This year’s stewardship theme is Growing in Grace & Gratitude. When I think of what that means to me today, a number of things come to mind, some of them a bit different than several years ago when I was asked to write a similar article for the stewardship campaign.
Each year as fall arrives and Thanksgiving approaches, I find myself reflecting on what is important to me and the many things for which I am thankful. The list is long and I consider myself to be blessed in many ways. I am thankful for my family, friends, my health, food on the table, a roof over my head and other things too numerous to mention.
One thing in my life that has been a constant is Derry Church. I’ve grown up at Derry, spending the majority of my life attending here with my parents and then my husband and three children. The support and caring of my church family is something that has kept me here for so long.
Growing up at Derry, I’ve seen and experienced many changes and growth in the church — the physical building, staff, programs and increased church membership. We continue to grow and expand in new and exciting ways. Many churches are not so fortunate.
The past 20 months since COVID hit has truly been a test for all of us. Suddenly being unable to come together to worship and participate in the many church activities came as a shock. Things have been tough and we have all felt a void in one way or another. Not being able to greet one another on Sunday mornings, to chat at post-worship fellowship, to participate in church school, youth activities, Terrific Tuesday meals, just to name a few. However, through God’s continued grace and the combined efforts of so many, we were able to persevere and try to carry on as close to normal as possible. Finding creative ways to worship and continue to do God’s work, caring for our church family and continuing our ministry and mission work despite our limitations.
As I look back on the past year, I am sure I am not alone in the gratitude I feel for how our church family has come together, caring and supporting one another. Gratitude to those that enabled us to live stream worship, church school, and committee meetings. Finding creative ways to worship and continue to do God’s work. Our continued support of various mission opportunities, caring for one another through personal calls from staff “just to “see how we are doing,” notes, loaves of bread and gifts from Shepherd Group leaders and Deacons. Meal trains for those in need. So many working to maintain a sense of normalcy.
Now as we see many in-person church activities resuming, I find myself feeling extremely grateful for Derry and God’s continued presence in my life, my faith and for those that have worked tirelessly in the past year to provide a continued form of God’s presence and grace — whatever form it might have taken.
In this season of Thanksgiving and stewardship, let us reflect on what is important to us and what Derry Church means to you and your family. As you are aware it takes significant financial support to run and operate a church, especially one of our size with the many wonderful programs, staff and mission work that Derry provides. Please take time to prayerfully consider what you can give to Derry for the coming year.