"I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works." — Psalm 9:1

Dear Friends,

Catherine and I are looking forward to seeing you when we return to St. John the Divine on Sunday, October 27. We have had a wonderful summer/early fall in Maine; yet we have missed our friendship and fellowship with you.

The purpose of this letter is to introduce to you the plans for building the 2020 budget which will guide and support the ministries which this parish undertakes in the name of Jesus Christ. Churches prepare their budgets in a variety of ways. Many have a fall stewardship campaign to prepare for the coming year’s budget, and that has been the SJD custom as well. Our stewardship efforts now and throughout the year are under the broad heading “Generosity.”

I like to think of a congregation’s budget as our “common purse”, through which we can do much more together than we can do individually. As we prepare for a new rector in 2020, I have every confidence that with each of us offering our very best, our common purse will be in a strong position indeed. More information will be coming in subsequent messages, but below are a few details which will give you the big picture of these efforts.

Throughout 2019, we have been emphasizing the theme of “Living Thanks, Giving Thanks” through personal reflections of parishioners, Sunday sermons, and many printed materials. Keeping with the spirit of our theme “Living Thanks, Giving Thanks” will be the words of Psalm 9:1 – I will give thanks to you, O Lord, with my whole heart; I will tell of all your marvelous works.

Our efforts will be surrounded with an intentional forty days of prayer following the biblical example of Jesus’ forty days of preparation in the desert after his baptism and the forty years of formation of the ancient Israelites in the wilderness. Our timetable is as follows:

  • Oct 1: Introductory letter (this one); 40 Days of Prayer begins
  • Oct 20: Sermon from Psalm 9:1: Giving thanks with your whole heart
  • Oct 27: Sermon from the day’s Collect: Increase in us the gifts of faith, hope, and charity.
  • Oct 30: Fall Celebration Dinner
    (Wednesday evening, fun for the whole parish family!)
    RSVP here by October 27 or call 713.354.2218
  • Nov 1-5: Stewardship 2020 brochure and pledge envelopes mailed
  • Nov 3: Sermon from Ephesians 1:20: Putting God’s power to work
    (All Saints’ Sunday Lectionary)
  • Nov 10: Commitment Sunday and the in-gathering of pledge envelopes

This year we are simplifying our generosity campaign communications by sending fewer letters and emails. We are counting on everyone’s timely response so that we can enter 2020 with a firm idea of the budgeted resources that will be available to continue Jesus’ mission and ministry through our church family.

An important aspect of this streamlined approach will be to seek 100% return of pledge envelopes. Obviously, we hope that everyone will make a pledge for 2020, but if you are unable to do that, please return the pledge envelope with the appropriate box checked.

A 100% return rate of the envelopes will provide accurate information quickly and reduce the amount of follow-up activity required. Christian stewardship is about how we spend both our time and our money, and the 100% envelope return approach allows us to be good stewards of everyone’s time. Pledge cards will be sent out in a few weeks; and there will be an online pledge option as well as the traditional returning of the cards.

Thank you for your participation in the Body of Christ through this parish family, and I look forward to seeing you in a few short weeks.

May you be blessed so that you may be a blessing to others.

Bishop Gary Lillibridge, Interim Rector

God's desire is that all people would know the saving grace of Jesus Christ and be empowered to live lives of great faithfulness. That's why St. John the Divine exists. Our call is to help all people connect to Jesus in ways that change their world for good.

The Generosity Committee has prepared 40 Days of Prayer with wholehearted thanksgiving to the communal body of St. John the Divine. Each day you will be invited to read a verse of Scripture followed by a reflection and prayer offered by a member of St. John the Divine. Sign up below to receive a daily 40 Days of Prayer email from September 30 - November 9. Booklets of the devotions will be mailed and available at the church beginning September 29.

Note: If you already receive the 'Knowing the Word' emails, you will automatically receive the 40 Days of Prayer from September 30 - November 9.