Church of Our Saviour

21 Marathon Street | Arlington, Massachusetts | 781-648-5962

Reflections of Our Rector

What an amazing year it’s been. So many dreams are becoming a reality!

We’ve had seven Toddler Services, with an average attendance of 32 people, most of whom began coming to the church because of this service.

We’ve had a variety of adult learning opportunities. Last fall, 25 people participated in Meet, Eat, Learn by cooking a meal and/or coming to learn. Ginger led a number of local pilgrimages. We’ve had a variety of mini-retreats led by Patricia Fazzone, with more scheduled for this coming fall. We’re looking forward to a new class called “What’s In the Bible” in October, November, and December.

This year, we renovated our nursery and have just hired a nursery assistant. And sooner than I expected, we were able to offer Godly Play for our 3- to 8-year-olds, as well as a separate class for 9 to 14-year-olds. I don’t think we would have been able to move so quickly without the amazing vision and commitment of our parents, and the leadership of Kelly S., Margaret K., and our new Sunday School Coordinator/Teacher, Bernardine Ileto.

In addition, our physical buildings are healthier than ever. This winter, the vestry took advantage of subsidies that allowed us to better insulate the rectory at a low cost, thus reducing our carbon footprint. The stucco on our church was repaired, and our roof was fixed. Despite severe weather, we haven’t had any more leaks since work was completed. We have a newly painted church. A neighbor on Marathon Street recently told me, “I haven’t been in your church, but I can FEEL the new energy there!”

I feel a tremendous sense of gratitude as I see all that is happening at COS. I am grateful to God for pouring inspiration, support and energy upon this community. I am grateful to all of you who share your gifts so faithfully. I am grateful, most of all, for the ways Christ has blessed my life with people and experiences I would never if it weren’t for being part of a church. In the Gospel of John, Jesus promises that he has come “that we may have life, and have it abundantly.”

How do we give thanks for the abundant life Christ has given us? I keep remembering words from the 1stI keep remembering words from the 1st Epistle to Timothy: “[We] are to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for [our]selves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that [we] may take hold of the life that really is life.” (1 Tim. 6:18-19).

At this time of year, our church focuses on stewardship. Stewardship means taking care of all that has been entrusted to us, both as individuals and as the church. As a community, we start planning our budget for 2014. Budgeting may sound like a very business like endeavor. But it’s truly spirituality-in-action. Budgeting involves reflecting on what God has given us, what we discern God is calling us to do, and using our resources wisely to be faithful to God’s call.

As part of our stewardship process, we invite you to consider making a pledge. From a practical standpoint, making a pledge means filling out a card that says how much you expect to give to Church of Our Saviour in 2014. This practice is different from that of
some churches, where people put money in the plate each week. Because the collection can vary so much from week to week, it is hard for those churches to know whether they can expand the budget of certain ministries, or whether they need to make hard choices. By pledging, you help our parish leaders know the size of the budget we have to work with, so that we can make informed decisions.

Making a pledge is also a profound spiritual practice. We are told that we can trust God, but how do we learn to do so? I remember years when I worried whether I could afford to increase my pledge. Every year so far, things have always worked out. When we
take a risk with generosity, and see that God continues to support us, our trust in God increases. I have found that pledging has helped me let go of my fears and anxieties about money. As we surrender a portion of our income for God’s work in the world, we
find that God also provides for us.

This fall, I invite you to try this experiment of trusting God more with your financial life. Ask God to help you discern how to share your resources with God for God’s work in the world. Ask God to help you figure out what a wise and generous gift would be. And
then ask God to help you grow in trust.

And in the words of the 1st Epistle to Timothy, may we “do good… be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up for [our]selves the treasure of a good foundation for the future, so that [we] may take hold of the life that really is life.”

Yours in Christ,
Malia

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