Annual Giving 2022

A new creation

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2 Corinthians 5:17

November 2021

Dear Friends,

All through the pandemic Saint James was rebuilding and being made new.

We were rebuilding our clergy team with Mother Shayna Watson and then Father Glenn Miller. We built and installed our new organ and worship support areas and our video and online technology capabilities. We rebuilt the rectory. We are beginning to re-imagine our campus as the churchyard project phase takes shape. We are even beginning to think how our campus and the public library site could be integrated for the benefit of the parish and the city as we seek to place our growing light as a thriving parish and contemplative center on a larger lampstand.

Being made new sounds great, but as a boy whose family moved frequently, I was often the “new kid” at a new school. Being made new could be hard and lonely work as well as an exciting opportunity to change and grow. Being new can feel exciting and fresh or like the past has been taken away. But being made new in Christ is about transformation of what we are, not a denial of what we have been or how we got to a new place.

Being made new at Saint James, in this moment of our life together, is about not only having “survived” the pandemic, and having thrived, creating some “new things” along the way. And now, it is about reaching new corners of the community and the world with all that Christ, through us, has to offer. And this is a great blessing, for the world needs us now more than ever.

I want to thank you for sustaining the ministry of Saint James through one of the worst episodes of its 275-year history. Because of each one of you receiving this letter, what might have been a catastrophic year for us (and which, sadly, was for many other faith communities) has been instead a launching pad to a bold new vision for our life and ministry together. God has been faithful to us. YOU, the people of God, have been faithful to God in and through Saint James, which is becoming a new creation. It is in this spirit then that I ask you to make your annual pledge—a sign of our commitment to being the new creation in Christ that we are becoming because of the faith, hope and love that is on display here.

When we look at our parish budget, we are not looking simply at numbers on a page. We are looking at mission and ministry, carried out day in and day out. We are blessed with an incredible staff of clergy and professionals with remarkable talents and a commitment to serve, each of whom we rely on for each of our ministries. In our music ministry, our choir never stopped singing thanks to the pairing of both our directors of music, Bill Wright and Chris Keeney in remarkable collaboration. Our youth ministry is reconnected and growing and Children’s Chapel is relaunched. Our Compline ministry grew from 12 beautiful First Friday special events to a daily and life-changing experience for dozens of people 365 nights a year. The cumulative impact of online daily prayer, meditation, yoga and retreats has sustained many hundreds of people and provided spiritual growth and learning paths that are rare in any American church. The model of the Urban Well has proved itself able to be sustainable and able to scale up to meet the challenges and opportunities that this new frontier of spirituality demands of any faith community that seeks to thrive and grow.

And beyond our parish, our work of leadership and serving within the diocese and helping our bishop and other parishes maintain their vitality across the Central Pennsylvania region has been appreciated in new ways through the pandemic. We have shared our worship resources, our staff resources and our financial resources generously. We are thinking more deeply with our bishop and neighboring parishes through the diocesan Shaped By Faith initiative, that encourages greater collaboration and more accountable and efficient sharing of resources between parishes. We also helped lead conversation that resulted in a revision of Fair Share assessments from 16% to 12% for medium and large congregations.

The post-COVID recovery phase we are entering will bring many changes in hearts and homes as well as places of work and worship. In a year of political upheaval and division, our vestry has deepened its understanding of the urgency of justice, peace and inclusion in our parish as we both reflect on our past and look towards our future. As many newcomers are finding, we are a place where change and investment happens early so that growth and renewal can come from our differing experiences, shared reflections, and deepening wisdom. As Saint James receives more people into its buildings and grounds for the best and hardest moments of their lives, we are able to serve and sustain them with the encouragement of all the saints in every generation. We have a gift that is at once eternal and always being made new—the power of God at work within us that can do infinitely more than we can ask for or imagine.

In this post-pandemic world, Saint James will continue to build and be made new thanks to the leading of the Spirit and your Spirit-led commitments of time, talent and treasure in 2022.

May God bless and guide you as you consider what that commitment will be.

The Rev. David W. Peck

Two ways to make your 2022 annual pledge:

With a Realm account

Click here to pledge in Realm

Did you know you can make your gift to Saint James through an IRA Required Minimum Distribution or by donating appreciated stock or securities?

If you have questions about pledging, click here to email Nicolette Norris, Minister of Giving and Communications.

If you need to activate your Realm account, click here to email Karen King, Parish Secretary, to get started.