It is your pledges that make our work possible

Dear Fellow Parishioners:

“Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify 
your father which is in heaven.”

On September 20th, Bishop John Vaughan helped us to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the dedication of our parish church. More than 350 attended the services—and in typical St Stephen’s fashion—joined us in the two picnics that followed.

Yet back in 1994, at the time the building was under construction, people told us we were biting off more than we could chew.

And it was, indeed, a very big commitment for a small parish, but God blessed our work and we have been successfully biting off more than we can chew ever since.

We might be relatively few in numbers, but thanks to your enthusiasm and generosity, our contribution to the community we serve exceeds that of many much larger churches. We have, from the outset, taken seriously to heart Jesus’ command to love our neighbors. And we express it in our many missions to the young, the elderly, the infirm, and the troubled in spirit.

The most inspiring aspect of it all is the tremendous way in which you, the parishioners, have embraced and encouraged our efforts with your time, your talents, and your treasure.

❧ Thanks to you, we are one of the most important sustainers of At Jacob’s Well, the charity that helps Baltimore’s homeless mentally disabled, one of the most desperately needy segments of the community.

❧ Thanks to you, our long-standing ministry at the Joseph Richey Hospice, which cares for Baltimore’s dying regardless of their ability to pay, has expanded and prospered.

❧ Thanks to you, our community blood drives have been such a tremendous success that the Red Cross relies on us to hold them at the most difficult times of the year—Christmas, Easter and during the summer vacation period.

❧ Thanks to you, our outreach to local seniors continues to grow. We now provide worship services and pastoral care to residents at retirement communities including Glen Meadows, Mays Chapel Ridge, College Manor, Broadmead, and Roland Park Place.

❧ Thanks to you members of St Stephen’s pastoral care team serve as volunteer chaplains at Union Memorial Hospital, the Greater Baltimore Medical Center, as well as nursing homes and other local health care facilities, including Lorien at Mays Chapel and Power Back at Brightwood.

❧ Thanks to you, the sanctuary has been further beautified, our church porch has been transformed into a handsome, sunny reception room, and our parish hall has been greatly enlarged. And, currently, thanks to you, we have started on a project to build a new office and create an academic library.

Last but very far from least, thanks to you, church attendance has continued upwards, reflecting a growing number of communicants, confirmands, and Sunday School students.

Not surprisingly, perhaps, it costs about $1,000 a day—repeat $1,000 a day—365 days a year to run St Stephen’s and its programs. And the fact that we manage to raise the money to do so much is a tribute to you, our parishioners and friends.

The wherewithal that makes all our work possible comes solely from you. Every contribution we receive is put to good use. Every red cent is spent directly on ministry. We run a lean operation because there’s no alternative. Unlike many older churches, we have no hefty endowments—simply a modest one we are trying to build on.

We rely entirely on your pledges and weekly donations in the collection plate. Even the smallest pledge matters to us—not just because it’s income, but because it’s predictable income. So if you haven’t pledged, please consider doing so, because every scrap of cash one can rely on makes the planning process that much easier, and enables us to make more effective use of our money.

Traditionally, fall is the time when we ask you to renew your commitment to support to the parish, and this year we ask you prayerfully to consider increasing your pledge—and not simply because like every other household, expenses in God’s household continue upwards.

It is solely your financial generosity—complimented by your time and your talents—that enables us to grow in the faith and serve the wider community. Please help us to continue biting off more than we can chew.

Your friend in Christ,
William Hawkins, Treasurer

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