A Message from the Dean
Dear People of St. James Cathedral,
This past Sunday we kicked off our annual stewardship campaign. We heard some of the earliest words of the New Testament, as St. Paul wrote to the newly formed church in Thessalonica. Paul was talking to these new Christian converts about how he “had courage…to declare to you the gospel of God in spite of great opposition." Paul was brave and indomitable, but I wonder how he would have coped with living through 2020!
We have lived through much bad news in recent months. The combination of medical, emotional, and economic issues of the pandemic, alongside the social and political turbulence within and beyond our city, have all been deeply disturbing. And yet, like Paul, we also possess Good News and, like the great apostle, are called to share it.
Our good news includes such wonderful blessings as the scale and quality of our online engagement with and beyond our regular worshipping community; an ongoing Zoom program of formation for our many young families ranging from toddlers to teens; a remarkably successful adaptation of Summer in the City; the transformation of our choral programs to virtual music-making of the highest quality; and major growth in our feeding ministries in and beyond the city. Alongside this we not only met but exceeded the target for our pledging campaign for this current year, and the support of our church members has remained constant throughout these difficult months. At a time when the majority of churches have been facing decline, all of this is, truly, good news, and I am writing now to ask for your prayerful support in ensuring that these programs and all our mission and ministry might continue and might grow throughout 2021.
God in Christ calls on us to give our all - money, time and skill - to help build the kingdom. To answer that call the Church has often suggested that its members should aim to set aside a percentage of their income for this purpose. Many Christians aim to use 10% of their income in this way. At St. James, we suggest that church members should offer 5% of their income to their faith community, and another 5% to support other charities.
The impact of the pandemic may have affected your income and thus your ability to give. But I hope that as you reflect with joy on the Good News God continues to give the world, even in times of such unique complexity and challenge, you will take some time to pray about how God is calling you to share what you have received, and support the mission and ministry of St. James Cathedral next year.
At the end of yesterday’s reading from First Thessalonians, Paul spoke of his determination “to share… not only the gospel of God but also our own selves…” As St. James Cathedral faces the opportunities and challenges that next year will doubtless bring, I invite you to share some of what God has given you to sustain and grow our work. Will you make a pledge for 2021 that will help ensure that your cathedral continues in its vibrant mission?
Your priest and friend,
The Very Rev. Dominic Barrington
Dean of the Cathedral