Dear St. Philip family:
From the first letter of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 12:
4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of services, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.
12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. 14 Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot would say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear would say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. 19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many members, yet one body.
Sending greetings to all of the body of Christ at St. Philip, with an update from our most recent council meeting. As you may know, council and the pastors meet monthly to discuss the progress of current ministries of the congregation, develop plans for new ministries, and conduct the business of St. Philip. As one of council’s roles is to be good stewards of our congregation’s resources, at each meeting we receive a report from our treasurer that includes receipts and expenses for the past month and for the year to date, and how these figures relate to amounts budgeted in our current year spending plan.
St Philippians may recall that last year, the congregation approved a 2021 spending plan that projected a larger deficit than is typical for St. Philip, based on how the pandemic had affected the church’s revenue during 2020. We recognized that while budgeting an increased shortfall is not ideal, St Philip was blessed with both a staff compensation reserve and significant investment funds that provide us a financial cushion.
Our current treasurer’s report shows that we are indeed continuing to run behind in the revenue that is necessary to support the ministries of St. Philip. While the year to date financial update is always included in the weekly announcements, council recognized that not everyone reads the announcements closely, and felt it was important at this time to have clear and open communication with the congregation about St. Philip’s finances.
Recognizing that St. Philip is blessed with reserve resources, it’s not a time for alarm or panic; however, running a significant deficit is certainly not a trend we want to continue indefinitely, as it’s not sustainable for continuing our ministries in the long term.
Council recognizes that some people are still suffering underemployment because of the pandemic, and that some have grown distant from the church during the pandemic despite efforts to remain connected. St. Philip is a congregation alive in ministry to Love, Feed, and Serve our neighbors, and the caring ministries of this church are more vital, more important than ever. It takes the whole body of Christ, working together, to accomplish the work of God’s hands in our community and our world. We also recognize that our mission is guided and amplified by the wonderful staff that our regular offerings to fixed core ministry (i.e., “general funds”) support, and that regular expenses to keep the church operational must be met in order for important ministries of the congregation to continue to thrive.
At this time, council is asking that each of us prayerfully consider our giving. ALL givers are important whether you give regularly or intermittently, in large amounts or small, and we welcome each gift with gratitude. We invite those who have been distant to reconnect to the St. Philip community, and invite those in the position to reconnect to their giving to St. Philip to consider doing so. Here are some ways to give:
Mail a Check
You can share your offering gift by placing a check in the offering plates located in the aisles in the sanctuary, or by sending it in the mail. Send your check to:
St. Philip Lutheran Church
8115 Williamson Rd.
Roanoke, VA 24019
Online Giving through the Website
St. Philip receives giving digitally – You can make a one-time gift through the site or you can create a recurring gift. Visit https://tinyurl.com/splcroanoke
Online Bill Pay through your Bank
Most online banks offer a free service called “Online Bill Pay.” You can arrange for your bank to send a check to St. Philip through the mail on a one-time or recurring basis. Setting up a recurring payment can be a helpful tool in the joy and discipline of consistent giving.
We have certainly been on a journey together as a congregation. It hasn’t always been easy, but we’re grateful for the presence of God and for one another in the midst of joys and challenges. We are grateful for the community of St. Philip and for each of its members that help make up the body of Christ. May each of us continue to be about God’s work, to more boldly proclaim the love of Christ and join in serving God’s mission for the world.
Shannon Radmacher, Church Council President
You may also download the letter here:
“God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work.” – 2 Corinthians 9:8
No matter what phase of life you are in, there will always be someone who has more – more money, more followers on social media, more time. For many people, the pursuit of more leaves them on a never-ending quest for something that is ultimately infinite and unattainable – ‘more’.
While this “grass is greener” mentality is so tempting for us all, comparison is such a thief of joy. Instead of focusing on those pursuits, God invites us to focus on the abundance of gifts that we do possess, instead of what we don’t have. Because, truly, we all possess an abundance of unique gifts. When we recognize the gifts God has given us, we discover that we have much to be thankful for and far more opportunities to make an impact in the world than we often realize.
Find a piece of paper and a pen and make a list of the gifts – skills, relationships, opportunities, resources, etc – that are a part of your life. Put the list somewhere that you will see it again tomorrow. Take a moment to give thanks to God for these gifts and look for one way that you could share one of those gifts with St. Philip to build up the body of Christ. Consider trying to add an additional gift each week throughout our time of focusing on Generosity Matters: It’s a Spiritual Thing.
If there are children or young people in your household, you may want to do this exercise with them, so that they too may recognize and give thanks for all the wonderful gifts in their lives!
Consider adding this prayer to your daily prayers:
God of abundance, thank you. Thank you for all that you generously give. In a world that always seems to need more, help me/us to appreciate enough. Bless me/us to deepen faith with you as I/we seek to mirror the generosity you have first shown. As I/we practice giving, use that generosity to be a way to love neighbors fully. AMEN.