“THIS IS OUR TIME”
A Letter from Fr. Richard
Our stewardship campaign for 2024 occurs in a calendar year filled with renewed energy and commitment, not only here at Messiah, but in the wider Diocese of New York as well. We have a new Bishop, the Right Reverend Matthew Heyd, who was consecrated in our cathedral in May. In that service, two voices moved me deeply. The first was the preacher, The Very Reverend Kelly Brown Douglas, Dean of the Episcopal Divinity School in NYC as well as the Canon Theologian at the Washington National Cathedral. Dean Douglas spoke about the need for the church to recommit itself to the fundamental work of the Gospel in furthering social justice. She bid all of us to get back to our parishes and continue to be prophetic witnesses in Christ’s name.
Our newly consecrated Bishop spoke as well and said something that has continued to resonate with me. He too spoke of what each of us must do as a person of faith since “to serve is our joy.” But Bishop Heyd also declared, “This is our time. . . ” during his consecration. I immediately thought of our ministry together here at Messiah and felt that declaration would be a deeply important theme for this year’s stewardship campaign
As Dean Douglas and Bishop Heyd have reminded us, we are urgently called to be a people of action. I know you, the people of our congregation, will respond generously in your commitment of financial support and participation in our programs for the coming year. As we have said many times, without the ability to pay staff, maintain our buildings and fund ministries, we wouldn’t be the Messiah we all love.
Messiah is a place that takes action:
- Feeding our neighbors through the Jayne Brooks Memorial Food Pantry and our monthly shelter dinners.
- Caring for the most vulnerable among us through our Emergency Grant Fund and the Third Thursday Luncheon Program which supports local charities.
- Helping to lift up some of the newest members of our community through our ESL program and support of refugees.
- Gathering the wider community to advocate for social justice and celebrate diversity through initiatives like our first annual Pride event.
- Celebrating a music program that enriches our worship and is a resource for great music for everyone in Rhinebeck and beyond.
How powerful it has been to see our Sunday attendance increase and to have the church full to capacity several times this past year. From the Pride celebration to our organ rededication recital and the sold-out Bard Summerscape program, it has been an incredible year at Messiah. And what a joy it is to have our choir back with us after the summer hiatus!
Each year, more and more parishioners have responded to our stewardship campaign with pledges because they understand that supporting all these efforts requires that we plan our budget carefully. In fact, your generous pledges from last year have gotten us closer to a balanced budget than we have been in recent history. We hope this year will be even better.
Following the completion of this pledge campaign, we will broaden our reflection on stewardship as a year-round program that focuses on the other two important aspects of being good stewards: giving of our time and our talents. Being good stewards across these three dimensions is a cornerstone of a faith journey.
But for the moment I wish to thank the members of our Stewardship Committee, chaired by Patrick Guy and Michael Privitera for their hard work. Together we can ensure the continued vibrancy and health of our parish through your financial support in the coming year. We could not do what we do without you and as Bishop Heyd has reminded us, “This is our time.”
Yours in faith,