We live in a time when church attendance, membership and giving are stable at best, but more likely in decline. This leaves us with a sense of urgency to reach out to our entire congregation to join us in resisting these trends at St. Paul’s.
In spite of the historical misdeeds and mistakes that have occurred in the institution of “the church,” the teachings of Jesus have not changed. In fact, as they relate to the importance of the Church, his teachings are just as relevant today as they were some 2,000 years ago. Jesus told Peter that he will build his church (Matthew 16) and Paul, in his farewell to the Ephesians, gives instructions “to be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.”
We believe the idea of the church was very important to Jesus, as well as to his early followers. We think it was important to them because they knew that the church was, and is today, foundational and formative for all of us to carry out the work we have been given to do: Feed the hungry; give drink to the thirsty; invite the stranger in; clothe those who are in need; look after the sick; visit and bring hope to the prisoner. “Go into all the world and tell the good news to all creation.”
All of this, and more, does not happen without the church. We must preserve it, not only for ourselves and for those in need today, but also for the younger generations who, if they have not yet been motivated to participate with their time and treasure, we have no doubt, will be drawn to do so at some point in their lives. St. Paul’s will embrace that moment when it arrives.
Linda and Lee Bettis
2017 Annual Giving Campaign Co-Chairs