What Can We Be?
Dear People of St. James Cathedral,
What a difference a year can make! A year ago, the Cathedral Chapter had just concluded the search for a new Dean and the congregation found itself eagerly awaiting a “unicorn.” We soon realized that the “unicorn” was not a single individual but the collective whole of the Cathedral community. Together, over the past year, as we emerged from a period of transition, our Cathedral family has embraced the innumerable opportunities to listen, learn, grow, and serve together. The result is discernible and a reason for great joy and optimism.
We have risen! Now… What Can We Be—This is both a question and a statement we seek to explore this upcoming year at St. James through our year-long stewardship campaign.
Historically, many churches engage the work of stewardship through a single lens of financial stewardship. However, stewardship is a multi-faceted embodiment and expression of our faith whereby we nurture, cultivate, and empower God’s resources entrusted to our care. Together, we have an amazing opportunity to embrace and share our gifts of time, talents, and treasure with God and God’s people.
The “What Can We Be” campaign will be a year-long stewardship campaign focused on broadening our community’s definition and understanding of stewardship. This year, the Stewardship Packet contains not one but three pledge cards—a time pledge card, a talents pledge card, and a treasure (financial) pledge card. We will host an ingathering of financial pledge cards on Sunday, December 8th (Advent 2).
We are going to ask you to hold onto the “Time” and “Talents” pledge cards until after our Annual Meeting/Ministry Fair gathering on Sunday, January 26, 2020. Our “Time” and “Talent” pledge cards will be gathered together on Sunday, February 9, 2020—a day we are calling “Shining Light Sunday” inspired by that Sunday’s Gospel reading from Matthew; “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” (MATTHEW 5:16)
The initial aspect of “What Can We Be” campaign centers on our Cathedral’s financial sustainability. Financial stewardship is both a spiritual and practical endeavor of the heart and mind. Spiritually, as faithful people of God, we strive to remember that our treasure is not the source of our sustenance and strength, but rather the ever-present love of God that is generously given to us. The practice of sharing our abundance is a joyful expression of our love for the Divine and a faithful witness to our dependence on God.
As a practical venture, financial stewardship allows St. James’ worship, ministries, outreach, and facilities to exist and thrive. We are grateful for all gifts, big or small, pledged, freely given, or willed. Our annual operating budget is established and managed primarily through our pledged-based giving. Pledged giving enables better fiscal planning, management, and transparency.
For those current pledging members of the Cathedral Congregation, we greatly appreciate your continued commitment and willingness to document that commitment. For those members who have donated, but not pledged in past years, and for those who might be new to our community and/or new to the Church, we are asking you to prayerfully consider transforming your financial gifts into a pledge.
Below this letter is the vision statement for the “What Can We Be” stewardship campaign. It is through this lens we begin the next chapter of St. James being our spiritual home and the Cathedral for the people of the Central Valley and the Episcopal Diocese of San Joaquin.
If you have any questions or concerns, or need additional information, please do not hesitate to speak to the Dean, Deacons, and members of the Cathedral Chapter.
We thank you for your continued support of St. James through your gifts of time, talents, and treasure!
Faithfully in Christ,
The Very Reverend Ryan D. Newman