Stewardship season is a great opportunity to reflect upon what St. Philip’s means to us. For my family, one of our cherished ministries is the Children and Youth Ministry. It is truly an amazing thing to behold. On Sundays, children can be found singing with Mr. Bruce, attending Sunday School taught by some of the most dedicated members of the church, singing in one of the many services, or spending time in youth group. These are just a few examples and everything our children are able to do is due to the generous support of our congregation. Our kids are the future of our parish and we are honored to support their ministry.
Perhaps you had a chance to fill out a “Gratitude Card” a few weeks ago during one of the Sunday services. We received a card from one parishioner that perfectly summarizes the nearly 100 cards we received. “St. Philip’s and its ministries have touched my life in the following way: welcoming & loving faith community for my children & me — inspirational music. Giving back to help do God’s work in the world: pledging & volunteering.” Simple and powerful! “Come and see … Grow with God … Go and do!”
—John Waszczak, Commissioner for Stewardship
Every Sunday, especially on First Sundays, we feel the presence of God through the liturgy and inspiring music; but doing what God asks of us does not end when we leave the Church at St. Philip’s. Over the years we have seen many examples of unbridled generosity doing God’s work, including providing meals to residents at Primavera Five Points transition home, making sandwiches for Primavera shelter residents, knitting prayer shawls, visiting the sick in hospital, the Christmas project that benefits our neighborhood children, the After School Music program, and many others. All our pledges and our time and talent help our staff and dedicated volunteers continue to help those in need.
—Tom and Sue Cross
When we speak of stewardship, there is a trio of words that often come to mind: Time — Talent — Treasure. The meaning of these words is self-evident in the context of Stewardship. Let me suggest three more “T” words that are equally applicable. Thaumaturge: noun. A worker of miracles. Every day miracles happen, large and small, known and unknown, as a result of the many ministries supported by your pledge to the work of St. Philip’s. Theurgy: noun. Divine agency in human affairs. Pray for the presence of this divine gift as you consider your pledge. To: verb, infinitive. To do something, expressing purpose, as in to examine one’s resources, to pledge support.
During Stewardship season, many of us, including myself, tend to think first in terms of financial support–but how many of us stop to think what that check or electronic transfer can mean for the many ministries offered at St. Philip’s? As an example, those of us in the Mental Illness Ministry are grateful beyond words to the staff who have gone above and beyond the call so many times — whether it be for scheduling a forum on an already crowded Sunday schedule, accommodating the Candlelight Prayer Vigil two years in a row during Mental Health Awareness Week, finding space for several support groups and a monthly book club — and all towards the goal of providing a safe, welcoming environment for folks who might otherwise have felt alone and disconnected. Multiply this by over 90 — the number, at last count, of groups dedicated to “doing God’s work in the world” — and imagine the ripple effect into the rest of our community. And of course, we depend as well on the commitment of our many volunteers — please think as well of how much a donation of your time can mean!
St. Philip’s has blessed me in several areas, but I’m profoundly aware that I owe the church my deepest gratitude for writing successes I’ve achieved. How I came to wield the pen has been a lifelong process. As a girl I scribbled stories and verses in a spiral notebook. At Tucson High School and Chapman College in California I served as a student reporter; I was the copy editor of Chapman’s 1950 yearbook. A newly minted high school teacher at Julian, California, I taught English and journalism. In later years, I contributed articles to the Palos Verdes Peninsula News. A member of St. Luke’s Presbyterian Church, I designed the newsletter, The Sign of Jonah, edited, and wrote for it. In 1989 I moved back to my birthplace, Tucson. As a reporter for Loaves and Fishes at St. Philip’s, under editor Bobbie Justice’s tutelage, I honed my journalistic style. I edited Loaves from 1994 to 2002. During that period I learned how to format copy and photographs. With those skills I was able to write and format my first book, Forged by Fire: The Devastation and Renewal of a Mountain Community. To my utter surprise, it was one of the ten top books of 2005. That achievement led to my penning the memoir, The Road to Mount Lemmon, A Father, A Family and the Making of Summerhaven, published in 2009 by the University of Arizona Press. Since then my two novels have been published. Those books contributed to the fulfillment of my girlhood dreams of becoming a writer. St. Philip’s deserves an ocean of gratitude for nurturing me in so many ways but especially for fostering my apprenticeship in the writing craft.
—Mary Ellen Barnes
During my 18 years at St. Philip’s, I have seen a lot of changes, and they have all been in me. When I first began coming to services I was impressed by the community and the sublime architecture of the church. Gradually the church became my church and the community became my community. I find a special warmth and joy among the people while carrying out the mission of St. Philip’s of bringing minds and hearts nearer God. Here we can grow together. Yes, St. Philip’s has been the guide to my own flowering, my own internal growth. Thank you.
There are three major reasons why we pledge to St. Philips. The first is that it is our spiritual home, providing us with the profound rewards of liturgy, friendship, support, and personal comfort that come with active membership in a vibrant Church community. The second is that the Christian outreach coming from St. Philip’s many ministries results in so much of God’s work being done both inside and outside our walls to support those in need, that we consider St. Philip’s to be among our most important charitiable causes in our community; one that is highly worthy of our financial support, not just because of what it does for us, but for what it does for others in need. We want to feel a significant part of making that outreach happen. The third is that we really consider our pledge to be the annual renewal and reaffirmation of our discipleship. St. Philip’s excels in so many ways that we feel privileged to be a part of enabling it and willingly reaffirm our participation and our gratitude by means of our annual pledge.
—Bob & Beth Taylor