Good Day to you, Church!
Today is another eerily warm day and I am again writing to you from my back porch. They say that starting tomorrow the weather will finally be turning back to “November”– and then staying that way. Will you be sad to see the warm weather go? I have mixed feelings about it.
Here’s the news for the week:
Food Pantry Launch is This Sunday!
If you’ve got a few more extra non-perishable food items at home that you don’t mind sharing with people in need, we’re still collecting food to get the pantry off the ground again.
It’s that time of year again– time to be thinking about what God might be calling you to give to support the church monetarily for 2023. We’ve done better this year than we expected, but we’re still in the red. And with inflation continuing to rise, it’s going to be more expensive to run the church next year than it is currently.
In the next week or so you will be receiving a pledge card in the mail, asking you to let us know what you think you’ll be able to give for 2023. Accompanying this request will be a statement showing your balance-to-date for 2022. (Some folks have lost track of where they’re at currently, and want to make sure that they fulfill their pledge in full for 2022.)
Please be in prayer about what you are able to contribute. Current Cost of Living Adjustment rates (COLA rates) are set at 8.3% for 2023. If even a portion of us can increase our pledges by this much, it will help the church out considerably.
Men’s and Women’s Lunches at Jake’s This Week
If you’d like to attend the men’s luncheon this Wednesday or the women’s luncheon this Thursday (both at 11:30am), and you haven’t yet let Bob or Sharon Pickard know, please do so soon. They need to call in our reservation to say how many of us will be coming.
Thanksgiving Community Supper
If you’d like to help support our free Thanksgiving meal for local residents, there’s still time to sign up to help. Give Sharon Pickard a call and she’ll tell you what is needed.
In like manner, if you are in need of a free Thanksgiving meal, all you need to do is call and sign up! Call Trinity Episcopal Church at (315) 265-5754 and let the secretary there know how many meals you’ll need. (If she’s not there you can leave a message. Just include your name, the number of meals you’re requesting, and a call back number.) Then, just head to Trinity on Thanksgiving Day between 12-1pm for pick up.
Monica Sandreczki to Preach, Nov. 27th
The Sunday after Thanksgiving, our very own Monica will be taking to the pulpit once again.
This week I’ve been reminded of something very special about our church that I wanted to bring to your attention. Did you know that at the present time we have a healthy congregation– psychologically speaking?
It’s sad to say, but many churches in the world today are steeped in toxicity. Do you know what I am referring to when I speak of a toxic church culture? In a dysfunctional church setting, there will be one or two people in the congregation who use either outright aggression to sway the church to do certain things, or who use passive-aggressive tactics to push their agendas on the whole. Sometimes these people are in leadership positions, but they can also function from the wings. In either situation, aggressive and passive-aggressive behavior creates a culture in a church where people are bullied, manipulated, or coerced into things– rather than invited, encouraged, or requested. In a church like this, power is defined negatively, through dominating control.
But this is not currently the case in our church. Have you noticed that? In my experiences thus far, I encounter a culture present in our congregation that is built around mutuality, respect, and honor– both for each other’s individual dignity and for the group as a whole. In a church like this, power is defined positively, through mutuality and sharing. It takes a certain level of maturity and growth to become a church like this!
I know that we’ve come through many challenges in the last 8-10 years, but I hope you see and feel what I am experiencing right now: a body of Christ where people genuinely care for each other and manifest that care through mutual trust and respect.
If you haven’t ever paid attention to this before, and don’t know what I’m talking about, there’s an easy way to find out what sort of culture you’re enveloped in. You have to be on familiar terms with people inside the culture for this to work, but here’s what you do: When you walk into a room filled with your church people, or if you recall these people in your mind, what happens in your body? Do you tense up? Do you feel relaxed? Do you put your guard up, psychologically? Do you feel comfortable and at ease?
Do this little exercise a number of times over a period of a few months, and keep track of your findings.
You will know that you are in the presence of a dysfunctional community if you find yourself tensing up, feeling uneasy, or feeling as though you need to protect yourself on a regular basis.
Conversely, you will know that you are in the presence of a healthy community if you regularly walk into the room and you feel a lightness and a peacefulness in your body.
(This works in any setting. Not just for churches. You can try it in your family or workplace too– as long as you are on familiar terms with both the people and the culture of the group.)
I feel honored and blessed to be the pastor of a congregation where I feel welcomed, peaceful, and calm on a consistent basis!
Giving thanks for us,