Dear St. Paul’s family,
A couple of weeks ago I took on a small project of writing thank-you notes to the 127 members of our Legacy Society, that is, those people who made it known to us that the Cathedral is included in their estate planning. It didn’t take long to write one note, but by the time I signed the last one I felt a real sense of accomplishment! (My apologies to those of you who had trouble reading my handwriting.) It was a spiritual exercise, to think with gratitude of each individual or couple as I wrote the note and addressed it.
We all know how important it is to thank people for their generosity, and how good it feels to be appreciated. I appreciate the sense of long-term commitment that a planned legacy represents, and the understanding that such a legacy is born of someone’s gratitude for what St. Paul’s means to them. But a habit of thankfulness is more than this: it is a spiritual gift that we are called to nurture. Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is an important part of our life of faith. Giving back to God some portion of what we have been entrusted and blessed with is a privilege. I am grateful for the opportunity to tithe to the Church: it gives me a sense of ownership in the Church’s mission and it helps me feel closer to God. Letting go of anxiety about money is a huge challenge for most of us, and I share in that anxiety. I delight in my ability to support the growth of God’s kingdom, both now in this place and time and after I am gone through my own legacy.
This journey of giving has been a long one for me, from the first time some 35 years ago when I realized that being a member of a church meant having some small part in its financial structure, to today, when I strive to give more than the basic 10% tithe to support not only the Cathedral but also some of our related ministries. It really feels good to know that I am part of God’s mission in this local way, along with hundreds of others in the parish and the diocese.
As we move into the season of discerning our pledges for the coming year, I hope that you too will experience the joy of giving as together we grow in God’s grace, rooted in love and seeking to love Christ, serve others, and welcome all with grateful hearts.
Your sister in Christ,