Grace Cathedral

Grace Cathedral

Article | September 15, 2023

Congregation Update: Courage

Blog|The Rev. Joe C. Williams

Dear Friends, 

For several weeks now, we’ve listened to the story of Moses unfold. We’ve heard of his encounter with God at the burning bush, the first Passover, and this week, we will hear of the parting of the Red Sea and the saving of Israel, one of “God’s saving deeds in history” as The Book of Common Prayer introduces the story during the liturgy for the Vigil of Easter.  

The story of Moses is one of courage. The courage to put aside your fears, and trust in God. To face those who intend harm. The courage to lead.  

Courage takes many forms, which is one reason this virtue was chosen as this year’s theme for our stewardship campaign. Fall is a season each year in the life of our congregation when we promise our support together. This demonstration of courage supports the entire cathedral community; it enables us to create and sustain programming, unlocking the doors that separate us and inviting the spirit in.

At one time or another, we’ve each had to summon the courage to do or say something that frightened us, just like Moses. God told Moses to throw down his staff, the instrument he used to make a living, to survive. It’s not difficult to imagine that this frightened Moses a bit. He could’ve said, “I depend on this! I can’t do it. How am I going to survive?” but instead, we read, “he cast it on the ground.” He obeyed. His faith supported him in his fear. Faith gave him courage.  

For Stewardship 2023, we engaged 528 households during the course of our campaign. We met our increased fundraising goal. Because of you. Your gift may not part the Red Sea, but it will open doors of opportunity for people who seek the fellowship of the church. Giving will not strike water from a stone, but it will enable those in our community who need it the most to buy groceries or maybe nourish their soul by attending one of our formation opportunities. We may not conquer enemies by giving, but we may provide the resources and community needed to overcome obstacles standing in the way of becoming all we are here to be and do. When Moses threw down his staff, he didn’t know what to expect. When God allowed him to pick it back up, he used it to perform miracles we still recount today. When we trust God enough to throw our possessions down, in service to others, think of the miracles that will burst forth from our gift.  

As Dean Young said in his Ingathering sermon a few years ago, “Giving makes us human. Giving is how we experience ourselves as we were made to be, in the image of God.” I pray you will consider a gift this year if you’ve never pledged – or continue if you’re a long-time financial supporter. Coffee hour this week is sponsored by the stewardship committee. I encourage you to have a conversation with committee members (they will be easily identifiable by name tags!) after church on Sunday. Ask them questions – see how the cathedral community has shaped them and formed their spirit. Gifts made by generations of our cathedral family have ensured we are the beacon of hope on the hill. Won’t you help continue that legacy of courage?


The Rev. Joe C. Williams

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