Last Sunday, we kicked off our 2019 Stewardship campaign. From now until Thanksgiving weekend, we will be collecting financial commitments to support ministry in 2019.
To meet the rising cost of ministry, to reestablish 2016 levels of pastoral care coverage, and to finish our real estate debt elimination effort, we are asking every household to increase their giving by $5 a week.
Of course, if you are able to give more it will help cover those who are not able. If everyone participates, we will not only meet the projected 5% increase on the budget but we will also not need to hold special offerings throughout 2019 to close the pledging/giving gap.
I am grateful for those who came out on Sunday to listen to the presentation on the 2019 mission budget. President Jeff Owens did a fantastic job in walking us through how St. James spends its money. Each dollar you give is carefully spent to support worship, faith formation for all ages, pastoral care, outreach, and community. 5 Ministries Alive at St. James!
The question was raised about the “increase” in 2019 to the Pastoral Care line. This is not so much an increase as it reestablishes funding for pastoral care ministry to where it was in 2016. Let me explain.
Since June 2017, other than a few weeks of vacation, I have been on-call, 24/7 without coverage. As you can imagine, with a church of St. James’ size, this is not a good situation. I am grateful for the Pastoral Care Team and their visitation and call support of home-bound members and those in nursing/care facilities. Their ministry, however, does not cover emergency calls and the need to have someone ‘on-call’ to respond to those in crises.
After the planned departure of Vicar Andrew last summer (he was scheduled to be with us for but a year), we tried a variety of volunteer options for over-night coverage that didn’t last. It fell on my shoulders. Since pastoral care is so important to me, this wasn’t something I refused or complained about. That said, not having a day truly off - wore heavy on me and my family.
Supported by St. James Council and leadership to find a solution, we partnered with Pastor Scott Simmons and Lydia’s Place in September to provide weekend coverage. Pastor Scott is supervising seminary students, who have been through their Clinical Pastoral Education. From Thursday evening through Sunday morning, all emergency calls are answered by this team. We are currently funding this coverage through a variety of non-budget sources, including unspent ministry funds from 2017. In 2019, this will be funded through the Mission Budget.
There is also need for a part-time, retired pastor to help make pastoral visits. Again, with Vicar Andrew’s departure a year ago, we have had to reduce the frequency of pastoral visits. Restoring our ability to reach out to those who are hurting and vulnerable in our midst is a priority. Since early 2018, I have been actively searching for a retired pastor to close our visitation gap. For most of the year, this search was unsuccessful. In recent days, however, I am encouraged in the quest. I hope to be able to share more with you soon. If we are able to secure this needed help, we will fund it for the balance of this year with unspent ministry funds from 2017. In 2019, it will be a part of the budget.
I know that this has been a lengthy explanation. But I wanted to make sure that you had the details that I shared on Sunday.
What can you do for five dollars? You can help support ministry that is alive - and that brings a word of comfort and hope to those who are hurting, struggling, and lonely. You can help us as a church to be present with Word and Sacrament when someone finds themselves in great need.
With five dollars you could also buy a hotdog dinner for two at Costco… your choice!
As always, I look forward to seeing you in worship,
In Christ’s Light,