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Embarking on a New Phase at St. Thomas’

I sit here at home, my ankle elevated, recovering from a fall that occurred on Sunday, September 24. It was not my plan to be sitting at home, but to be in the office working. But our plans are often interrupted by things that come along, and things we trip over! And I am thankful that in this digital age, work can be done at home so easily.

We are embarking on a new phase of life at St. Thomas’. If you have looked at the activities listed in last month’s Good News, you know this is about to become an even busier place! It is already very busy. We have people renting various parts of the facility day and night. Right now, Third Wall Productions is beginning to rehearse in the Nave for their new production, Something’s Afoot. Meanwhile, Meals on Wheels is here faithfully every morning to distribute food to those who cannot leave their homes. We have people working on the boards of Meals on Wheels and of Loch Raven Network. We had a huge part in getting Loch Raven Network up and running. We continue to support them through your giving and through hosting their fund raiser on October 11th. A Support group for those with Parkinson’s meets here regularly, as well as AA and NA. We are already a busy place.

But beginning October 1, several programs which you will read about inside begin: Something More, a small group on Sunday evenings for those who want to deepen their faith; Theology on Tap at the Raven Inn, and Sunday School (oh Yay! Thanks be to God) beginning October 15. Oh and don’t forget an amazing group of our young people have enrolled in Confirm Not Conform, and will hopefully be confirmed by Bishop Chilton Knudsen on March 18 of next year.

And if that’s not enough, we’re incorporating our annual Blessing of the Animals into our Sunday morning service on October 8, hopefully outside, if the weather continues to be beautiful. And finally, on October 15, we kick of our annual Stewardship Campaign. If you remember, last year we were involved with Blue Horizons, and took a year off from Stewardship. We asked people to keep their pledge the same as last year. Many raised their pledge anyway. This year, we are looking to the future of St. Thomas – our dreams and hopes for this place, including having someone like Joe Zollickoffer as an Associate to work with youth, young adults, and children. Being able to hire Jill, who has become indispensable, full time, so that she can earn a living wage. Being able to finish the ongoing projects to update and fix the church. All of these things are in our dreams.

But these are not the things that drive our giving – at least I hope this is not how we think – I hope we give because it is good for us to give – I hope we give because God has given everything to us – we are simply stewards of his bounty, and giving out of that bounty is a Christian exercise of faith. I hope we give because we love God, and desire his work in this world to pros-per. I hope we give because we can change not only the world, but also our own hearts, allowing us to become people of great generosity – and that transformation causes us to be the people of God in a deeper, more life-giving way. I hope we give, because we love to give, or at least want to learn how to love giving – to love being people of generosity, people of God, people who love deeply.

The Rt. Rev. Robert Wright, Bishop of Atlanta, wrote, “When we give, we are participating in the personhood of God. We are participating in what is most real in the universe — God’s inexhaustibleness! We are making God real in the world by lending God our flesh through partnership…We are those who understand and incarnate God’s generosity. We are the people who appreciate at a deep personal level that all we have is gift. And that anything we could offer to God is simply the act of re-turning resources to its author and true owner.”

In this Stewardship season, I ask you to examine your heart. Your priorities. Your choices. Is it possible that God is leading you into greater generosity? I know he is leading me in that direction.