Pastoral Ponderings – November 2023

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the One of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” ~ James 1:17


Sometimes I don’t think I say that enough to each of you. I have certainly gotten behind on sending out thank you cards. But even if you don’t get a handwritten note from me, please know that I am beyond grateful for everything each and every one of you does!

“But Pastor Heidi, I don’t do much for you to be that thankful to me.” To which I respond, “Bologna!” I have received words of encouragement, words of challenge, words of compassion from each of you. I have watched you care for one another through cards sent, hugs shared, and food offered. I have watched you shed tears, sit in silence, and clean the church so Brian and Arlene didn’t have to when Arlene’s mother, Lois, died.

These two churches are amazing, and I am so grateful to be your Shepherd! Thank you!

November 26 we will offer our pledge cards to be blessed during worship. For those from First Christian, I know this isn’t a tradition that you are used to, but I feel that it is especially important this year.

When you receive your pledge card and letter this year, it will be for the 2024 budget for the New Church we are creating together. When we make a pledge, we are promising—to the best of our ability—to give that money to the church however we feel we can over the course of the year. By writing that amount down, our finance committee (yet to be named—for now is Martha Watters and the Merging Committee!) will be able to assess whether or not we will need to make adjustments to the proposed budget.

Offering of our first fruits back to God (giving an offering or pledge) is something we are called to do. Many churches ask for a tithe—which is 10% of your annual income. I know for many, that can be really scary. And I pray you know that I am not asking you to give beyond your means. But this year, because we are going to be a New Church together, I would challenge you to move into a zone that might stretch your comfort.

For instance, if you didn’t pledge, you would make a pledge this year. If you gave 3% of your annual income, can you do 3.5%, or even 4%? If you were giving 6%, could you give 6.5%, or even 7%? If you didn’t give in percentages, and giving a flat amount, say $20 a month, could you try $25 a month? If you gave $1,000 a quarter, could you give $1,250 a quarter?

I understand that giving to the church can be difficult because we are afraid that we won’t have enough. But our God is a God of abundance, always providing what we need, when we need it (notice I didn’t say WANT!). All we have to do is trust that. Our faithful giving is one of the ways that we can thank and praise God for our abundant gifts.

Again, THANK YOU for all you do!

Always Peace,

       Pastor Heidi