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In fact, I strayed from my prepared message quite a bit.† But, since I canít remember exactly what I said last Sunday morning, hereís the prepared-in-advance message.††
Stewardship message 12/04/2016
Thank you to Cindy and Gary for your inspired Stewardship talks over the past weeks.†††
Weíre blessed at St. Patrickís, arenít we, as we all have different gifts and are always encouraged to grow them.
We already know that we need to pledge financial support in order to maintain this beautiful building and to engage a full-time rector.† So Iím here to offer some of my own thoughts around †loving St. Patís and wanting to see it prosperÖ
You and fellow members of the One Body throughout the world have been saving lives through your love and generosity.††† Hereís an example:†††††††
You may or may not know it, but in supporting St. Patís, youíve made available warm rooms and tons of coffee for messy, out-of-control individuals to share their experiences, strength, and hope for healing and wholeness through AA, OA and Al-Anon. (actually donít we all seek hope and wholeness in each of our lives?)
I am one of those messy individuals.
I came to faith in God through a 12-Step Anonymous program.
Dealing for years with my parentsí and my own addictive behaviors, I credit being alive to my Higher Power leading me into a 12 Step Anonymous recovery program that met in the basement of a church in SF-much like at St. Patís.
In time it was because of 12 Step Recovery with God as my Higher Power, that I became involved in a vital Christian church.†
Another reason I love St. Patís is that here we are encouraged to question beliefs, question God, and others. †So when we first moved to Incline Village, I visited often-- †and always came away with something that I needed.†† For instance, I cannot remember the sermon, but I remember in the course of a sermon, Dave Mussati announced that God danced on the day I was born.† I was going through a rough patch and that knowledge has given me joy me ever since.
Iíve never felt a person had to swallow doctrines whole in order to belong at St. Patís.† You show up twice and youíre considered a member.† Where we are on our spiritual path is simply where we are, and thatís fine here. Thereís an obvious seekersí spirit here, a spirit of inquiry.† Years ago Jim Bebe assured me that my intelligence would not be insulted here.† He was right.† And I found so much more.† In particular, the 4-year program of ďEducation for MinistryĒ was one of the most profoundly important and challenging classes Iíve ever been part of.† Thanks to Jim Kelly and Connie Skidmore as mentors, that class expanded my knowledge and opened up my beliefs like never before.
Corporately and as individuals weíre encouraged to learn what it means for each of us to follow Jesus, to reach out, to learn and grow, and to keep coming back in our beautiful worship, our Sunday Forum discussions, Outreach, small groups, our support of community-based aid programs, and moreÖ† All Holy Spirit driven.††† Eric Heidigger once commented to me that heíd learned not to get in the way of the Holy Spirit at work!
We come here to St. Patís together to seek Light and healing, and we find Love; we reach out in that Light and Love to others who are broken, and we physically and spiritually bid them enter.† Thank you St. Patís for opening our doors for healing opportunities such as 12 Step meetings and grief groups.
Worship reminds me whose I am; stewardship loosens my grip on the steering wheel, gets me out of the driverís seat, and allows me to look around for opportunities to serve others as Jesus models. †In 12 Step parlance, ďyou canít keep it unless you give it away.Ē
In closing, Iíd like to present a prayer from the Big Book of AA.
God, I offer myself to Thee ó to build with me and to do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of life. May I do Thy will always!