In this time after we celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, I am guessing that many of you may still be enjoying time with extended family and friends. Perhaps you are traveling today, returning home from a family gathering. Some of you are still cleaning up from a Thanksgiving meal you hosted in your own home. If this is the case, then I would assume that your refrigerator is filled with leftovers, and probably will be over the next several days. In the same way, my prayer for all of us is that our hearts will be filled with gratitude over the next several days and weeks.
I know that I have many things for which to be grateful, and I believe each of us do, especially in the context of our congregation.
We can be grateful for the ways that all the members of this community of faith share their gifts and talents in order to make possible the mission and ministries God is calling us to. I was recently reminded of this on Stewardship Sunday. We had a wonderful response, collecting over 70 pledge cards that day! Last year, we had 138 total pledges, and our goal is to rise above that number this year. Therefore, if you have already turned in your pledge card, Thank You! But if you have yet to do so, I encourage you to turn your card in just as soon as you can. We are so very grateful for all who support this beloved church at any level.
We can also be grateful for the overwhelming response and participation in our current discernment process. Many of you chose to attend the Discovery Meeting we had a few months ago and the Impact Meetings we held in October. Your passion for the work of this congregation, and your belief that God can do big things here at Starmount was expressed clearly. I am grateful for your work in this process, and also the dedicated work of the Session and our Discernment Team. In November, they have been processing all the information collected and are working to identify goals in the next month.
Finally, we can be grateful that as the season of Thanksgiving fades, we will be ready to enter into a new season in the life of the church. This Sunday begins the season of Advent. Advent is a season of preparation as we await the birth of our Savior. I know I am grateful to celebrate this special time of year with all of you at Starmount. I encourage you all to join us this Sunday, and throughout the season of Advent for our many worship opportunities and special events.