"All good gifts around us come from heaven above, so thank the Lord, for all his love."
The Bible reminds us that God is a giver of all good things. God gives us life and love. This week of August 3rd, we will embark on our annual giving: God the Giver. You will hear from fellow parishioners and from me about how God's abundant gifts have touched our lives, and how we are called to respond to such awesome generosity.
Our ministries here at Zion have life and give life through the generosity of all our members. Each week we are nurtured in word and sacrament. We are empowered by the Holy Spirit to care for others through the Stephen Ministry, the doll-making ministry, our local food cupboard, and all our various guilds and committees.
Zion is a "giving community," which means that our response to a giving God is to be generous ourselves. Some of our members tithe, giving ten percent of their income to the church, while others commit a certain percentage, make a one-time annual gift, or give as they are able. While giving levels vary in the congregation, what is important is that all are asked to make a gift that reflects our gratitude for a giving God and our care for one another. We are called to make our giving a reflection of God's giving to us.
This Spring we received a bequest of $71,000 from an appreciative family, another family donated sixty new Books of Common Prayer, as well as a new Altar Book, yet another will donate a dehumidifying system for St. John's Chapel. Last year in response to the Vestry asking me to stay on as Rector, the Tolds presented the congregation with a matching grant challenge, and the response was an incredible $55,000! All this love and support is overwhelming, and we are most appreciative. Yet, for the Mission and Ministry of Christ to continue, any support you can give is much needed and appreciative.
Pledge cards for 2016 have been mailed and are also available at Zion or you may contact Zion Church at 802-362-1987 or firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at PO Box 717, Manchester Center VT 05255 to learn more about pledging your support for 2016 or making a contribution to Zion Church for the current year of 2015.
I invite you to prayerfully consider all that God has given you and see how the Holy Spirit is calling you to share God's abundance through giving. Think about all God has given you and respond as generously as you can. As always, I am most appreciative of all your kindness and generosity.
Rev. John S. Mitchell, for twenty years the Rector of Zion Church/Vicar of St. John's Chapel