"Accept, O Lord, our thanks and praise for all that you have done for us.”
Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Thank you! I find myself returning to the above words from the General Thanksgiving over and over again, especially with our clergy and parish leaders on my heart. I am sustained and inspired by your faithful and innovative ministry at this extraordinary time. The call to serve as One Diocese, One Mission, has never been stronger, and you have responded in truly miraculous ways.
As we prepare to gather in mission for our first online Diocesan Convention, I am writing to request your continued faithfulness to the common tithe.
The pandemic has altered so much of our common life and shared ministry. And yet our ministry and vocation remain unchanged. We have had the opportunity for fresh expressions of ministry and a renewed sense of priorities. The swift and highly pastoral responses of our parishes and clergy, embracing technology, and seeing to basic human and justice needs, are unprecedented.
Our ability to meet the local needs of those experiencing illness, food insecurity, and unemployment must remain strong. At the same time, we must systemically address growing health and economic disparities, as well as racial justice. The Trustees have made an incredible commitment to supporting parishes in ministering to these critical needs.
The proposed 2021 Ministry Plan totals nearly $7,000,000 and represents these needs, realities, and vocations. As you will see, congregational stewardship empowers almost one-third of the plan, at just over $2,000,000.
In 2020, nearly 50% of our parishes fully tithed, an important progression from almost 40% tithing the previous year. We must continue our journey toward all congregations fully tithing by 2023, upholding the biblical standard for giving, and answering the growing need for Gospel ministry.
If your parish has not yet received stewardship counsel from Canon Suzanne Culhane, please schedule a session with her in the coming months. It is crucial that we engage all best practices of stewardship and have leadership fully equipped. Canon Suzanne can also provide guidance as you consider the 2021 tithe request.
Please make plans to prayerfully discern and submit your pledge by December 15. Thank you for your witness to God’s generosity. You and your family remain in my prayers.