PO Box 399
Port Royal, VA 22535
October 8, 2023
Dear Supporters of St Peters,
This is the time of year when the Vestry and I ask you to make a financial commitment to St Peter’s for the coming year. Your financial commitment in support of St Peter’s allows the Vestry to commit to a budget that helps all of us to faithfully carry out God’s work in the world. Whether your estimated pledge is thousands of dollars, a hundred dollars, fifty dollars or less, every gift will help. I hope you’ll fill out the commitment card that’s attached to this letter and return it so that the Vestry can put together our budget for 2024. My hope is to see our list of committed givers for 2024 grow to include everyone in this church. After all, we worship together, we work together, we sing together, we pray together, we share the bread and wine together, and so let’s also give together. Children are welcome to fill out the commitment card as well.
Our stewardship theme this year is “Rooted in Love.” Like a tree, with roots that reach far down and spread out wide, we are strong and rooted in our commitment to follow Jesus. The beauty of following Jesus together is that we can do more of his work out in the world together than we can do alone. Jesus called the disciples together for a reason—to teach them about doing God’s work in this world and then to help him as he fed, healed, taught, prayed, cast out demons, and made God and God’s kingdom visible. Rooted in our love for God, and for one another, we are the ones now called to this work. We are the ones who have the privilege of making God’s kingdom visible. Our money helps to get this work done.
A familiar call to worship begins with the phrase, “Oh worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.” Our worship space, designed almost two hundred years ago to be beautiful, continues to be a place of beauty for us to gather. Your money helps to keep our buildings open and in good repair. Your money also helps to keep our property attractive and inviting.
Your money helps to cover my part-time salary. My job is to pray with you and for you, to be present with you in your joys and in your sorrows, to help design meaningful worship that will inspire and uphold you, and to empower you and support you as you go about doing God’s work in the church and in the world. And your money also helps to pay Brad’s salary. We are blessed to have an organist who can play our historic organ, which offers many technical challenges and some monetary demands due to its age and design.
Your money, both money that you estimate giving ahead of time, and money that you donate for special projects, means that we can personally reach people as far away as Jamaica and as close as our neighbors in Port Royal and surrounding areas. We will need to put more money in our budget next year for our Village Harvest food distribution since the cost of the food that we get from the Healthy Harvest Food Bank has gone up this year. I am deeply grateful for your donations to the Discretionary Fund, for we have been able to help many people through the years with various expenses such as rent and utility payments. We carry out Christmas and Thanksgiving projects for local families in conjunction with the Caroline County Department of Social Services, and through CERVE, a Caroline County ecumenical group that works with the Sheriff’s Department and with Social Services to meet emergency needs. This coming year, in cooperation with Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension, we will be offering a meeting space for Young Lives, a Young Life program specifically for teenage mothers. Our concert series brings people from around the area to our church to enjoy all sorts of music together. The Sacred Ground scholarship helps those who need financial assistance to attend trade school at Germanna Community College.
The money that you give for the work of the church helps to pay for the cost of the internet, a fairly new part of our budget. Our services are available on YouTube. We reach people who cannot otherwise get to church, and our online services allow those in our congregation who are not feeling well or who are unable to get to church in person a way to participate in worship. People who have moved away can continue to worship with us as well. We also use the internet to offer continuing education as well as to provide additional worship opportunities.
Your money also helps to support the Diocese of Virginia, of which we are a part. The Diocese supports us in a variety of ways. This year we will have a Mutual Ministry Review, led by The Rev Deacon Salli Hartman, who received her training from the Diocese in order to lead us through this process. We also have access to grant money from the Diocese. In 2023, the Diocese provided $5000 toward our expenses of painting and making some repairs to the parish house, a job that needs to be done every seven to eight years to keep the building in good repair. The Diocese offers the medical insurance program through the Church Pension Fund through which I receive my medical insurance, which is part of my salary. The Diocesan Trustees of the Funds helps us to invest the money in our endowment fund, which is money that we set aside for future needs. The Diocese provides guidance and support for our way of worship as Episcopalians. And our Diocese connects us to the Anglican Communion, keeping us knit into the body of Christians that extends around the world.
During October, we will have a giving tree with its roots spread deep and wide, rooted in love, at the front of the church. When you fill out an estimate of giving, take a leaf and add it to the tree. A tree needs its leaves to live—and so let’s fill our tree with leaves, representing each of our financial commitments to the work that we plan to do together in the coming year with one another out of our love for God and for our neighbors.
The Rev. Catherine D. Hicks
You may return the enclosed card, either by placing it in the offering plate, or by mailing it in the enclosed envelope. Please plan to return your card by Sunday, November 19th. Please contact Elizabeth Heimbach, (202) 320-3109, if you have any questions. You can also pledge online at this link. https://news.churchsp.org/eog2024/ The online pledge card will go directly to the Treasurer, Jim Heimbach.