A few years ago, I had an impulsive, and honestly quite uncharacteristic, desire to go to church. I hadn’t attended a service in 35 years and didn’t consider myself religious, or even that spiritual. But there was something missing in my life, and unable to articulate quite what the gap was, I went off in search of a congregation … and eventually, I made my way to Grace in late 2019. This Thanksgiving weekend, I am profoundly grateful for our community.
This year our stewardship theme is “courage,” so I’ve been reflecting on what that word means to me in the context of Grace. I’m not terribly shy, and I am generally confident (even brash), but over the last several years, I’ve become more grounded, more resilient, and more focused. And I think Grace has had a lot to do with it.
It has taken courage for me to explore my personal faith and the boundaries of my beliefs. I have discovered how to speak candidly and confidently with my secular circle of friends and family about my experience of church and describe the particular joy that I find amongst you here.
It has taken courage for me to have honest conversations with people with different perspectives on world events and social justice issues. I’ve found I have learned to be open and listen to alternative viewpoints, remain compassionate, and endeavor to find common ground.
Grace has always had the courage to evolve. Three years ago, at the beginning of the pandemic, Grace courageously embraced online worship. We truly exemplified our mission of “reimagining church.” As someone who travels frequently and attends virtually more often than in person, I find the notion of a hybrid church (that is, simultaneously having worshippers here in person and online) an exciting opportunity to evolve church and to bring Grace beyond the pews. I know we’ll continue to refine virtual Grace in new ways.
I lead an online coffee hour on Zoom once a month for our remote participants, and I look forward to finding ways to build community across time zones and physical space between our in-person and online congregants.
Grace Cathedral has something for each of us and meets us wherever we are on our journeys. I hope you will consider formalizing your commitment to Grace by pledging to stewardship. Your participation, whether you are here with us in person today or participating remotely, is essential. This year our goal is to raise $ 1.6 million and engage 520 households. Your gift ensures Grace Cathedral has the resources it needs to connect our community through prayer, compassion for our neighbors, arts, and social justice initiatives.