $20,000! We have celebrated the ways we reach out to one another and our community, challenging ourselves to do even more.
So much in our world has changed overnight it seems. In my sermon this past Sunday I spoke to the fact that it is not an easy time to be God’s Church. You know it. I know it. Pastors and Bishops and non-church people know it. And yet the hope we know and proclaim is that what has not and will not change is God. The Gospel News that God loves us so deeply and fully that God came to be with us in flesh in Christ to give us new life is still the heart of our Christian witness.
God IS love. God IS peace. God is life. And our world NEEDS love AND peace AND life. This world needs Christ. And that is what we, God’s faithful of Saint Stephen Lutheran Church, proclaim each time we worship. Each time we fill orders for food and toiletries at Open Arms, each time we sit together providing a meal, offer a shoulder to cry on, a prayer of joy and thanksgiving we proclaim Christ. Saint Stephen Lutheran Church is a church proclaiming God is love to a world in need. It is exciting and humbling to be a part of God’s work in Antioch.
The Stewardship Team at Saint Stephen gathers at 6:30pm on the 1st Tuesday of most every month to talk, to laugh, and to plan how to deepen our lives as God’s stewards in our congregation. We’re not sitting around talking about money. We’re talking about faith and God, we’re praying for each other and our church, we’re studying and learning about God’s Word. And we’re praying you’ll join us this year in purposefully considering how you will use your hands and heart to serve God and one another. We’re praying you’ll join us in considering how you’ll use the financial means you have to share beyond your household with our church and God’s world. We’re praying you’ll join us in thoughtfully considering how to share yourself with our community and with those around you, witnessing to God’s amazing love and the Good News that Jesus that is the same yesterday, today, and always.
On Sunday, November 17th we will celebrate Growing in Generosity Sunday. Each household will be asked to offer an Estimate of Giving for 2020 similar to the one we’ve made the last several years. Then we invite you to join us for "Sundaes on Sunday" at coffee fellowship after the Divine Worship Service!
Please be in prayer this week and have conversations with those in your household who make decisions about your giving. God IS love and we are an important part of sharing that same love with our world.
Your fellow steward in Christ, Pastor Rebecca