April 13, 2023

Friends in Christ,

Over the next month we will be engaged as a church in a variety of discussions, presentations,  and celebrations of giving and generosity. It wasn’t planned this way, I would say. But rather, a number of intriguing opportunities and events have come together at this point in time.
I suspect the Holy Spirit might be involved, so it’s worth bringing to your attention.

INVESTMENT IN ELCA MINISTRY GROWTH FUND. Since its inception, our Cross Fund for Mission, which supports our John Glenn Ministries and others, has grown to a point that it makes sense to invest it in a way that will help make the fund more sustainable, so we can invest even more in those who need. We’ll have an information meeting on April 23 and congregational vote on May 7. For more details, click here. For more information on the ELCA Foundation Ministry Growth Fund, click here.

VOLUNTEER SUNDAY, MAY 23. One thing that distinguishes this congregation is our high level of volunteerism. From our John Glenn ministries to our boards, worship to faith formation, fellowship to congregational partners, we are active in sharing our time, passion, and gifts for the sake of Christ’s church. We want to celebrate, so we’ll recognize our volunteers next Sunday during worship, install 2023 board members, and celebrate after with coffee and special treats.

OVERALL FINANCIAL HEALTH. For the past 21 months, we have operated in the black, with income exceeding expenses the whole time. This is a testimony to your faithful giving and to wise and discerning planning by our leaders. As far as I know, this is a position that we haven’t been in for a long long time. How might God be asking us to act with this gift?

PLANTING HOPE CAMPAIGN. The Saint Paul Area Synod is nearing an important juncture in the Planting Hope Campaign, which hopes to raise e $2.75 million to support four major initiatives:

  1. Inviting others into life in Christ. (Given the changing nature of our neighborhood, I’m intrigued by the opportunities).
  2. Renewing Congregations (we are a likely candidate for some of this initiative).
  3. Raising up the next generation of leaders (as a congregation with dynamic younger
    adult leadership, this is a very helpful initiative).
  4. Investing in the East Side of St. Paul. Work has already started on a therapeutic preschool called Families Together, hosted at Grace Lutheran on Old Hudson Road in East St. Paul and in partnership with Lutheran Social Services in Minnesota. What’s more, there will be other  opportunities through this grant for East Side (and nearly East Side congregations like Cross — I have already been involved in some preliminary conversations about our participation).

I have purposely not said much about the Planting Hope Campaign in the past for a specific reason: there were other congregational matters that demanded our attention. But now, considering our financial position, history of generous giving, and a sense that the Spirit is stirring something new, I am asking you to consider whether you would like to make a donation to the campaign before Synod Assembly in May. Pledge cards and information sheets are available in the Narthex. If you wish to give via check, please indicate Planting Hope Campaign in the comment line. Pledge cards and checks can be placed in the offering plate, or mailed/delivered to the office. We will present our gathered gifts during Synod Assembly. Please have your gift or pledge to us by Thursday, May 11, 5 pm. For more information, visit the Planting Hope webpage or contact me directly.

Pastor Scott