I’m Sarah Theriault and I’m honored to serve on Council and as a member of the Generosity Committee. My family has been attending Messiah for about 9 years, often the 9:30 service – often from the "joyful noise" room for the last 3 years.
This week's theme as we kick off the season of giving at Messiah is Commitment to Faith Formation. Everyone has a story for how their faith has formed and what roads let you Messiah. I believe Messiah is a stop on the journey for all of us for a larger purpose. For me, Messiah is forming the faith of my family. We were fortunate to find Messiah a few years into our marriage – no kids and we were amazingly on time then.
Fast forward seven or eight years--two kids, life, careers, adult decisions--and Messiah is the guiding light for everything we are called by God to instill in our children and help provide for neighbors we may never know.
I share this with you because this year's generosity theme is Commitment to Community. We see examples every week of amazing members of this congregation, giving back and sharing Gods word beyond these walls in our community.….and then a beautiful thing happens on Sunday mornings as we are surrounded by everyone here and formed as a community in worship.
All of this is a gift from God but it also takes commitment and financial support on our part. Starting now and through the month of October our congregation will be focusing on commitment. Each week in worship, during this time, we will participate in an act of commitment. Today in worship we will renew our baptismal vows and commit to support one another in these promises.
Next week we have invited community leaders to worship with us and we will make a commitment to pray for them. And on Sunday, October 21 Messiah will participate in the CROP hunger walk to help fight hunger in our community. Save the date now and sign up in the Gathering Place. Finally on October 28, we will make our financial commitments for 2019.
On the first day I worshiped in this space I knew I had found a community I needed. Not only that day, but all the days to come. I find great comfort knowing that Messiah will be here for us forming our faith at all stages of our lives. From anxiously watching our son hang from the communion rail during the children’s sermon, someday sending our kids off to Pathway and amazing experiences at ELCA Youth Gatherings, to maybe in my retirement years being a part of a weekly coffee group with some of you in this room today…caring for each other and carrying out God's work throughout differ chapters of our lives.
It’s easy to take for granted in our busy lives, but it’s not realistic to think all of this can be available without financial support from all of us--keeping the lights on, seats warm in a safe and engaging community for us all to form our faith.
So over the next few weeks I ask all of you to join me and my family in thoughtfully considering your commitment and gifts for the coming year. Maybe you are the decision maker or possibly it’s a great conversation for your entire family. If you have never had a pledge in place or signed up for Simply Giving, consider it. It’s not as scary as it sounds! It is actually rewarding to know even when I’m not here my gifts continue to ensure the doors are open and ready for the next person walking through them.
We will never be able to repay all Messiah will give to our family, but by making a thoughtful financial commitment that is comfortable for our family, we are letting Messiah and our faith community know you can count on us. We are here today because of decades of generosity before us and God's love of each of us in this room. Thank you for all for your dedication to Messiah and participation to come in the weeks ahead.