When it comes to giving, everyone finds his or her own source of inspiration. For Walter Jones, chair of the Stewardship Committee at St. Gregory’s, one of those sources are the brightly lit windows he sees on the St. Gregory’s campus every day.
At St. Gregory’s, Walter explains, the lights are practically always on because of the many ministries happening every day, beginning early in the morning and ending late at night. When he drives by or stops in, whether it’s during the week or on a Sunday, St. Gregory’s is almost never dark.
“I look at St. Gregory’s and I see hundreds of people coming and going every week: self-help groups, Bible studies, choir practice, meetings of all kinds. There is so much going on every day of the week,” Walter says. “That is the incredible blessing of St. Gregory’s to South Florida. We are this beacon of hope. We’re shouting the resurrection from the rooftops. We’re a hub where so much activity is going on, and we’re touching so many lives.”
That’s one reason Walter feels inspired to give: to help the church continue being a beacon of hope and hub of activity. The work happening on the church campus every day is an expression of St. Gregory’s commitment to ministries of service, love, and care.
“One of the things I find most impressive about St. Gregory’s—and it kept me coming back when I first moved here—is the commitment to outreach and ministry,” Walter remembers. “It’s the outward focus. Churches that get into trouble seem to be inwardly focused and not focused on the question of what can I do to help the world?”
Helping the world, however, often requires worldly tools, and one of those tools is money. “The ministries can’t operate without a lot of work by many people and without expense,” Walter says. Keeping the lights on, running the air conditioner to keep the Florida heat at bay, and completing necessarily building repairs are just a few expenses involved with doing ministry work. “There’s a lot of maintenance to keep this place usable. Doing God’s work is not necessarily cheap.”
To cover these and other expenses and grow the church’s ministry efforts to serve even more people, St. Gregory’s is holding its annual Stewardship Campaign starting Sunday, January 10, when commitment cards will be available, and culminating Sunday, February 14, with a presentation of commitment cards at the altar.
Last year St. Gregory’s moved away from doing the Stewardship Campaign in the fall as is typical for many Episcopal churches. The church moved the campaign to winter due to the seasonal nature of Boca Raton and the parish. “We did that so our seasonal members could be present and participate,” Walter notes. “We really do appreciate them, we depend on them, and we recognize them as full members of our parish. They are part of life at St. Gregory’s and who we are.”
This year’s theme is “God the Abundant Giver.” The theme has a two-fold meaning. First, it’s an acknowledgment of God’s abundant gifts to us, such as the gifts of family, friends, food, shelter, contentment, health, career-related success, and much more. Second, the theme is a call to give as God gives—out of abundance and love.
“We never want people to give because it feels like an obligation or out of guilt,” Walter says. “We want people to give of their time, energy, talent, and financial resources because of how richly God has blessed them. When you’re richly blessed, you give back.”
“I’m not concerned about the amount,” Walter continues. “I’m concerned that you feel like you’re part of the family. If you’re part of a family, you feel a desire to be supportive. Maybe that means serving on the Altar Guild, singing in the choir, getting involved with a ministry group, or giving a financial gift. If you’ve been touched by St. Gregory’s, if you love being part of our family, please make a commitment.”
Commitment cards will be mailed to all St. Gregory’s members this month. You can also make a pledge on our online giving page.