This Sunday we will gather again virtually for the second of our four Sundays focused on our 2020 Pledge Drive- the time of year we speak as clearly and passionately as possible about the joy of responding to God’s love in our lives through making a commitment to support the ministry we share in the year ahead.
Earlier this week we mailed our 2020 Pledge Pamphlet- a tri-fold brochure highlighting some of our shared ministry as well as a pledge card and the invitation to start thinking and praying about how you will respond to the invitation to make a pledge reflecting your “faith-filled generosity.”
I have been thinking a lot this week about what I might say in this message about this important time in our collective life. There is anxiety, and grief and fear all around us day by day at so many levels right now; so much we don’t control and such an unknown future. And yet, and still, because of you, because of God, because of our progressive, inclusive, creative, courageous and compassionate community I remain not only hopeful, but excited.
And for that reason alone, I feel absolutely committed and comfortable talking about why our financial commitment to this ministry is so important to our spiritual growth. It remains a tangible expression, and a loud witness in the world of who and how God is calling and shaping us to be right now; so watch out!
I have been going to church off and on all my life. As a young child we attended First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor and were involved in many different ways. I sang in choir, learned how to do Bible verse drills in Sunday school, and developed meaningful relationships that have continued into my adult life. It was a significant, and formative time for me.
Then as a young adult I “out-grew” church. No longer did it feel like something I needed or wanted. And for years I felt the church wasn’t interested in me either. I came out when I was 18yrs old and the church didn’t know what to do with me and I certainly didn’t know what to do with the church! I had questions and needed to be seen and heard for who I thought God wanted me to be, and yet I was clearly different, and I could not find a place to belong. That went on for years and it was only through the gift of music that eventually, though reluctantly, I found my way back.
There is of course much more to the story between then and now, but suffice to say, something compelling brought me back and got me to say “yes” to God, and here I am as your priest today. In short, I believe God searched me out, tracked me down and wouldn’t let me go until I yielded to the power of love circling me back to my roots and my heart’s desire to be known and healed and loved.
Every Sunday, during this month of October, you will hear an “impact story” from one of our Trinity members or friends- testimonials telling us how and why Trinity makes a difference in their lives. I will also be encouraging each of us to ask that same question- why have we claimed Trinity as our place of becoming and belonging? What is it in our story that has brought us here to this time and place. And then, from that place of knowing and gratitude, respond by offering a pledge of support for the year ahead.
Our theme of “faith-filled generosity” implies so much more than just a desire for a successful annual pledge campaign. My hope and prayer is that it will convey and then describe who and how we want to live as a faith community in downtown Toledo.
Our collective vision of our common life becomes increasingly clear over the years as we live into this ministry and our neighborhood together. Trinity may never be full of “perfect people”, but I believe it is indeed a “perfect place”- grounded in the conviction that walking the path and teachings of Jesus will change us day by day until the world recognizes who we truly are, broken, blessed and beloved!
May you never forget that you are loved.