Stewardship

 

Sabbaths, Part II
by Wendell Berry
used with permission

Across the distance he saw
his granddaughter arriving
at a meeting he was leaving.

They called to each other
in greeting and farewell.
“I love you, Granddaddy.”

“I love you too, honey,”
he called back, and it was
his father’s voice he heard

uttered as his own, as from
the distance behind him.
And so he remembered

again the ancient lineage
of his love, given to him
and again given, living

backward, time beyond
time, to the Love that called
to Itself the heaven and the earth.

Dear Friends,

It is with great enthusiasm that I write to you as part of our stewardship season. When Ben shared with me the poem “Sabbaths” by Wendell Berry, I was immediately struck by its relevance to my experience with the Chapel and our church community. As my wife is quick to agree, sentiment comes easy to me.  But, it is a challenge to capture on paper exactly what our parish family has meant to my family over the past 21 years. Wendell Berry has managed to do just that.

The Chapel is our past. Our church exudes history. When we drive under the cross on Sundays and the gravel crunches under our tires, it is like we have crossed a barrier into the past, and the day-to-day stresses of our present slip away. We worship in a space constructed in the 1800s, and our churchyard is full of markers that tell the stories of the lives of those who worshiped here before us.

But, the Chapel is also part of my family’s not-too-distant history. The Chapel is a young couple welcomed to the 5:00 service on a muggy July afternoon in 1997. It is 3 baptism banners and 4 confirmation Bibles. It is carrying my daughter to the communion rail and getting “help” from my elementary-aged twins as I passed the offering plate. It is the last sermon of an old friend and the first sermon of a new friend. Our church is as much a part of my family’s history as my family is a part of the Chapel.

The Chapel is also our present. While our historic grounds remind us of the past, our church community is alive and thriving. The Chapel is the joyful sound of children on the back pews at the 11:00 service. It is the endless supply of hamburgers and cotton candy at Day in the Country. It is the laughter at a joke told in Sunday school and a friendly handshake at the Peace. The Chapel is a community of loving members dedicated to the broader community and to each other, and my family today is better because of it.
Finally, the Chapel is our future. When I walk on our grounds, I see a future brimming with new possibilities. I see future weddings, baptisms, and confirmations. I see a new church space where we can worship together as a community. I see new programming, new volunteers, and new energy. I see myself 20 years younger in the faces of our new families, and I am excited that they will share the same experiences I have had at the Chapel as their children grow in Christ.

As Wendell Berry emphasizes in his poem, the common thread through all of these experiences is God’s infinite love for us. God is our past. God is our present. And, God is our future. It is through God’s love in our past parishioners that we can worship at the Chapel today. And, it is the same love that will allow us and our families to worship at the Chapel in the future.

As the weather grows cooler this Fall, I encourage you to stop at the benches on the sidewalk leading from the Chapel to the parish hall. Look toward the Chapel and remember Sundays past, and consider all of the joyful contributions that have made the Chapel what it is for us today. Next, look to the east where the new sanctuary will sit, and consider the impact that our joyful contributions today will have on our church community in the future.
At this very moment, the lineage of God’s love flows through each of us. It has been passed down to us from our loved ones, and it is a special gift that we can share with those who will come after us.

God’s Peace,
Davis Frye
Chapel Member

 

2019 Stewardship Materials:

2019 Pledge Card & Stewardship Brochure
2019 Online Pledge Card
Ben’s 2019 Stewardship Sermon
Will’s 2019 Stewardship Sermon