We are just two weeks away from Consecration Sunday, the day when we will ask you to make a financial commitment to St. Luke’s for 2019. You may be asking yourself, “How much should we give?”
First, our commitment to the ministry of our parish should be seen as part of our commitment to stewardship overall. We all give out of a sense of thanks for the richness of our own lives, and few if any of us restrict our giving to one recipient. As a result, the question often becomes, “What percentage of our charitable giving will we direct to our parish this year?”
A couple of things to keep in mind. First, while some of the charities and causes we value have large numbers of people to draw from, St. Luke’s has only you. We have no substantial income from rentals nor do we receive grants from aid agencies. We do not run fund raisers or hold raffles. St. Luke’s presence and ministry depends entirely on its members to cover salaries, property maintenance and utilities, educational programs, outreach and the Diocesan Program Assessment (our share of the greater ministry of the Church in the Diocese of Oregon).
Certainly, another question worth considering is “How much does St. Luke’s need?”We have, frankly, been running a deficit for some time, drawing on our dwindling reserves to finance our ministry. So, one way to answer that question is to say that we need more than we have been receiving. In 2018, we received 31 pledges that averaged $15 per pledging unit per week. In order to approach full funding of our budgetary needs, we would need almost twice that amount per week from 40 pledging units.
We all work to fit our giving responsibly into our budgets, and some will be able to give more than others. With that in mind, it may be helpful to figure that an average of $30 per week per pledging unit would make us almost completely self-supporting.
For some, that’s a great deal to ask, for others, it is well below what they are capable of giving. Just as we depend on one another for prayer and mutual support and fellowship in Christ, we depend on the generosity of each giver, giving what they will, to meet our needs.
In the past, some of our members have expressed discomfort at the idea of pledging, fearing that they would be locked into a financial obligation they could not meet, but a pledge is nothing more than your best estimate of what you are able to share for the ministry of your church. If your financial circumstances change in the course of the year, you are welcome to change your pledge accordingly. In the same way that you depend on your employer’s pledge to compensate you for your work at a certain level allowing you to order your household finances, so to your fellow parishioners depend on the best estimates we have of how to manage our ministry.
This I promise: Your Vestry will use your gifts wisely and prayerfully for the increase of our common ministry. The coming year promises to be an exciting one for St. Luke’s. With your generous commitment to our ministry we will continue to grow and serve.
Please give serious consideration to your gift for 2019 and see what we can do together.
Immediately following our service of worship on November 18, we will repair to Fellowship Hall where we will enjoy a festive Pot Luck Luncheon. At that luncheon, we will explore together possible areas of interest for St. Luke’s next mission focus. We’re counting on you (and your favorite bring long dish) to be there!
During the past year we have had some difficulty in filling the Treasurer’s position in the long term, and while the transition among persons willing to help has been heartening, the Vestry has determined that a longer term solution is required for managing the parish’s finances. As a result, we recently engaged the services of an area accountant to provide our monthly financial statements. Day to day bookkeeping is handled in the office by our Parish Administrator, but best practices mandate a separate “set of eyes” for oversight.
Rest in Peace, rise in Glory.A Memorial Service for Jennifer Long will be held on Saturday, November 17 at 2:00 pm. Jennifer was a long term member of St. Luke’s and we offer our condolences to her family and friends. Eileen DuPuis entered greater life on Saturday, November 3. Services are tentatively planned for Saturday, December 1. More information will follow. We pray that their souls and the souls of all the faithful departed may rest in peace.
Please Note that the Church Office will be closed on Monday, November 12 in observance of Veterans Day. Please remember to lift before the Throne of Grace those who serve this nation in uniform, those in their families who support them in their service, and those who have in the day of decision laid down their lives in the defense of our liberties.
God of peace,
we pray for those who have served our nation
and have laid down their lives
to protect and defend our freedom.
We pray for those who have fought,
whose spirits and bodies are scarred by war,
whose nights are haunted by memories
too painful for the light of day.
We pray for those who serve us now,
especially for those in harm’s way.
Shield them from danger
and bring them home.
Turn the hearts and minds
of our leaders and our enemies
to the work of justice and a harvest of peace.
Spare the poor, Lord, spare the poor!
May the peace you left us,
the peace you gave us,
be the peace that sustains,
the peace that saves us.
Christ Jesus, hear us!
Inclusion, democracy, compassion are priorities at 2018 Diocesan Convention
Your delegates to the 130th convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Oregon (Rev. Doug Scott, Rev. Dcn. Laurel Hart, Sid Welch and Jim Hart) assisted in approving a resolution asking Bishop Michael Hanley and the Standing Committee to encourage parishes to join other organizations to redevelop church properties to add revenue above annual pledges. The resolution also asks the Board of Trustees to approve mortgages, leases, cell tower agreements and redevelopment plans to assist parishes in this effort. Further, the resolution asks the Board of Trustees to publish a guide to redevelopment showing principles, suggestions and examples, to be distributed at the 131st convention in Salem next November.
Presentations during the convention included an upbeat state of the diocese report by Bishop Michael Hanley and a keynote speech by Heidi Kim of Seattle, a staff officer of the Racial Reconciliation Committee of the national church.
Among other topics your delegates voted on were canons (rules that govern church activities) that make it easier for the details of each year’s convention to be placed in the hands of delegates well before the event. Clarification of rules governing each of the seven convocations in the diocese also was included. St. Luke’s is a member of the Metro East Convocation with several other parishes on the east side of the Willamette River. Also approved was the formation of a commission to consider and approve the proposed architectural designs of new parish structures in the diocese. Other canons were rewritten for brevity and to emphasize each commission’s major purpose.
The canon regarding diocesan program assessment (DPA) was changed to allow parishes experiencing a temporary reduction in revenues to be “in conversation” with the Diocesan Council and to request a covenant of diocesan assistance for up to three years before returning to compliance with the DPA. The penalty for not complying with the DPA was reduced to stripping a parish of voting rights at the annual convention. Currently, of the 71 parishes in the diocese, 53 are in compliance with the DPA canon, including St. Luke’s in Gresham. Of the 18 not in compliance, 16 are “in conversation” with the Diocesan Council. One parish of the other two, St. Matthew in Portland, was suspended (closed) and its property will be placed on the market for sale.
Your delegates were inspired during the report on the diocese’s youth ministry. In addition to the week of camping in the Cascades last August (which included five children from St. Luke’s), Rev. Carol Sedlacek took a group of high-school-age students to Arizona to learn first-hand about Native American culture.
Also inspiring was the report on the diocese’s ministry for students at some of Oregon’s universities as well as the diocese’s effort to educate people called to serve as priests or deacons. An academy that provides theological education for people seeking a three-year certificate began in Portland about eight years ago.
The diocese and its parishes also are involved in many more efforts to complete the mission of welcoming and serving people of all genders and all countries of birth as well as people whose human rights are being denied and especially those with few resources — people in need of food, clothing or shelter.
Throughout the three-day convention, there was an expected element of decorum. No matter how controversial the topic, there was no shouting and no demonstrations. In the forefront of each discussion and eventual decision was allowing all ideas and concerns to be expressed. Roberts Rules of Order guided the democratic process of reaching decisions that encourage and support ministries serving individual Oregon communities as well as important needs beyond Oregon’s borders.
Respectfully submitted, Jim Hart and Sid Welch,
with edit by Rev. Doug and Dcn. Laurel
A REMINDER that all members of the parish are invited to take the free online Safe Church program offered by the Diocese of Oregon. Go to https://www.diocese-oregon.org/ministries/safe-church/, scroll down the page to the blue “Online Training” button and click to begin. We will proudly display the completion certificates of those who have finished the program, proclaiming our commitment to make St. Luke’s a safe place for all.