It was a dream come true. That’s how a pumpkin farmer in Sharon, MA described his record-setting gourd at this year’s Topsfield Fair. Weighing in at 2,075 pounds, it was “the largest grown this year in North America and the second largest in the world.” That’s a big pumpkin! But it was no accident. Because this pumpkin farmer has spent the last 26 years growing massive gourds in his backyard. His winning entry was just one of five pumpkins that he’s been cultivating for six months, investing “three hours a day, seven days a week… feeding them fish, seaweed, kelp, molasses and composted cow manure.” He describes it as a passion, but it’s no “fair-weather sport.” After taking home this year’s prize he’ll spend the next several months rejuvenating the soil & getting ready for next year. He says: the season never really ends.
We could say the same thing about our stewardship at church. In many ways, last year was a record-setting entry for St. C’s. We received our highest pledging total ever and we had our lowest cash deficit in 15 years. We also received some record-setting gifts that allowed us to repair & beautify the property and to increase our accessibility. That’s a big year! But it was no accident. For every dream come true in parish life, there are dozens of investments in time, energy, money, and prayer.
This year we’re invited to continue cultivating the soil of our congregational life. Because not so different than a dedicated pumpkin farmer, our season of stewardship never really ends. We’re regularly invited to roll up our sleeves and to continue rejuvenating the soil of Christian faith, hope, and love. We’re blessed with parishioners who are passionate about following Jesus, but following Jesus has never been a fair-weather sport. Even when we’re blessed with soil that gives growth, we’re invited to focus more on God’s gifts & less on our own effort (1Cor. 3:5-7).
This year I invite you to use the enclosed Pledge Card to help us continue cultivating the soil of our Christian worship & witness. Regardless of the amount, please join us in offering your financial pledge. A full 70% of our annual budget is funded by voluntary donations and these cards represent our primary tool for planning our shared life of worship, education, fellowship, and service. Church stewardship is about prayerfully cultivating a community that grows to embody the life of Christ in the world. And when that happens, people might even look at this community and describe our faith, hope, and love as a dream come true.
The Rev’d. Eric M. Hillegas