"The Season of Giving Thanks": St. Julian's 2020 Annual Stewardship Campaign
October 17, 2019,
Dear St. Julian of Norwich Episcopal Church:
On Sunday, October 13th, St. Julian's, once again, began our annual "Season of Giving Thanks". The "Season of Giving Thanks" is a month-long invitation for each of us to call to mind and give thanks to God for the many blessings in our lives, and then consider how that gratitude might overflow into making specific commitments of prayer, time, talent and financial resources to further God's mission and ministry in and through St. Julian's in the coming year.
Throughout the month, you will hear from various participants in our community about how and why they contribute to St. Julian's and, further, how their choice to share from their own abundance leads to their own spiritual growth and wellbeing. Additionally, we will have special activities during "open space" in worship that focus on gratitude and giving, as tools to help us count our own blessings and consider how we might allow the love of God in our lives overflow in acts of generosity toward our life together and others in need beyond our own walls.
The "Season of Giving Thanks" will culminate with two events. The first is a preview of the 2020 Budget and a Theological Reflection on Giving during adult Christian Education on Nov 10th (between services, 10:10 AM). The second is our In-Gathering Service and Thanksgiving Meal on Sunday, Nov 17th. Please note, on In-Gathering Sunday (Nov 17th), we will have one service at 10:30 AM so that we can all present our 2020 Ministry Commitment Cards together, as an act of unity and shared ministry, followed directly by our Thanksgiving Meal (more information about our Commitment Cards is below).
We have experienced many blessings in our first decade of existence. We have grown in number from about a dozen folk on our plant team to nearly 350 adults and children. We have grown in spiritual depth through meaningful worship and Christian Education/Spiritual Formation for all ages. We have developed 20 plus strong and vibrant ministries that serve both those inside our church and those beyond our own walls. In addition to our Vicar, we have added 6 part-time lay ministers to our staff that provide Administrative Support, Children's Ministry, Student/Youth Ministry, Music Ministry, and Adult Spiritual Formation. And most recently, we have added a second full-time clergy person to our staff, the Rev. Jonathan McManus-Dail, who joined us this past July. We have bought and built out our first worship space. We are in the 3-year process of our first Capital Campaign, Good Soil, to support a future permanent campus, which is off to an excellent start, and we continue to work with the Diocese of Texas to diligently seek land for a permanent campus. The list of the good work we have accomplished together could surely go on.
Though we find ourselves today as vibrant and healthy as we have ever been, we are, also, more dependent on the financial generosity of our community than we ever have been. This is due, in part, to receiving decreasing financial support from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas as we move toward financial independence and becoming a self-sustaining parish of the Episcopal Church. In order to keep our budget flat from 2019 to 2020 and not cut staff, salaries, or ministry support, the community will need to increase our collective giving by at least $30,000 in 2020 (going from about $230,000 in total giving in 2019 to needing $260,000 in 2019). This represents a significant increase in giving year over year (about 15%). This increase in giving will need to come from both new pledges from those who have joined us in the previous year and those already giving to extend their generosity even further.
We cannot understate the importance of each person prayerfully considering St. Julian's significantly in their charitable giving, as we live in these challenging years between our current space constraints in our existing facility and getting to a permanent campus that represents our next opportunity to experience significant growth in the next 2 to 4 years. We believe the next few years may be among the most important in assuring our future together. However, with God's ongoing help and the sacrificial commitment of our community, we strongly believe that we can continue to grow in number, spiritual depth, and financial giving to place ourselves in a position of vitality and health for a future move to our next and permanent home.
As a reminder, St. Julian's purpose statement is: "St. Julian of Norwich exists to be a community where God's salvation in Christ can be experienced and known." You can be a part of profoundly furthering this purpose:
Through your prayers
We are first a foremost a people of prayer. We believe deeply that God is active and present in our lives each day in ordinary and extraordinary ways. Therefore, we invite and ask each participant and friend of our community to keep St. Julian's in their daily prayers, as we seek God's will for our common life and intentionally work to become more and more the people and place God has created us to be
Through your time and talents
God has blessed us each with the ability to offer something unique. Contributing our talents and available time, however simple and humble, will help fulfill the many needs that exist within and outside the St. Julian's community. We invite you to visit our website, www.stjuliansaustin.org, and click on the ministry link to see a list of the many ministries that would be blessed by your gift of time and talent. At the ministry page you can find a description of each of our ministries and contact information for the ministry leader. Also, you can always reach out to one of our clergy persons if you would like help in discerning how to become more involved at St. Julian's.
Through your treasure
Your financial commitment and contribution to St. Julian's allows us to plan for the growth of our community and furthers our ministry in the world. As mentioned above, we are quickly coming to the end of receiving financial support from the Episcopal Diocese of Texas. In order to not cut staff, salaries, or ministry support, we will each need to consider giving 15% more to St. Julian's in 2020 than we have in the current year.
Attached below is an "FAQ" about stewardship and the Season of Giving Thanks at St. Julian's. We hope this is a helpful resource. Additionally, attached below is our 2020 Commitment Card, which we hope you will bring completed to our In-Gathering Service on Sunday, November 17th at 10:30 AM to be placed at the altar. However, you can complete the Commitment Card and place it in an envelope with "2020 Pledge" noted on it and place it in the offering baskets or mail it to the church anytime between now and then (see website for our mailing address).
Thank you for your time and consideration. We are so grateful for our shared life and ministry and so thankful for all you have already so generously given. We are the beloved family of faith we have become in large measure through your ongoing and profound generosity. If you have any questions about stewardship at St. Julian's or your own giving or participation, please feel free to contact either of us. We hope this reaches you and yours very well.
Peace and Warm Friendship,
The Rev. Miles R. Brandon, II Richard Garen
Vicar Stewardship Committee, Chair