Generosity is contagious, and so often stems from a sense of gratitude. This time of year as we gather with family and friends around tables heavy-laden with delicious food, our own sense of gratitude is hopefully heightened.
As Christians, we believe that all that we have, all that we are, comes from God who is gracious and just; who loves each and every one of us beyond all measure. This is why each and every Sunday you hear in worship a prayer that begins (something like) “Gracious God we give you thanks…”
This prayer is part of the worshipful act of offering back to God the first fruits of what God has bountifully blessed us with, for the furtherance of God’s Kingdom. We do this just as scripture calls us to time and time again – to recall that our gifts comes from God not simply for own sake, but so that we, as God’s people, may continue to be a blessing in the name of God.
This is something we as a church have done well in the last month particularly, and I wanted to share just some of what we have accomplished together:
- Our PFD Tithe Challenge raised approximately $11,000 in the month of October. We’ve already received a thank you letter from AK Child and Family, one of the ministries we were able to bless. They thank us for providing the opportunity for the children to be out in the community being “normal kids” doing “normal things.”
- In less than one week we collected enough food to fill FISH Food Bank’s pantry to overflowing! You can continue to be involved with FISH as a volunteer shopper, delivery driver, packer, and more! For information contact Outreach@FISHCharity.org
- As you may have heard, First UMC has begun hosting an emergency cold weather shelter for families. We have joyfully agreed to partner with them to ensure the shelter can operate each week. Many, many thanks to all who have already volunteered to bring food, supplies, and spend the night at the shelter. Find out how you can help on our website www.stjohneagle.com
- Our Youth lead through their example of service all year. Truthfully the youth group’s volunteer hours each year are the biggest chunk of our congregation’s community service hours (yes, there’s a challenge in that statement). I would like to take this opportunity to thank the youth for their hours and hours of service – and encourage you to do so as well!
I pause in gratitude today in prayer and thanksgiving for this community of faithful disciples, and for the many ways we are seeking to transform our community and our world. I give thanks for the many ways you will continue to do so this Advent season – be on the lookout for many opportunities right here at St. John.
May grace and peace surround each of you this Thanksgiving,