Riverside Reflections May 2012
Rev. Millie Rochester
The great musician Pablo Casals is known to have remarked that “the difficulty of cello playing is to know how to get from one note to the next.” I think he was onto something!
It occurs to me that, lately, my newsletter columns have reflected that same sort of in-between-ness. Last month I referred to a trial that had ended, the verdict unknown; and earlier, the days lengthening but Spring not yet having officially sprung. I write now from a similar place.
Our Stewardship Campaign is winding up, but we are far from our goal. Some members who were away for the winter are returning, so their pledges will add to the campaign totals, and some members have decided to increase their pledges above what they had initially pledged. This is very generous, and much appreciated. Still, it appears that our budget for the next church year will be closer to “austere” than “liberal.”
This is not the first time our “reach has exceeded our grasp,” we are not the only church to be disappointed with its pledge drive this year, and daily news of budget woes remind us that churches are not the only organizations dealing with these issues.
The first thing I want to say about this is that we will survive it. The energy and anticipation on Sunday mornings, the number of activities being offered, and the level of participation in these gatherings lead us to know that people find value in them. And people find ways to support what they value.
An increase in pledged commitments is always welcome, and I am confident that we will narrow our shortfall, but realistic enough to know that we might not eliminate it entirely. Those who put the budget together for next year have very tough choices to make, for we value all that was in our “dream budget.” Some items cannot be cut, and some cuts cannot be proposed without causing pain. I respect and appreciate the folks who courageously undertake this work, and hope we will all honour them for the work they do.
We all support what matters to us, to as great an extent as possible. Stewardship is more than pledging financial support – though it is essential – and pledging is not a competitive sport.
There is incredible power in a vibrant congregation which truly values each person and strives to help each person find a meaningful path. That is who we are, and who we will continue to be.