Good morning everyone. My name is Jeff Brainerd and as we embark on our Annual Pledge Campaign I wanted to share a little bit about what’s on my mind.
I know I don’t have to tell anybody here this, but this has been such an unprecedented, and challenging, year. And it’s no less true for all of us here at church. As great as our online services are… for me (and I suspect others of you as well) there’s just no substitute for all of us, sitting in the pews of our beautiful meetinghouse, experiencing the service, together.
Well I’m not here just to yearn for something we lost and haven’t yet regained. What’s on my mind is the amazing effort and work of so many people that make up this community. Folks who have consistently gone above and beyond, working on behalf of something bigger than themselves. Work for the good of the church, for our children and for others that need our help, I am humbled by those that have stepped up as heroes during this time
For example, you might not really know this, but RE is alive and well and there’s true, innovative programming happening right now. Programs such as Seaguull, COA, youth group and many more.
And speakingof innovating, our music leaders have found creative ways to bring the voices of our congregation together during this time when we are all physically distanced. This I know has been a huge effort.
And one of the most important and energetic pillars of our church life, social action, is still doing amazing work to make our world a better place. Initiatives, workshops and other activism around racial, immigrant and environmental justice (just to name a few) have been running in force.
In addition the demand for pastoral care, for both ministers and lay ministers alike, I am told has never been greater in recent memory.
There are a few other — sort of under-the-radar but also very important — initiatives in progess that you might not have heard about, including the Congregational Life Committee, as well as the future of the Wright Tavern.
And of course there are so many folks just working to keep the lights on: including our amazing and dedicated staff, the finance committee and the annual campaign team.
And it’s the work of all these folks — and please forgive me for all the important programs and projects I didn’t mention — but it’s the dedication and the effort and the many, many extra miles — that make our church, our community and our world a better place — especially in this, the most trying time for many of us, of our entire lives. This is what touches my heart. This is what we are supporting when we pledge in the Annual Campaign. Something bigger than ourselves; something that makes a difference in our community; something that makes the world a better place.
So please join me in honoring all of the heroes in our community who have stepped up this year in so manyways to further the mission and the vision of First Parish. We can honor them by pledging in the Annual Campaign. My family is going to increase our pledge this year, and I invite you to do the same, if you can. But regardless of the size of your pledge, it is important to pledge, if you can, at whatever level is right for you. We can’t do it without you.
So I want to thank you for your attention here today. And I look forward to seeing you all, gathered together, in the pews once again, some day soon.