" H e y   A l l "
           Notes from the Vicar of Grace
              inclusion service discovery gratitude
The Rev. Bill Harper

Hey All.

I'm writing, again, to ask for your gifts and your generosity.  I feel some anxiety about that, worrying, I suppose, about having already asked for much.  And still, bravely, I'm asking.  This coming Sunday, honoring Martin Luther King, Jr., we will hear once again about the graceful generosity God invites us to share.  It's in that Spirit that I ask for your support.

First of all, there is Haiti.  I recognize that we may have any number of personal reactions to this complete tragedy.  It's possible to feel numb or paralyzed.  I can invite two practical, productive alternatives.  First of all, pray.  Whatever prayer means to you and for you, just do it.  When you see the pictures and hear the news, simply stop, breathe and pray.  Pray for the sorrow and grief so many feel; pray for people who every day experience and have to accept poverty beyond what we can imagine; and pray that the world can change.  Extreme poverty, the kind that makes people so terribly vulnerable to any disaster, is not necessary.  it is not part of God's vision for the world.  Period. To put it bluntly: we can't stop earthquakes, but we can stop global poverty.  Prayer, then, is a form of connection-it connects us to our honest hearts, to others, and to that vision of God.  Through that connective spirit empathy and compassion can grow.  And then, with that connection, give.  Just do that, too.  Go to the computer and give.  I'm directing my own gift through Episcopal Relief and Development primarily because I know exactly how this program works.  The Episcopal Church in Haiti is very active, and ERD will be able to partner locally, and immediately, with congregations and communities.  Mercy Corps, of course, is already on the ground, and is an amazingly trustworthy relief organization. 

With that same prayerful connection, I'm also asking us to respond-one last time-to our Annual Giving request for 2010.  Next Wednesday night (January 20th) the Bishop's Committee will meet to finalize our budget for this new year.  We will balance it with the resources that we have in that moment.  I worry about this-worry about how to make faithful adjustments.  If we fall short of our goal (and as of today, we are still $50,000 short) it will be hard on all of us.  I think we know that.  And I also know that our collective financial resources are not infinite.  To be personal and frank, I want to get past this challenge.  In my heart, I know how much we could do if we can grow our pastoral staff.  Our care for each other will grow and deepen.  I also know the passion I have for expanding and deepening our ministry with youth.  What I lack is time and resource.  It's a challenge to know how to do the work I'm called to do, and do the work I "have to do." I don't want to let fund raising become the primary focus on my ministry, and so I need help.  Yours.  I can think of no other way to put it.  If you have not yet pledged for this new year, follow this simple link.  If you can adjust a pledge already made, follow this one.  And if you need more information, it's right here.

Grace.  Generosity.  Abundance.  Enough.  These are not just words-they represent a way to live in the world.  Living in this spirit, we take steps into the Kingdom of God.  Which, as Jesus said, is right here, right now.  If only we could open ourselves to see it-and live it.  Thank you for helping me do just that.

                                       Bill's Signature

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