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As we continue into the season of Advent, we are reminded of our Christian calling to love one another and give to those less fortunate. I think John 15: verse 12 says it best with "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you". This is my favorite time of year since at about mid-November, friends and colleagues wish each other Happy Thanksgiving in a genuine way of hoping their families are well and have all that they need. We see many examples of the public at large organizing to help feed the hungry through the lean winter months. Then we immediately move into Christmas season where the good tidings of Thanksgiving get a supercharged boost in the love and generosity department. How many Christmas movies have been made that were based around the theme of family gatherings (warts and all), selfless giving and providing for the less fortunate. I am proud to say that our St. Andrew's family lives this all year round, but it is amplified this time of year as we collect gifts for children and extra food for shelters. It is this giving nature of St. Andrew's that inspires me every day.

What an exciting time for our church! Last month we held our financial review Family Meeting and got a wonderful summary of the ministries we all participate in throughout the year. If you weren’t able to make it and were curious what was said, you can see a link to the video here. It was a clear way to see what we have been doing for fellowship, outreach, children’s programs and worship and how that is tied to our annual budget. Although we are finally feeling the brunt of our financial situation post-pandemic, Reverend Ben provided us with a clear path to bringing us back to a sustainable way for our church to thrive and for us to grow into the church we want to be. I urge you to watch the presentation, and in particular, the heartfelt testimony Andy Zuch gave after Ben’s presentation. For those that have not seen it, he gave an inspirational message on how to support the causes you love and cherish, and stepped up to the plate with a generous expression of his passion for this church. We have a deep dugout and I know several others have stepped up to the plate as well – the question is, who’s ready to grab a bat next?

As we proceed into this lively pledge season, we have put out a display in the narthex that shows our running total of pledges. We had a number of pledges submitted prior to our Joyful Giving Day, and that red bar keeps going up! Thank you again for your generosity this year as we head into the Christmas season and thoughts of next year’s programs and activities are being planned. I urge you to take a brief look at your 2022 pledge as compared to your giving and try to get caught up before the end of the year so we can balance our books and plan accordingly.

On behalf of the Stewardship Committee, I wanted to wish you and your families a very merry Christmas full of joy, love and peace.

God Bless,

Jeff Herrera

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