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November 8, 2020
Dear Members and Friends of the Church of the Good Shepherd,
Recently we’ve been reflecting on how difficult it can be to feel thankful during this pandemic. But although a great deal has been taken away from us, our Lord Christ has not stopped showing us with love. Considering both the challenges and the blessings of this unique time, we thought a good theme for this year’s Pledge Campaign would be “Gratitude in the Time of Pandemic.”
We can’t ignore the reality of how much we’ve lost as a result of COVID, and a list of the church’s accomplishments may be shorter when compared to past years. But 2020 has also been a year of profound blessing at Good Shepherd, and we have much to be thankful for…
We initiated and plan to complete “Sacred Ground,” a faith based dialogue series on race sponsored by the Episcopal church, and twenty-nine parishioners accepted this opportunity to explore America’s history of race and racism. It’s inspiring to hear from participants about how they grew in Christ’s love while weaving together threads of family story, economic class, and political and regional identity.
We were a pioneering parish for the new Christian Essentials prayer/study group, where participants learned about their Episcopal faith and deepened their relationship with God and one another.
At the request of the North Carolina Division of Child Development and Early Education, our Day School remained open during the pandemic for the children of essential workers. In addition, we are thrilled to announce that our Day School is projected to finish the year with a financial surplus. In 2017 the vestry, believing in the important ministry of the Day School, committed to a three year funding plan in hopes that the school would achieve this goal. We are incredibly thankful to the staff and our ad hoc Day School Committee for this success.
We were able to upgrade our video capabilities and begin streaming a church service every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. Also, our cloister garden has been transformed into a beautiful outdoor worship space, now used for the 8:00 a.m. service, that provides a true sense of the Spirit of God.
This is not a bad list of accomplishments under the current circumstances, and our bishops have remarked that we’re a model for other parishes in the diocese. All that we do to share Christ in the world is only possible with your generosity of monies and Spirit.
Now some challenging news: since we can’t pass the plate each Sunday, our financial giving is approximately $30,000 behind last year’s. Fortunately, a Payroll Protection grant has helped to stabilize us financially, but that money has now been spent. We ask each of you to prayerfully consider your financial commitment to the church for the coming year and to make a pledge that will allow the vestry to balance the 2021 budget without cutting staff or ministries.
As we continue this journey through the pandemic, your funding commitment to the church is especially appreciated. But more importantly than that, your pledge is an expression of faith that, as Paul wrote in Romans 8:38-39, “neither death nor life nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Peace, Health and happiness to you all,
Mary Palmer, Senior Warden Jim Curtis, Junior Warden
P.S. Please send your enclosed pledge form (or submit one at pledge.goodshepherdrmt.org) by December 5th so we can include it in our pledge offering during the 10:30 a.m. service on December 6th.