Thursday, December 11, 2008

Email from a Parishioner

The message in bold below came from a member of Good Shepherd, Sioux Falls, in response to my announcement that we had just paid off the church's line of credit and are back to "debt free."

A couple of things strike me:
  • + We all need encouragement. Consider sending an encouraging word to people in your church, especially leaders. Let them know that their work matters to you.
  • - What's sad is that The Episcopal Church and Diocese of South Dakota consider the people and ministry of this parish expendable.


I'll never forget the look on the face of the banker on the day that XXXX & I worked with him on setting up the initial line of credit 3 years ago. He was a nice gentleman and was very polite. However, I think in the background he was thinking, "here we go, another neighborhood church bites the dust!".

I can't fault him for his rational viewpoint.

I contrast his face to yours. When you stood in front of the parish 3 years ago, you were confident that God blesses his sheep when they try to follow Jesus. You've repeated this similar belief many times.

And here we are....3 years later, DEBT FREE, about double the number of sheep and a very solid building (a roof to keep us dry, windows to keep out the cold, an air conditioner to keep us cool, elevators to transport our seniors and handicapped bathrooms.

3 years ago it did look like we'd be having church in rec room of a retirement community within a few months.

On top of these physical improvements, we are going to need a very big book to list all of the GREAT programs you have brought to us.

The Augie (Augustana College) professor who spoke on the GOOD NEWS of the Gospel...the good news that gives her HOPE as she lost her husband to tragedy.

The amazing Come Grow Celebrate lunch at Skelly's. The sea of Yellow T-shirts proclaiming support of one another! (this was a rally during our capital campaign)

The huge picnic in the backyard this fall. Blow up jumpie toys in the backyard of our church!!! Wow - to see kids playing.

A successful Sunday school.

Heavenly Comforters. Beautiful work!! (this is a quilting group that prays and gives what they make to shelters, Red Cross, baptismal candidates and others)

MAP - 250 volunteers and 32 families served in 9 Months!!!! (this is the Moving Assistance Program)

Salvation Army

Bible Studies

Lay ministers

Women's Group! Awesome work!

Fellowship of Christian Athletes

Moses - school building (supporting a project in South Sudan)

The sign group - youth group from Madison

XXXX and XXXX's website work!

The Christmas Tree lights!

XXXX & XXXX painted the old Sign!!!!

XXXX & XXXX painted the "Church to the left sign', yes we are here!

Parishioners drive from Orange City, Iowa (90 miles), south of Sioux City (100 miles), Alexandria SD (45 miles), Vermillion (55 miles), Garretson (25 miles), and fly in from New York State, to attend your Sunday services!!!

Kayak trips for youth

Horse Trips for Youth

Father's son won the State Championship!!!

Every Sunday the church looks like Easter!!! 100 souls every week getting fed the word.

Laughter every Sunday. Our Father Tim has a great sense of humor.

Laughter at coffee hour every Sunday.

A banner saying "Come Grow Celebrate" strapped to the church. Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!!

A welcoming sign on a very busy street encouraging commuters to talk to Jesus.

Parishioners who would do anything to support one another. 100 people who treat each other like uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents. Surrogate family relationships for all us urban folks who live far from family.

Beautiful music at church.

Please take time to celebrate your accomplishments. Thank you for being our shepherd.


Chip Johnson+, SF, CoJ said...

ATTABOYS all around: to you for your leadership; and to the congegation, for their vision and work to bring it all about!

This is what Church SHOULD be all about!

Keep up the good work.

Fr. Chip

Undergroundpewster said...

This might be a good time to borrow money, build something for which you will be paying through the nose for years, and get the church back in the red.
My reasoning? Red churches are probably less likely to be targets for litigation from 815.