Jan Lehman, our volunteer co-ordinator and I were recently marvelling over just how much volunteer support we are blessed with here at St. George’s. There are very few things that get done in Christ’s name around here with out a great deal of volunteer support. From folks like the Altar Guild who work behind the scenes every Sunday, to all the people who make our bazaar possible, it is a huge team of committed volunteers who help St. George’s be the place it is.
I am, also, grateful for the financial support of every person and family that makes considered, prayerful, and regular contribution to mission and ministry of St. George’s. We can do a lot with volunteers, but some things need money to support, maintain and improve. As I hope you can see from of our financial statements, with the guidance of the warden’s and the care of our treasurer, St. George’s attempts to use every penny to do good work in Christ’s name.
As you can read in our vestry report (2015 Vestry Final) we have many groups and teams working at helping make a difference in lives of the people in our church community and in the wider community. From our great team of Pastoral visitors to our essential support of the Georgetown and Acton arm of the Fresh Food Box Program. Our Pastoral Care Team, make regular visits and phone calls to the sick, the shut-in and the aged in our parish extending the care, comfort, and support of the parish family to people when they need it most. St. George’s volunteers make close to half of the volunteers that help prepare and pack the fresh fruits and vegetables into the 200-or-so Fresh Food Boxes distributed each month and our church is one of the three local pick-up locations. Both these ministries strive to make a difference in our community.
With the amazing time and talent of our volunteers and with the weekly and monthly financial support of our congregation we do great things in God’s name. Yet, one of my biggest concerns has been the challenge we face to attract folks who want to be in community with us and do ministry with us. Our vestry report which tell the story of the many good things we are doing and how we are reaching out to people, also reveals that we have been shrinking in overall attendance and losing financial support.
Honestly, some of that loss is that we have been spreading out beyond Sunday’s with Messy Church and our family and children’s ministry. In this vital ministries we are connecting and growing, but not in ways measurable under the old metrics. Some of the numerical loss is also because folk do not attend as regularly. And although we have made up some financial short comings with fundraising, we have also been losing the support of committed financial supporter due to age, illness, and other life changes.
I remain confident in the truth of the Gospel
I would be lying if I didn’t admit to be a bit discouraged at times. Yet, I continue to remain confident in the truth of the Gospel, our need to proclaim it and the need for our friends and neighbours to hear it and experience it.
As I have been speaking, you have been seeing some of the pictures from 2014 (play the video at the top!) that highlight some of the activities and outward work we have done together in Christ’s Name. But these pictures are truly just the tip of the iceberg of the faithfulness of St. George’s to the gospel and our christian community. Much of the work of the good news happens in people’s hearts and in their actions as they live out their lives day to day.
Our community of Georgetown is changing and growing. Our church is going through its own necessary and need growing pains because the Gospel requires us to. The good news of Jesus Christ is alive and in every generation it find its voice and embodiment. As God came among us in Jesus, God incarnate, the church, in every generation takes a shape that can be recognised, heard, and felt.
This hope, this promise, is captured so well in the doxology prayer that we use regularly on a Sunday morning at the 9:30 and 11:15 services.
Glory to God,
whose power, working in us,
can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.
Glory to God from generation to generation,
in the Church and in Christ Jesus, for ever and ever.