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Ready for the Future!

Eden’s Stewardship Team met in late March over dinner to brainstorm a theme for this year’s Pledge Campaign.

After reviewing last year’s theme – Celebrate the Vision — and reflecting on the hard work and challenges associated with our two-year Strategic Planning process, which culminated in early Feb with the Church calling the Rev. Marvin Lance Wiser to serve as our designated-term associate minister for youth, young adults, and families with young children, the Stewards decided that Eden Church was, indeed, ready for the future.

It is a bold statement for a Church that will hold its 153rd Annual Meeting this June!  To the Stewards, however, there was no better expression to describe how the Church is now poised – with bilingual staff and a well-managed campus — to achieve the key values outlined in the approved Strategic Plan:  to be a multi-cultural, spiritual, hospitable, and progressive sanctuary for our members and for our community.

While the Stewards gratefully acknowledge the generous planned gift of Alden E. Oliver, they were quick to point out that Eden Church has survived the ups and downs of the local economy, changing demographics of our community, and the religious trends of our time, not just because of large financial gifts but because of the enduring support of hundreds of smaller gifts and the countless hours of volunteer time and talent that our members offer to support Eden’s many ministries.

What the Stewards can’t tell you, however, is why so many members give so generously to support Eden Church.  As they were quick to point out for themselves:  giving is personal!  As we often hear during the Mission Moments scheduled each Sunday during the annual Pledge Campaign each May, members sometimes give because they specifically support Eden Church’s mission and ministries, but they also give because they feel a personal call or duty to give, because they are grateful to God for their lives, because they were taught as children to be generous as possible to their church, because they see a need they want to help address, or sometimes, simply because they can.

When I was called to serve as Eden’s Associate Minister, I decided that I would tithe (give 10 percent) of my take-home pay to Eden Church in addition to what my family had already pledged since joining the Church in 2007.   While I’m a whole-hearted supporter of Eden’s multi-cultural mission and ministries, my decision to tithe was influenced more by my personal relationship with God than by any plan, program, or purpose statement of the Church.  As the Stewards often recommend during the Pledge Campaign, I prayed about what was mine to give and decided I could give 10 percent joyfully as an expression of my gratitude to, reliance on, and hope in God.

With the Stewards, I heartily recommend that you both think and pray about God and about Eden Church when you prepare your pledge form this year.  The 2018-19 Stewardship Campaign – Ready for the Future –begins Sunday, May 6.  To show our “red-iness” for the future, the Stewards invite you to make a free-will offering during Coffee Hour for Red Velvet Cupcakes on May 6, Strawberry Shortcakes on May 13, and Cherry Pies on May 20.  Pledge forms will be available online and in the Church Office beginning early May.  Mission Moments are scheduled for May 6, 13, and 20.  To learn more about our annual budget, plan to attend our Budget Information Session on Sunday, May 6 after worship and/or to speak to our Associate Treasurer about your pledge, either attend our Pledge Information Session on Sunday, May 13 after worship or contact Jan Bass directly.  We will dedicate our Pledges and celebrate our readiness for the future on Sunday, May 20.

-Pastor Pepper

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