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“We give of ourselves to the body of Christ because Christ first gave himself for us.”
The above message was revealed to me by the Holy Spirit after several weeks of engaging in conversations with the leadership about stewardship. Every year parishes conduct stewardship campaigns or pledge campaigns. Regardless of what these efforts are labeled, they are undeniably calls-to-action, rooted in both the desire, and necessity, to nurture the growth and vitality of the body of Christ.
Your presence in worship is one of the reasons why this body of Christ has come into being. But our shared life in Christ, is not only about us, nor is it only about showing up in church on Sunday. We exist for those souls, who have yet to cross the threshold of our doors, and for those souls who will never show up to worship at the church. In order for us to grow as a faith community and be a relevant part of the Wesley Chapel community, we need you to act. We need you to act as both a valued resource and the giver of valued resources. My calls-to-action for you follow:
Be bold evangelists and welcome new people into the body of Christ here at St. Paul’s. Come and worship to nurture your soul and the souls of others. Come and serve in a ministry (or ministries) so that the Holy Spirit may empower you for the work of discipleship. Come and feel the Spirit move so that the giving of abundance in your life is merely a natural expression of your deep gratitude to God for all that He has done for you; all that He is doing for you; and all, that we believe by faith, He will do for you—and all of His faithful.
Over the next few weeks, you will hear from the leadership of St. Paul’s, many of whom are founding members. As founding members, they are walking testimonies of what it means to embrace a vision, yet to be revealed, in order to manifest the body of Christ—the church—in this world, at this appointed time and in this specific community of Wesley Chapel. We have certainly come a long way since the vision for this church was words on a piece of paper in 2016. We are still planting, and we have only just begun.
Sisters and brothers in Christ, we have shared many historic firsts in our very short history. What a testament to your faith in God’s mission, already at work through St. Paul’s, to report that our very first intentional giving journey has resulted in a 100%-member commitment to ensure the long-term vitality of this faith community. I invite you to prayerfully discern your ability and capacity to commit to financially supporting your church in these critical early years. Let us sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things (Ps 98:1). Let us respond to the calls-to-action placed before each of us. Let us give of ourselves, and out of our abundance, to the body of Christ because Christ
first gave himself for us.
The Rev. Adrienne R. Hymes, Vicar
It is with great exuberance and joy that I present this communication to you regarding St. Paul’s Episcopal Church inaugural giving campaign. What an exciting time in our church to have made it to this juncture! Albeit we remain a mission of the larger Diocese of Southwest Florida, Saint Paul’s has truly been blessed to have been born from a vision to materialize to fruition. As God’s creation we are here to serve; however, service requires resources. And you, the body of St Paul’s Episcopal Church, are an extension of God’s blessings; indeed, you are those very valuable and treasured resources.
What exactly does it mean to be a valuable resource? An interpretation of this query leads us to a response that God has equipped us with time, treasure, and talent.
These gifts are not solely intended for individual gratification; rather, we are simply stewards of God’s grace and we are to use them to benefit others so that they may, in turn, extend the blessings of the Almighty.
At this time, I encourage each of you who may not have committed to being an active member of Saint Paul’s Episcopal Church by either a transfer of membership, or by completing your intentional giving form to please do so now. When you make your written declaration you not only support the mission of the church, but you also share in its governance. Church membership allows you to have a voice, and a vote at the annual meeting.
Members in good standing (regular attendance in church, receive Holy Communion at least three times annually and commit to financial support of the church) are permitted to vote during this yearly event held in January.
Therefore, join me in rejecting being a passive recipient of God’s blessings; embrace worship as an active participant. Be wholly engaged in God’s word, and use the gifts of His time, talent and treasure, wisely to the benefit of others and to His glory.
“For if the willingness is there, the gift is acceptable according to what one has, not according to what one does not have” (2 Corinthians 8:12)
We congregate in a dedicated worship space—a building that welcomes all. Much like your own home, the church must maintain our worship environment’s lights, air conditioning, and cleanliness. The sacramental and liturgical worship demands an investment into the sacred beauty of our vestments and altar paraments. Simply put, the
church cannot exist without financial resources.
As a mission church of the diocese, it is easy to take for granted the rare gift of being financially supported by the diocesan budget. From vision to mission, our financial dependence has always been our reality. Our new reality, as we continue to grow, is that the that the substantial diocesan support, upon which we depend for the significant expenses of our operating budget (building rent and the full-time priest), will soon be ours to bear fully. Each year, beginning in 2022, the diocesan support will decrease by $20,000 (Our 2021 budget of $200,000 will be reduced to $180,000 in 2022, and $160,000 in 2023 and so on).
We are classified as a mission because we cannot fully sustain ourselves financially (reaching financial independence would classify us as a parish). We are a few years from parish status, but I call upon you to practice the stewardship disciplines necessary to nurture this church’s growth, which you have chosen as your spiritual home. Believe that, with God’s help, and with your fulfilled commitment, we will reach parish status! I give because I believe the holy words found in scripture. I give because God giveth unto me. I give because God’s work must be done. Let us do this holy
Receive Your St. Paul’s Member T-Shirt* with Your Annual Giving Commitment
Ms. Karen Bauer
Class of 2022
As a founding member, I invest in the legacy of St. Paul’s because I see the long-range need and purpose for this church to fill the missional and spiritual voids in our community. I give my time, talent and treasure, as generously as possible to St. Paul’s with an open heart to help grow our mission church. I did not think that I could increase my tithe for this coming year, however, after reviewing my own budget, I found that by switching some other charitable giving amounts and lowering a few bills, I could comfortably gift St. Paul’s with more treasure. I encourage you to prayerfully discern your own commitment to the operation and ministries of St. Paul’s—every gift is the perfect gift.
Dr. Jeanette Rollins
Officer, Senior Warden, Class of 2024
I give because giving is an act of love. Giving is caring. Giving is not a sacrifice, but instead, it feeds the soul. “For
God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, so that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Dr. Owen O. Roach, D.B.A.
Officer, Treasurer, Class of 2024
Giving opens the doors of blessing, and it is an expression of how much we love the Lord. Malachi 3:10 reminds us to bring our tithe and offering into the storehouse that there may be food in the house. Indeed, we can test God’s blessing because His words remind us that God Almighty will throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing that there will not be room enough to store it. This promise is enough for us to give generously, cheerfully, and to contribute to the development of the church because that is how God has given to us. God’s generosity to His children is all we need. Saint Paul said, in his letter to the Corinthians, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (Corinthians 9:7).
Mr. Hugh J. Shannon IV
Class of 2023
As a cradle Episcopalian, the richness and beauty of our ancient Anglican sacramental and liturgical tradition are important to me. I give to St. Paul’s to nurture our own deeper understanding of our faith tradition, and to nurture its growth in our community so that others may choose to worship God through this reverent Episcopal worship service.
Ms. Keitra Waterman
Class of 2022
I give to my church because I care about a future beyond myself and beyond today. I want to ensure that my children will always have a sacred place to worship.
Mrs. Sue Moshier
Officer, Secretary, Class of 2023
I give to the glory of God because my own life has been transformed and enriched in extraordinary ways through the
church. My experience of being a member of a faith community is expressed best by St. Francis of Assisi, who said,
“For it is in giving that we receive.” That is why I choose to give.
Ms. Christine O’Donnell
Junior Warden, Class of 2024
Members’ support of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church has evolved with your support to a place where I can feel the peace and the presence of God, particularly through our shared ministries. The Church has become a special place to nourish my spirituality and inner peace and faith. My financial support is an investment in the legacy of St. Paul’s, and is necessary for it to continue long after I am gone.
Serving in the worship service takes many forms and requires many servants. In order to maintain the integrity of clean and reverent liturgy, ministry teams must be developed with reliable, committed and trained ministers—We need you. Now is a great time to learn a new ministry or to reconnect with one that brought your spirit joy in the past. Contact: Mr. Hugh Shannon, Ministry Coordinator email@example.com | 865-567-9357
St. Paul’s has a reputation as a warm and welcoming place. We need your help to keep this reputation! Please consider volunteering monthly to welcome people as they come in our front door! It’s so easy to say “HELLO!”
We’re looking for men and women who would like to help greet and assist our worshiping community as they join us on Sunday morning.
We’re looking for men and women who would like to help prepare the altar for worship and help care for the candles and linens we use on Sunday mornings. Please contact: Ms. Christine O’Donnell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ACOLYTES & CAMERA OPERATORS
Our acolyte corps is on the lookout for anyone who would like to assist at the altar, in accordance with the St. Paul’s customary. Our team of camera operators invite you to explore this ministry.
PRIEST DISCRETIONARY FUND: The Priest’s Discretionary Fund (PDF) assists members in need or other needs of the community. Contributions to the fund may be submitted at any time of the year. On the first Sunday of the month “loose plate” offerings (contributions that are not pledges or are otherwise unattributable) are designated for the Priest’s Discretionary Fund. The check memo or envelope must note “Discretionary Fund.” Thank you for your generosity.
ALTAR FLOWERS: The contribution for altar flowers given to the glory of God on special occasions is $40. A general contribution to offset the ongoing flowers expense may always be made in any amount. Our monthly expense for flowers is $200 per month. Please note on the memo of your check “Flowers” so that the funds may be properly allocated. Email requests for flowers given for special occasions to email@example.com one month in advance.
DESIGNATED DONOR GIFTS are items that are intended to be with the church across generations (images shown below). Our stunning brass processional cross was our first designated donor gift in 2018. St. Paul’s maintains a registry of gifts for donor consideration. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to request the registry.
SAVE THE DATE: Funeral Liturgy Workshop & Leaving A Lasting Legacy
Wednesday, November 10 AT 10:00 a.m.-12:45 p.m.
(9:30 a.m. Morning Prayer)
Prayerful preparation for your funeral arrangements is a gift given by you to your family. Join us for an interactive review of the Episcopal Church’s The Burial of the Dead Rite. Together, we will hear live scripture readings and instrumental hymns, provided by our music director, as we workshop the planning document for the funeral liturgy. Following that workshop, we will learn about leaving a lasting legacy through estate planning (Charitable Gift Annuity, IRA Inheritance), facilitated by a representative from Western & Southern Financial Group. Lunch will be provided.
Please RSVP to the church no later than Monday, November 8th so that we may have an accurate count for food at email@example.com.
(Morning Prayer at 9:30 a.m.)
10:00 am-12:00 pm—liturgy planning workshop
12:15 pm-12:45 pm—estate planning presentation
After several weeks of intentional prayer and discernment about stewardship, parishioners are invited to place their yellow pledge envelopes in the offering plates, prior to the start of service, symbolizing offering themselves to God and a portion of their time, talent and financial resources to God’s mission through St. Paul’s Wesley Chapel. These pledges or “estimates of giving,” help the leadership make spending plans for mission and ministry in 2022, giving direction to how we will live out being the people of Christ in this place and at this time.
Mother Hymes and the Bishop’s Committee of St. Paul’s Thank You for Your Generosity as You Dare to Jump into this Unfolding Vision of God’s Plan for St. Paul’s!