A Word from Laura: Giving Thanks

I’ve never needed a separate day to give thanks, knowing even part of what inspires my gratitude, but given Thanksgiving, here’s a little:

  • Sam Ross, the Miriam’s Kitchen guest who spoke from our pulpit on Sunday, sharing some of his story and feeling inspired by our community to mention Hebrews 13:1-2. I later found out that Sam had not seen the same verse etched in stone over the fireplace in the Courtyard Room.  He simply felt led by the spirit – and Spirit! – among us to talk about entertaining angels as we welcome strangers in our midst.
  • Ed Sykes, a visitor last Sunday from Kansas, along with his wife Mary, who took the time to email, “As long time residents of deep red Kansas we were a little surprised by the emotion demonstrated concerning the election. I hope the members of your congregation don’t think there is a celebratory mood among Christians in Kansas.  We too are concerned about what has happened… As I helped pass a bag of oranges to the center aisle to be collected by your children for your Miriam’s Kitchen project I was struck by the fact that there is not really that much different between Christians in Kansas and DC when it comes to doing the Lord’s work in support of our communities and our World.  Next time you fly over “Flyover Country” you can look down and know that we are working as hard as we can to match the outstanding civil responsibility example demonstrated by your Congregation.  We will pray for your success and look forward to visiting you again on our next trip to our Nation’s Capital.”
  • All of the ministers at Western Presbyterian – and this means you! I’m grateful for those who are stepping up to address the challenges we face as we move through our discernment process, but know that this group includes everyone in some way.  If you’re a part of this church, you are called to ministry in one way or another, whether through sharing hospitality, nurturing our children and youth, visiting or driving those who can’t get out otherwise, making sure that our church maintains our financial commitments, organizing us for service and mission, or praying for God’s work through Western.  As you consider your own gratitude, how are you called to commit and give to Western – not because it’s your duty, but because it’s your joy?

I hope you’ll consider your own gratitude.  As we move forward through this process, anticipating what is yet to come, I hope you’ll consider your own commitment looking forward, including how you will give of your time, energy and finances.  At the meeting last week, a session member brought up that if giving remains consistent, we are still several thousand dollars short of what we need to sustain our operating budget.  Although the original stewardship letter encouraged financial commitments to come in this Sunday, the session suggested holding off financial commitments to the church until December 4, when we can make them together in light of how we will each commit to areas of our church’s ministry in the coming year.

In the meantime, may you consider your own gratitude for all the blessings you receive, and especially in these divisive times, as Western grows as a community where divisions are healed, where hungry are fed, where we worship a God of love and justice and mercy and prepare for God to come among us.

Blessings to you and all for whom you give thanks,