Spoken at 10/03/21 Choral Eucharist
I’m Christine Bensen – past chair of stewardship, a member of the Board of Trustees, and a big fan of Grace Cathedral. I stepped into this building for the first time in 1994. I was meant to meet a friend here. He overslept, but I was already here so I went to church.
That day changed my relationship with “organized” religion. Alan Jones inspired me, I cried on the steps, and congregation members invited me to coffee hour with the other recovering Romans. I was immediately a “member” of Grace. I was 25, and more of a C&E (Christmas and Easter) gal, but I immediately felt that Grace was my spiritual home. I moved away for a time, had a child, and moved back to San Francisco. It was not even a question that I would raise my son in the Episcopal faith, in this building, with this community. 10 years later he sings with our esteemed choir.
When I was asked to join the stewardship team three years ago, I was terrified! I thought, “You want me to ask people for money? ! How awkward. I am not qualified to do that!” Little did I know that stewardship would be one of the most rewarding committees on which I have ever served.
The fact is, Grace Cathedral is important – not only to me, but to so many others. When I called people to thank them for their pledges, they told me incredible stories – stories of love and pain and transformation – all tied to this space, this community, and our clergy. For some of them, this was their last refuge, their last hope, and we held them. Suddenly, the job I feared was a gift.
Why do I pledge?
I pledge because the existence of Grace Cathedral is essential.
I pledge because our clergy are spiritual leaders who are also kind, thought-provoking, and frankly, pretty cool people.
I pledge because the programs we provide to this community mean something.
I pledge because, at Grace, we stand up for people, issues, and for ourselves.
Your stewardship pledge provides the funds that we need to ensure that our clergy are employed and that our programs live on. Big and small alike, together we make it happen.
Your pledge makes Grace possible. We did it in 2020, and we can reach even greater heights in 2021. I invite you to join me and this entire congregation in committing to 100% Grace, Renewed in Faith.