St. John’s Serving Christ, Parish Page Deadline, Food Pantry and more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 19, 2020 – Available in full online here.Haga clic aquí para ver el mensaje de esta semana en español de nuestro misionero latino, Luis Valencia.
From the Rector
The Rev. Dr. Jared C. Cramer, SCP
One of the things I love about this church is that there is never a shortage of ideas for how to serve Christ. Just during this pandemic and quarantine alone…
You came together for amazing opportunities for streaming worship (catalogued in our YouTube channel playlist here). You also created a virtual choir, masterfully led and organized by Nick Palmer, who not only led worship on Sundays when we were sequestered at home but also created a version of the Taizé piece Nada Te Turbe that has been viewed nearly 7,000 times on YouTube, calming the hearts of many people during this unsettling time.
You came together to create the Good News Garden, a beautiful garden on the sixth street side of our building which is already being harvested to provide fresh vegetables and herbs to our Loving Spoonfuls Meal Ministry and Food Panty guests. One of my new favorite things is looking out my window and seeing people come by to do a little weeding and caretaking throughout the day.
You established the Immigrant Relief Fund that, at last check, has raised over $50,000 to help immigrants with any household or legal needs during the Coronavirus Pandemic. We have completed assistance to 83 households in our area and still have nearly $16,000 to help those in need. You can click here to see the video message from Latinx Missioner Luis Valencia offering a message in Spanish to any who are still in need, making it clear that our church stands with and for them.
You formed a Coronavirus Response Team, that is leading the work of ensuring we return to our building in a slow, safe, phased, and responsible manner. That Team helped craft our Plan for Re-Entry (a plan being borrowed by other congregations!) and also our Notes on Worship Ministers. They also did great work preparing our building for the resumption of streaming from the church and are still preparing us for the resumption of in-person attendance at worship.
And throughout all of this, you continued your strong financial support to our congregation's ministry. Though some understandably had to decrease giving in these challenging times, so many of you increased giving that we are ahead of budgeted projections on pledge giving, covering what we have lost through plate offerings during this time of no in-person worship. When the Vestry approved a revised budget for the rest of 2020 (Appendix C of the June Vestry Minutes), based on income and expense realities during this pandemic, they were able to maintain our goal of ending the year with a surplus to rebuild cash reserves and also were able to continue considering the Payroll Protection funds we received as un-budgeted income, providing a strong financial safety net for the church should conditions worsen. The Finance Commission is to be commended for their stellar work steering the financial ship of our church during these challenging times.
On the checklist for re-entry (page 3 of the re-entry plan) one of the first points is to celebrate all that SJE has accomplished. As you can see from what I wrote above, you have accomplished a tremendous amount during this time. You have found new and create ways to follow Jesus, to be inspired by worship, and to boldly love ALL.
You're a bunch of rockstars. I look forward to seeing you (virtually) for streaming church this Sunday and I cannot wait to see what other things you do for God and this world in the weeks to come!
Read more in the E-Newsletter for Sunday, July 19, 2020 online here.
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