For our Annual Giving Campaign, I was asked to reflect on why The Falls Church has been a grounding force in our life. Answering this question helps us reflect on why we are grateful for our church and God, and, in turn, how we want to respond to that gratitude with a gift back to the church in the form of a monetary pledge for 2020.
The Falls Church brings me and my family closer to God and closer to what really matters. The theme for this year’s Annual Giving campaign just makes sense: “Give Thanks for the Sure Foundation." It’s not just a theme. It’s truly a way of living and lens through which we see the world. Being a parishioner of this church helps me, more than anything else, keep my eye on the ball so to speak.
Despite being in a time of clergy transition, we, the people of The Falls Church, have built a place where we regularly seek God and meaningful relationships with each other. We are not perfect, but we try. And we learn together. To quote the phrase I have heard so often “our church is not a hotel for saints, but a hospital for sinners.” We teach love and forgiveness and hope. What a gift our church is to each of us, our families, and our community.
This is deeply personal for me. As my children grow, I know they see that life can be messy, people can hurt each other’s feelings (sometimes deeply), and the headlines of our news often bombard them with messages of a world that can be unjust and hateful. But our church shows them a different model.
Coming to our church shows my children that there is hope, that we strive to “love they neighbor as thyself,” to be deeply connected to each other, to radically welcome the stranger and to tend for those in need. Our church is also a group of people who have become a home for our family - to celebrate with when we are happy and to confide in when we need support. I am grateful that, in a world that is constantly moving too fast, we have a place where people truly care about our family. More importantly, I give thanks for the Sure Foundation of God, who my children are coming to know as they age and for whom I am grateful is at the heart of all that I say, do and give.
As they grow, I want my children to know that society will tell them that happiness lies with many things that they can buy or hold in their hands, but this place, our church, will tell them the exact opposite; we can spend our time, our money, and our efforts striving for various “things” but the only one that will truly fill us is God.
And in giving a pledge out of that thankfulness for God, we are free to feel an abundance that cannot be found with the latest gadget, care, toy, or clothes. Instead we will feel joy in rejoicing for the gifts we have been given.
I hope you join me in thinking about and talking with others about why our church is a grounding force in your life and also join my family in a making a pledge.