Letter from the Rector
Giving from thanks
We must always give thanks to God for you, brothers and sisters, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing.
2 Thessalonians 1:3
Last month in this space I wrote about the shift we are undertaking as a community in the way that we offer ourselves to one another in care––in this context often called pastoral care. It includes the maturing of our Stephen Ministry program, the emergent Help Desk and our structure of teams of parishioners making themselves available for bringing meals and offering rides as well as the everyday, unsolicited acts of loving mercy that many give. And more recently, I was reminded of yet another facet of the care that we offer one another here at All Souls Parish, and the effects that this has on our common life.
Once again this year, parishioners of All Souls spoke movingly and from personal experience about the ways in which their lives have been changed within the life of this parish. David Brostrom preached about his experience of growing in his faith, especially this summer in South Dakota as part of our youth trip, Grace Telcs about the foundation of her experience as a Christian being found in service with others, and Lewis Maldonado about the care of this community in his recent cancer diagnosis, treatment and recovery. Each person, along with the clergy that preached with them, were exceptional, and in their own words, they gave clear witness to the 2nd Thessalonians passage that we are reflecting on as part of our pledge campaign this fall.
What I found to be remarkable was that to a person they were articulating a theme that I have been hearing often at All Souls, especially recently. In the past several weeks, I have been approached by people in this parish humbled by the outpouring of love that they have received: one in the recent death of a parent, another at the anniversary of the death of a child, another in the midst of a difficult and trying medical condition. To a person, they had not expected the communal response that followed, and, in turn, were now looking to give in ways that could further what they had received.
In hearing their stories and the stories that David, Grace and Lewis shared, I was returned to the fundamental truth of an abundant faith: it is from gratitude that we wish to give. This simple truth has guided Sarah and I as we give, both to this parish and beyond. It is one with which we celebrate every Thanksgiving, gathered with family and friends, indeed it is the very foundation of our shared meal at the table every Sunday as we gather to break the bread in the Eucharist, the great giving of thanks for what has already been given. As you approach our time together at the Parish Celebration on November 6th, our All Saints Sunday, All Souls Feast on November 7th and prayerfully consider what you are wish to give to this Parish’s work in this world, return to the places and times in your life in which you have been graced with gift. In this and all we undertake, may our common life give witness to this increasing love for one another.