An unfortunate incident

Dear Friends in Christ,

This past Sunday we had a small reminder of why the work we are doing together is so important. During our stewardship campaign you heard me mention the fact that we are still in a tough economy and not everyone is in the same place. That is a gentle way of saying that some people are really hurting. We just got a reminder of how true that is–immediately following the 10:30 service someone, presumably thinking the pledge envelopes in the baskets near the altar rail contained money, stole several of the envelopes that had been turned in by those coming forward for communion.

I write today not to alarm you or cause undue concern but to alert those who did turn in a pledge card last Sunday that we hope you will resubmit your pledge. We ask that with our deep apologies. Please email Canon Chris Harris at if you are willing to help out in this way. And let this incident also remind us that, as we prepare to enter in the joy of Christmas, there is deep and desperate need in our very midst. Every Thursday there is a line around the block of people who have waited for hours to receive free groceries through the Jewish Family Services program we host in our Olive Street parking lot. Uptown Faith Community Services, a homeless outreach ministry which St. Paul’s helped establish, routinely serves 1,800 people each month at its service center in North Park. This February we will once again host homeless families in the Guild Room through the Interfaith Shelter Program. We are also mindful of all those at St. Paul’s who have been touched by the jobs or housing crisis in some way.

Our campaign theme this year has to do with thanksgiving. I give thanks for this faith community and pray that we will always be there for those in need. We cannot do everything but, together, we make a difference every day and sometimes in ways we will never know.

If you feel called to respond in a positive way, here are some ideas:
Make a pledge to support the mission of St. Paul’s by clicking here.
Volunteer to help staff the Uptown office during the week by contacting Dale Hoppenrath at
Help staff the Guild Room during our homeless shelter in January, by contacting Canon Christine Spalding at
Help distribute food on Thursdays at St. Paul’s, contact Canon Chris Harris at
With hope and gratitude,

(The Very Rev.) Scott E. Richardson

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1 thought on “An unfortunate incident”

  1. Dear Scott:

    This is one of the most remarkable letters to come from you and St. Paul's since I have been involved with this great church & ministry.

    In keeping with the messages you always seem to be able to muster even in the darkest moments, I am moved by your letter and response to the 'incident'.

    As the recent Board Chairman of UPTOWN Faith Community Service Center, an important ministry of St. Paul's, I wanted to offer my heartfelt thanks for your mentioning of the plight of the homeless and marginally homeless in San Diego. You turned a negative action directed by someone desperate into a lesson we can all learn on the true meaning of giving and of Christ's message to not only forgive, but to come to the aid of those who may harm us.

    I have worked for the last 1.5 years with UPTOWN and we see not only the truly chronic homeless, but an increasing amount of people we describe as 'like you and I'. People with advanced college degrees, people who have had homes and normal livings standards…these types are increasingly coming through our doors.

    Thanks again for being the true shepherd of this flock and responding the way you did.

    Yours in Christ,
    Tony Lucero


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