A Story of Generosity
By Pastor David
Dear St. Philippians:
My parents, and particularly my dad were shaped by the events of the great depression. That reality then had a tremendous impact on me and how I think about financial resources. I always could feel this ongoing disconnect. My parents were generous with me and my brothers as children, with the church (making an offering was presumed – though amounts were never, ever mentioned), with people in the neighborhood. But at the same time the strong influence of the Great Depression equally instilled a sense of scarcity. What if we don’t have enough? We can’t afford . . . I have joked that I didn’t want to respond to the call to be a pastor because I wanted to eat real Oreo cookies, not the Cost Cutter generic brand that we got only on occasions.
All of that is background to say I am still a work in progress and I still feel the tension of deeply desiring unbridled generosity with a nagging weight of living out a life of scarcity.
This past year, our family wanted to connect with our greater community and wanted to financially support a business that was providing tutoring services for students in our neighborhood. It was easy to make the decision to offer support – the harder one was how much? We didn’t want to redirect any of the offering we were making to St. Philip – so again how much? It turns out stretching a little bit on how much was more doable than we thought. Scarcity thinking was holding us (mostly me) back.
Here’s what I hope, for me and then maybe for us; that we can name scarcity thinking when it intrudes on our desires to practice generosity. And that we might stretch a little when we plan for sharing God’s abundance in the coming year. We plan to increase our giving to St. Philip this year while continuing to support people in our neighborhood. I look forward to hearing and sharing more stories of generosity as together we build a culture of thankfulness.
Stations of the Cross
Make your Lenten Journey a journey. This Stations of the Cross resource is intended to get people out of their homes to experience the story of Jesus’ passion and to consider the story of the neighboring community. This is for you to use in a way that makes sense for you. You can do it all by yourself. You can make it a family affair. You can create a caravan of folks. Most importantly use this resource to deepen the relationship with Jesus who suffers, dies, AND rises for your sake and for the sake of the world. You may find the locations, scripture, and prayers here.
Let us journey to the stable to celebrate the newborn Prince of Peace! As we approach Christmas day, the day we celebrate the birth of Jesus, we are on a journey. Culturally, this season is one of busyness, consumerism, and activity. For the faithful, Advent is a season of hope, waiting, anticipation, and wonder. But Advent can also be a season of activity! We’re actively pondering God’s gifts of love as we approach Christmas.
Use this resource to be active in the hopefulness, the anticipation, and the wonder as you explore the stories of how God’s love is made known in the coming of Jesus. To give opportunity for deeper reflection and new insights from this powerful story, you are invited to visit stations throughout the Roanoke valley listed below. You may complete the stations in a timeframe that makes sense for you and your family. It would be helpful for you to bring a Bible, or look the verses up on your phone, and perhaps something to take notes with as you go about the stations.
Each of the stations are listed with a coordinating text, short reflection and prayer. As you approach each station, read the scripture passage and see how this new place where you are reading it resonates or conflicts with the scenes of the text. You are then invited to move to the reflection and prayer. Take as long as you need at each station, give yourself time to delve into the story, the setting, and how God is speaking to you through them.
Greetings St. Philippians:
After new recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) encouraging both vaccinated, as well as unvaccinated persons, to resume wearing masks indoors in public places, St. Philip Church Council voted to reinstate the expectation of wearing masks indoors at St. Philip, beginning this Sunday, August 15. This decision was made in consultation with our regional health officials, advice from doctors, and in caring discernment of how God is calling us to love and serve the community.
We continue to pray for the health, safety, and care for the community; our congregational community, our neighborhood community, and our global community. As always, connect and worship in the way that is best for you! We are called together to Live Like That (Christ): loving, feeding, and serving.
In God’s care,
Pastor David and Pastor Laura