Beloved Friends,

Never forget to say please and thank you.” I suspect Kim and I are not at all unique as parents when we think back on the number of times this simple phrase became a mantra for trying to teach our daughter the value of living from a place of deep gratitude. As I remember that season of our lives what is surprising to me is how much I needed the reminder- perhaps even more than our young daughter needed the teaching of her parents. Over the years, during the month November, when the church is engaged in an Annual Giving Campaign and as we prepare for Thanksgiving, I often think about how often I simply forget “to say please and thank you.” So, I want to do that now with each of you: please know the depth of my gratitude for the honor and privilege of walking beside you in this ministry and thank you for showing up for this work and this way of being in the world.

This Sunday we will come together as a community to sing, pray, and make Eucharist as we do each week, and we will gather all the pledge cards we have received to date, along with those offered on Sunday and ask God to bless them as signs and symbols of the commitment we make to the year ahead. We are half way to our pledge goal of receiving 72 pledges of financial support for 2019. Thank you if you have made a pledge and thank you in advance if you are still in the process of preparing or discerning what to pledge. The amount of your pledge is truly less important than the act of exercising our “muscles of gratitude” –it is a way of being in the world that changes everything around you. Open your heart to the reality that all we have is ours for a sacred moment and the greatest gift may simply be found in recognizing our connection to everything and everyone around us and then living from an awareness of deep gratitude.

This will mark the formal end of our Annual Giving Campaign, Radical Generosity, and the beginning of our process discerning our final 2019 budget and how we will most faithfully use the gifts and talents of this community moving forward. After the service we will gather upstairs for a Celebration Potluck as a collective response of “please and thank you” for all the many blessings in our lives. Please plan on joining us and bring a dish to share. All are welcome and wanted!

May you never forget that you are loved.

The Prayer of Thanksgiving (by Walter Rauschenbusch, 1861–1918)

For the wide sky and the blessed sun,
For the salt sea and the running water,
For the everlasting hills
And the never-resting winds,
For trees and the common grass underfoot.
We thank you for our senses
By which we hear the songs of birds,
And see the splendor of the summer fields,
And taste of the autumn fruits,
And rejoice in the feel of the snow,
And smell the breath of the spring.
Grant us a heart wide open to all this beauty;
And save our souls from being so blind
That we pass unseeing
When even the common thorn bush
Is aflame with your glory,
O God our creator,
Who lives and reigns for ever and ever. Amen.

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