Giving Back, and What Grace Church Means to Us
Hello. My name is Marilyn Grant and I have been a member of Grace for the past 20 years. I am also a retired Department of Education Administrator and I know about fund raising and budgets.
Our annual campaign is critical to keeping Grace Church running. It is the only way for the Vestry to be able to establish a budget. We especially want to provide the new Rector with a strong pledging parish so that he or she will be able to expand existing programs and create other initiatives that our church community can experience and enjoy.
If you have not pledged before, we ask that you consider it during this interim period. If you have pledged before, we hope you will pledge again and consider an increase in the amount. We are making a plea and we need your help because we cannot do this alone. We hope you will join us in this endeavor.
We started coming to Grace Church nine years ago when we moved to Brooklyn Heights as a way to meet other families and get know our neighborhood better. Grace has been that and more. At Grace, we’ve baptized our two sons, celebrated holidays, started our sons’ education at the pre-school, gotten involved with local charities and international disaster relief, and certainly eaten a lot of cake and cookies at coffee hour after the services. But it’s also been a place to help us establish a regular spiritual practice, and we’ve both laughed and cried at the sermons over the years.
We’ve been regulars at the Family Service and have enjoyed seeing babies turn into toddlers and toddlers into kids. Though we hadn’t expressly talked about Grace as part of our community, I was heartened to see some of my son’s school work from first grade posted in the hallway. The unit at school was about “community” and John drew a picture of Grace’s beautiful stained glass windows and steeples as an example. Clearly, John had been taking in more from our Sunday mornings at Grace than I realized.
My son and I recently participated in an affordable housing rally with Grace Church and other East Brooklyn Churches. It was a special opportunity to be with other church members, talk about the importance of affordable housing, and demonstrate why we should speak out and show up outside City Hall. What better way to teach my son about the value of his voice? This is yet another reason why we are so glad to be part of the Grace community and we support its annual campaign. We need to do more for Grace than just keep its lights on.
I have never been great at fundraising. But this week I have had the benefit of hearing the pitch that WNYC, our Public Radio station in New York City, makes four weeks every year to get listeners to make contributions. Usually I switch to 1010 WINS when those things come on, I confess.
But WNYC and Grace Church have something in common. Each has something of great value to offer people. And each needs people who appreciate what they are getting to give the money it takes for the institution to KEEP providing those valued things.
In this time of transition, there is no shortage of ideas for expanding these programs, for creating new ones, as Grace continues to grow. And we are growing, unlike most other churches in our denomination across the country. That means Grace will need more money from us. Whoever is called to be our next Rector needs to know that funding doesn’t just depend on Potluck.
I know that there are people who prefer to just put money in the plate on Sunday rather than pledge, but please, pledge! And if you do already pledge, think about whether you can increase your pledge? Heidi and I did that last year, and we will do it again for next year. Our income hasn’t increased, but we are inspired by the love and support and inspiration that Anne and Jim, the choir and Paul, the staff, and all of you show to us, to each other, and to the wider community every Sunday. So we thought really hard to see if we could give BACK just a little more. And we found we could. Whether or not that is the case for you, please—just pledge, pledge whatever you can.
Thank you for not tuning me out. And, speaking of Potluck, be sure to come for the Potluck supper here tonight, from 5:30 to 8:00. See you then!