We invite you to review the letters and information below as you make your pledging decision in support of the 2020 Operating Budget.
You may click here to fill in your pledge card online, or use the link at the bottom of this page.
An Invitation to the Stewardship Campaign
On Celebration Sunday, I used these words from Lisa Kimball - “We, the church, are called to interpret the Signs of Life to those trapped in the signs of our times” - as the center of my sermon. I had run across them this past July, almost by accident. But some wise person once said that to people of faith, there are no accidents or coincidences, there is just where the Spirit leads us. I felt that the Spirit led me to these words, which seem to me a cogent summary of the church’s mission in the world today - and of our mission here at Trinity.
We are all keenly aware of the signs of our times. They are all around us, every day: signs of stress, of worry, of crisis, of injustice, of devaluing or belittling others, even of hatred. They are signs of fear and of inequality and stress. Very often, they show up in us as signs of fatigue, frustration, loneliness, and hopelessness.
As followers of Jesus, we are not immune to the signs of our times. But the Christian tradition also counsels us to be in the world without being of the world. And Lisa’s words build upon this tradition. To be in the world but not of the world in our time and in our place is to witness to God’s promise that life is stronger than death, that “the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness [does] not overcome it” (John 1:5). In other words, to be hopeful signs of God’s life to people trapped in the hopeless signs of our times. To be such a sign has, I think, a quality of proclamation: that we at Trinity are not just about interpreting signs of God’s life to each other and to the larger community, but we are about proclaiming them with hearts, heads, and voices lifted up.
In this stewardship season, as we ask for your pledge of financial support for our mission in 2020, I invite you to consider how Trinity has been a sign of life for you, and how this community has enabled you to be a sign of God’s loving and gracious life to those around you. And, I invite you to see your pledge of support as an act of thanksgiving for all of that.
If you didn’t receive a copy of out stewardship booklet in the mail, I urge you to pick up a copy at the back of the church or chapel. The booklet seeks to tell a little bit of the story about how God shows up in the signs of life within our community. It is not our whole story, but it is a story of wholeness in a world that feels keenly its own brokenness. This story would exist without your support and your participation. Thank you for helping us continue to be it and to tell it and to live it.
Peace and blessings,
The Rev. Matthew R. Dutton-Gillett, Rector
From Our Stewardship Chair
First, thank you again for your generosity in response to last year’s stewardship campaign. Your gifts enabled Trinity to “build up the body of Christ” at Trinity Menlo Park. Our life together continues, and so begins another stewardship year.
Reflecting on our theme - “Signs of Life” - this year’s stewardship appeal invites us to consider the Signs of Life that God’s grace brings to us individually and collectively. What are the “Signs of Life” that you treasure?
Among those “Signs of Life” are Trinity’s wonderful worship services, marvelous music programs, and extraordinary opportunities for spiritual formation at all ages. Vibrant Children and Family and Youth Ministries ever more meaningfully engage younger – and older – members of our community. Trinity’s Outreach initiatives have expanded to provide important services to the least, the lost, and the lonely in our broader community. The Jail Ministry, for example, brings monthly Evening Prayer services to women at the Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas. Trinity members within that ministry speak of receiving more than they give – synergistic Signs of Life, which speak to the vitality and relevancy of Trinity as a beacon of hope, a force for good, and a manifestation of God’s abundant grace within Trinity’s community and beyond.
Our life at Trinity is a precious gift that we give to ourselves, to each other, and to the community beyond our campus. As the costs of our shared life at Trinity increase, so must our ability to meet them. It is imperative that pledged income keep pace with rising expenses that are out of our control. Over seventy-five percent of Trinity’s operating income comes from pledges. Without the deep generosity of its community, Trinity simply could not be, in Reverend Matthew’s words, “the Sign of God’s loving and gracious life” to us and to those around us.
Please feel free to contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions or concerns. We look forward to thanking you for your pledge.
Anita Seipp, on behalf of the Stewardship Commission
Some Data to Consider
Making a decision about what your financial pledge should be toward our 2020 Budget is not only about numbers – it is about how you value the Trinity community, and the ways in which it is a Sign of Life for you, as well as for others. Certainly, however, an understanding of the church’s financial needs form a part of that decision. If you pledged in 2019, the pledge card you received in the mail will let you know what a 3% increase in that pledge would be as you consider your 2020 pledge. However, as we are in the process of finalizing our 2020 budget, it is clear that our costs will rise about 4% next year, driven primarily by the need to provide our staff with a Cost of Living Increase and the rising cost of benefits. We hope that this information, coupled with a more detailed look at our 2019 budget, will help inform your pledging decision in 2020.