January 2008 - For the cost of a cup of coffee...

Dear Parishioners and Friends of All Saints Church,

           If you could make a major impact on your church or aid the salvation of someone you love by giving up the cost of a cup of coffee a day, would you do it? I think most people would say ‘yes’. If you knew that everyone around you were doing the same, would it make your decision easier to keep throughout the year? Then I have a way for you to successfully fulfill both of these important tasks. I should warn you that both involve sacrifice - one is financial, and the other is cultural.

            First, you should have received by now your 2008 Stewardship information packet from the office. Did you read the cover letter? If not, put down this Vineyard and go read it... ... ... ... ...

            Okay, now you know how a cup of coffee can make an impact on your church. For the rest of you on our mailing list who are not members (yet?), All Saints Church could generate an additional $53,000 in stewardship if everyone who is currently a pledging member of the church increased their pledge by $0.75 a day, or less than the cost of a cup of coffee!!! That amounts to pocket change for most people.

            2 Corinthians 5:17 reminds us that for those of us in Christ, “old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (or “renewed”).            Therefore we will not rehash old information that you should have heard about three or four times by now on the financial needs of our parish. Let it suffice that - especially as we are beginning a new year - we should be renewing our minds, our hearts and our stewardship commitments annually, letting go of old values, misconceptions and misunderstandings of past generations, and moving forward into 21st Century reality. If this still seems unclear, let me translate: we need everyone who considers themselves a member of All Saints Church to fill out, sign, and return your Stewardship pledge card right now. Go ahead, I’ll wait... ... ... ...  Financial matters may not seem spiritual, but it is a truth that money enables ministry.

            There is another matter that you need to renew your thinking as it regards the hospitality gene that is part of the DNA of every Mediterranean person, whether born with it or inherited through marriage or as a convert to the faith. Our culture does not allow a family nor an individual to have the priest enter your home without offering something containing a bazillion calories or a thousand grams of salt... And my Greek/Italian heritage makes it very difficult to refuse your generous hospitality.

            However, we don’t have any room in the Parish House for a treadmill, I don’t have any more room on any of my belts for another notch, and I really don’t want to increase the dosage of my blood pressure medication. So please, as I come to bless your homes this month, if you must put something out to fulfill your cultural heritage and genetic disposition, allow me the freedom to say ‘no’ to your generous hospitality of sweets, drinks, and mezedakia.

            For the cost of a cup of coffee, or a piece of baklava, or a serving of feta cheese, let the parish reap the generosity of your hospitality. And I, too, will praise God for you helping to save my health as I hope to serve your spiritual and liturgical needs for many years to come. Happy New Year.