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 To erase our congregation's deficit, we need hope and faith in each other. We start to think, 'I really could afford to give another $500 a year, or maybe a $1,000, but if I give more and no one else does then there will still be a $25,000 deficit and I might as well have bought a new couch with the money.'


Weekly Reflection: Pastor Dana Reardon
January 23, 2006

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Expect a 'Miracle Sunday'

I have tried to work with my congregation and help them to see that giving is about thanksgiving and about faith in God.  And I still believe it to be true.

But giving to a particular church can also be about faith in the leadership and faith in each other.

We are facing a $26,000 deficit this year.  We do have some money in the bank but we cannot afford to operate this way forever.  Not only does money run out, but so does hope.

If I were not convinced that the congregation has the ability to give enough to meet the deficit, I would have never proposed what I did at the annual meeting today.

I proposed a Miracle Sunday to wipe out the deficit. This idea came to me at 7 a.m. before the worship and annual meeting.  I believe God put it into my head.   Miracle Sundays are not my invention.  But I put a twist on it.

As I said, to give to a particular congregation we need hope and faith in each other.  We start to think, "I really could afford to give another $500 a year, or maybe a $1,000, but if I give more and no one else does then there will still be a $25,000 deficit and I might as well have bought a new couch with the money.  We also think, "Joe bought a new car this year.  He could afford to give more.  If I were sure he would be giving his share I might too."

So this is my proposal to my church:  We will all pledge to the deficit so that we can look again toward the future as God's people in this place with hope.  But if we do not receive at least $20,000 in pledges then we will know that people are giving either all they can or all they are willing to give.  In that case I will personally rip up all the pledges and no one will be obligated to give any of it.

Some have already said they will give anyway.  Wonderful.  People were asking for the pledge slips.  People who have not even joined yet were asking for slips.

Pray for us and I will let everyone know how it goes on Transfiguration Sunday which is our Miracle Sunday.

Lord,
Strengthen our faith in you and in those whom you have called to serve with us as your people in this world. 
Amen
 

 

 Copyright (c) 2006, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at mspastor@aol.com.
 

The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St. Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI.  A lifelong Lutheran, she came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric intensive care.  She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 years in Upstate New York before becoming a New Englander.  She is still trying to understand the accent.  While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship Team.  That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more, what makes for generosity. She has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of life she learned from them.