You have been remarkable stewards of the gifts God has given you this year. The year 2015 has been an extraordinary time in our shared life at Christ Church Cathedral. The election in February of The Reverend James Russell Kendrick to be the fourth bishop of the Diocese of the Central Gulf Coast was followed by months of intense planning, preparation, and service for the Consecration Celebration, held July 24-26 here at the Cathedral and in Expo Hall of the Mobile Civic Center. The Cathedral Family, joined by Episcopalians from throughout the diocese, offered a tremendous outpouring of time, talent, and treasure for the building up of the mission of the Church. I believe that this experience has been a watershed moment in our spiritual growth as the Cathedral church of the diocese.
Through the months of summer, when attendance and activity and giving normally wane, our numbers held steady in every respect and even surged ahead in some! I continue to give thanks on a daily basis for the amazing self-giving of the Cathedral Family this year.
Once the dust started to settle following the consecration and we began planning for the program year ahead, it quickly became apparent that this continues to be a “not business as usual” time in the life of the Cathedral Family. As your leadership looked toward the annual stewardship campaign for 2016, we decided to take a slightly different approach to our usual every member canvass. In acknowledgement of your ongoing commitment to supporting the mission and ministries of Christ Church Cathedral, this year’s pledge campaign, Growing Our Mission, will rely primarily on a personal letter from me (with enclosed pledge card) asking for your continued financial support of our ministries.
There is a three-fold challenge to growth in this year’s campaign. First, for those of you who routinely make and fulfill a pledge of support, I am asking that you prayerfully consider increasing your pledge by 1% or more (out of your adjusted gross income) for 2016. Second, for those of you who give regularly, but who do not always complete a pledge card, I am asking that you fill out and submit an estimate of your giving for the
upcoming year as an aid to our planning for ministries in the year ahead. (And I would also challenge you to consider increasing your present giving by 1% or more.) Third, for those of you who have felt unable to make a pledge in previous years, I am asking that you begin the discipline of making a commitment this year, at whatever level you can begin.
When you receive your letter in the mail, you will be asked to return the enclosed pledge card within two weeks. Once that time has passed, if we have not heard from you, you will receive a call or visit from a member of our stewardship leadership team. Our goal is to have all pledges in hand by All Saints’ Sunday, November 1. This will allow us to plan our programs and budget for the upcoming year.
This special stewardship issue of The Messenger material designed to help in your prayerful consideration of your personal stewardship. A personal stewardship worksheet will be enclosed with the letter you receive from me. In addition, those of you who give regularly will soon receive your third quarterly statement for the year; this will include a summary of your support of the Cathedral over the past three years as an aid to your stewardship consideration.
God has entrusted this great historic sacred place to our care; the responsibility for its preservation, its presence as a vital force in the community, and above all for its growth in mission of serving our Lord rests with each of us. I will be praying in the month ahead for our continued growth as stewards of the gifts God has given us and for our growth in mission and ministry.