Over the past 6 weeks, parishioners have taken the time during Sunday worship to share with the rest of the congregation on why they are pledging to St. Thomas, both for the annual budget and for the capital funds drive. Below you can read some of the testimonies given.
When my wife and I were in New York last year, one of our stops was a visit to President Theodore Roosevelt’s boyhood home. During the tour, the ranger detailed the Roosevelt clans’ daily life and philanthropic activities. He explained that the family was well off, but lived by the verse from Luke 12:48 “To whom much is given, from them much is expected.”
I remember being struck by that, kind a reminder of why I pledge my own gifts, talents, and service to St. Thomas, both during the stewardship campaign and for the upcoming Capital Funds drive. God has blessed me with many gifts, but He also expects me use those gifts to help others, and I can’t think of a better way to start than by pledging my own gifts, talents, and service to St. Thomas.
To be honest, I never expected to be reminded of why I give while standing in a townhouse on East 20th St. in New York City.
My family and I moved around a lot during the first 15 years of my married life with Christine. In that time, we lived in 6 different houses and apartments in Texas, German, and North Carolina. Christine and I were not active members of any church for the 1st 7 years of our marriage. While we were living in Germany we decided that we wanted our boys (toddlers at the time) to grow up in a Church environment so we began attending Anglican Services in Leipzig. When we repatriated back to the United States in 2001, we enrolled the boys in the St. Matthew’s Episcopal Day School in Pampa, Texas and became active members of their parish. After three years, we moved to Shelby, North Carolina and became active at All Saint’s in Shelby. Then, after another three years, we moved back here to Clear Lake (our 2nd time through the area) and became involved with St Thomas. We knew that we were in a good place, for us and for our boys, immediately. This was 10 years ago. What drew us to St Thomas then is the same thing that keeps us here today. St Thomas is a community. It is a community that welcomed our family and gave our boys a safe and happy place to grow up. It is a community that has embraced our family. Now, our boys are grown but St Thomas continues to be a community that nurtures us and that we hope to be able to give back to.
Beyond the spiritual nourishment that St Thomas offers our family, St Thomas also serves as a community that serves it’s community, whether the people served are parishioners or not. Through the services of the school, the outreach of the Church, and the physical and spiritual services offered to the Clear Lake / Nassau Bay community, St Thomas establishes itself as an important asset to the community at large. St. Thomas is a family within this community, and a family needs a home. It is our honor and our pleasure to give our time, talent, and treasure to support this home. My wife and I are introverts by nature with backgrounds in architecture, art, and engineering. As such, our natural tendency is to focus on the physical space of God’s house and the physical needs of the facility and the programs supported by the facility. So, it is natural for us to throw our efforts into contributing to maintain and improve the physical assets of God’s house, St Thomas’ home. We are thrilled and delighted to have the opportunity to do so. Thank you for that opportunity.
Good Morning. I have been asked to share with you “why I Pledge” at St. Thomas.
Several years ago at a Stewardship Conference, I heard this concept of stewardship which especially speaks to me Stewardship is everything you do after you say “I believe.” Pledging is one way of living into that.
St. Thomas has supported me, my daughter and my grandson for more than 40 years through good times and a few not so good. You have become my family. Thank you.
In the time I have been a member this parish has grown in membership numbers and facilities, and most importantly has changed from being mostly insular to being mission minded, caring and serving more and more in the broader community. We are doing more together.
In the past few weeks, our clergy and vestry have led us through a process of sharing what we think is important for our future. We all had a chance to participate. Many of us were passionate about one direction or another, but our leaders were able to come up with priorities based on the comments we made. Thank you, vestry, Mike and Jenny for leading us through this process. In summary, I pledge in thanksgiving for all the blessings I receive.
I wanted to take a couple of minutes to tell you why Polly and I have made our pledge to the Capital Campaign at St. Thomas. From participating in two of the Focus Groups, I found that people have different feelings about which items they would prefer to see addressed with the funds raised. For myself, being on the Vestry, I would like to see the debt retired. I know this really isn’t a tangible thing you can see, but the $40,000 plus dollars more a year we will have after it’s paid off will take care of many of the tangible things that we can’t take care of now. Now, as we heard last Sunday, the pledges submitted so far are enough to pay off that debt. Well done, but we still have a ways to go.
Our music program here is outstanding. If we’re able to get the donated organ installed, that would not only enhance our weekly services, but allow guest organists to perform recitals that would bring many non-members in to our church to see what we are…….”doing more together.”
Our facilities are used daily for many non-church functions such as the Boy Scouts, The Houston Symphony League Bay Area, and performing artists like Doyle Dykes who was here last night. Re-doing the parking lot and the floors in Krist Hall would make our facilities much more inviting to groups such as these. We say that St. Thomas is an Open and Inclusive Church. That does not just apply to any new members, but to all that enter our doors.
So if you haven’t done so already, please turn in your Capital Campaign pledge. We are looking for the goal of 100% participation. While pledges will vary greatly depending upon individuals’ capabilities, we are looking for 100% ownership in this so WE CAN DO MORE TOGETHER!
I know this is a lot at to think about, but please don’t forget your Annual Stewardship Pledge either. Polly and I have turned ours in to help with the day to day operations of St. Thomas and to continue the many outreach programs that St. Thomas is known for.
First, I would like to share with you …
Everything I have been,
Everything I am, and
Everything I hope to become
Is a gift from a loving God who desires for me more than I can imagine or hope for.
Because this is the way I choose to live my life, and because it calls me to respond to the call for financial support of our church, I would like to share with you how my experience of giving/pledging has evolved.
In my childhood and formative years, my exposure to church was limited to attending worship services and Sunday School.
After I married, my husband and I had no interest in attending church.
It was not until I was introduced to the Episcopal Church through a close friend when my daughter was old enough for Sunday School, that I began what I look at as my faith journey.
I immediately loved everything about the Episcopal Church – the liturgy first, then as I quickly became involved, the Bible Study, the music, the fellowship – all became an important part of my life.
During this time I learned about the practice of pledging – all in the context of Stewardship Campaigns where the emphasis was on monetary gifts with a tithe being the goal to work toward. And so I gave because it was an expected part of being a church member.
I remember when I first stretched out in faith to make my pledge a tithe. We were living on a very tight budget, and I didn’t see how we could make ends meet. I decided to step out in faith, and guess what – it worked! Somehow the money stretched to meet our needs.
And so now, when I think of what I might contribute to the ongoing ministry and the maintenance and improvement of our facilities, it is with a joyful and thankful heart for all I have found here that I make my decision. St. Thomas is my home, and I look forward to what we will accomplish as we work and give alongside one another in the years to come.
Our goal this year is for 100% participation. The amount you choose to give is not important, but rather, ownership of each and every one of us in the ongoing life of the church. TRULY WE CAN DO MORE TOGETHER.
Because of St. Thomas…
…I serve on the vestry.
…I was a representative to Diocesan council.
…I am a trustee on the school board.
…I volunteer weekly at the Nearly New shop.
I was asked to share why I pledge to St Thomas. Unlike some, I have no problems with speaking in front of a group. However, articulating the reasons why I pledge and why I am willing to pledge extra to the Capital Campaign is a little more difficult.
Kevin, Connor and I joined St. Thomas over 20 years ago. Aidan joined our family a few years later and has known no other church. One of the deciding factors for us in becoming members was that Connor loved the nursery. He felt cared for and included, and when we thought about it, we did too. Many have spoke of the family they’ve found at St. Thomas, the tangible sense of community that’s here is part of what makes St. Thomas special. One of the things that I love about St. Thomas is that we recognize the need to be connected to the greater community around us.
I love that the Episcopal Church states that all are welcome. We have a Presiding Bishop that leads with the love for all human beings. I see that commitment in the practices of St. Thomas. That is why we’re willing to donate extra to the Capital Campaign in addition to our annual pledge. I joined the vestry because I wanted to support the ministries that reach out to all people with the love of God that we have found. It’s part of why I am so committed to working with the youngest members of our church in Godly Play. Imagine what they will be able to accomplish when love is the answer.
Retiring our debt, installing our organ, and all the other goals of the campaign will allow us to welcome more to our community, by reaching out to love and support them, and I think that’s an important mission. The goal of the Capital Campaign drive is 100% participation. While the pledges will vary greatly depending on individuals’ capabilities, we are looking for 100% ownership in this drive because we CAN DO MORE TOGETHER. Thank you.