Whenever pledge season comes around, I think of my father. He was a man of strong principles - honest, just and kind. A good role model for my brother and me. My parents grew up during the Great Depression. They came from working class families and money was hard to come by. My mother was second generation American and there were lots of extended family to help when needed. My father came from a more humble environment. He was raised in a Brooklyn tenement along with his 3 siblings. Being that he and his brother and sisters were first generation Americans, there was no extended family for them to rely on when things got tough. I bring up this background because this my parents had a depression mentality and it rubbed off on me.
After I was born, my parents saved enough money so we could move out of our Brooklyn apartment to live in our own home in the suburbs as a middle class family. My brother and I had all we needed, yet we were by no means entitled. No fancy vacations, Christmas and birthday presents within reason.
We were active members of our church. My father was elected to the church counsel which is the Lutheran equivalent our vestry. One evening at dinner he talked about the stewardship campaign that the counsel was ready to kick off. I asked, "What's stewardship?" and I got my first lesson on that topic. He said that every year the church has a stewardship drive so the counsel could develop church's operating budget for the coming year. He went on to say that funds were designated to pay church staff salaries, including the pastor's, costs to maintain our sanctuary and church buildings, and a fund designated to help those in need outside of our church community. Pledging was important because it provided the council a more accurate idea of how much money would be coming to meet our expenses and help others.
I listened but I don't think it really sunk in at that moment. I was just a 15 year old girl with other things on my mind like I probably was not going to pass geometry, will I go to college?, will I be asked to the prom? I just want to blend in with the rest of the herd. Well, I did fail geometry yet when I retook it in my junior year, I got 98 on the NYS Board of regents exam. In retrospect I think failing was one of the best things that happened to me because it gave the ability to persevere and the gift of empathy. Yes,I did go to college, but no I wasn't invited to the prom.
When I became a full fledged adult, I joined a church. I must have had Dad's explanation on stewardship tucked way in the back of my brain and I was faithful to pledge some time, and some money ever since.
Immanuel is important to me. Our church community was very supportive when I was having some health issues. I'm doing fine now. I look forward to worshiping God within these walls. I am grateful that I am able to donate some of my time and pledge my share to support our church and all the wonderful support it gives to our community outside these walls.
There's a theme song that goes through my mind during these tough times. It's a jungle out there disorder and confusion everywhere no one seems to care but I do and you do.
We are all looking forward to a better 2022. Remember that "Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus."