Last fall, as part of our gratitude offering, many of you sent me notes about all the things you were grateful for. Your reflections were a joy to read. And as we begin this new year, it’s a good time to remind ourselves of all the blessings of our lives. With this note, I’ve included the graphic we created last Thanksgiving that tried to sum up all the gifts, simple and sublime, for which we as a parish expressed gratitude. I encourage you to look at it, and to look around you for all the things that are good, all the gifts you’ve been given. Even when times are difficult, there is great good in the world, and much to be thankful for.

In 2021, we’ll continue to talk as a parish about how gratitude and generosity can transform how we live our lives. In previous years, we’d be focusing on pledge cards and stewardship sermons right now. But this year, our approach will be a bit different. We want to make time for prayer, reflection, and conversation before we return pledge cards. And so during Lent, we’ll go on a journey together. We’ll reflect upon generosity, and we’ll talk about Bethesda’s future and the impact of our ministry. And then in late March, we’ll send out Estimate of Giving cards. We’ll ask you to return them by mail, in person, or online on or before Palm Sunday. We hope that this change in timing will allow sufficient time for everyone to truly reflect on God’s generosity and respond out of gratitude and thanksgiving.

(You’ll hear us use the phrase “estimate of giving” interchangeably with more traditional language of “pledging” because it more accurately reflects what we ask you to do when you tell us what you expect to give for the year.)

Please do continue to make regularly-scheduled automatic gifts if that’s something you’re comfortable with. You can set up your recurring donation here: (Just choose the tab for “give multiple times.”) I’ve already set up my own recurring gift, and I encourage you to do the same. Automatic online giving is safe, helps us plan for month-by-month expenses, and helps us simplify our administrative process, so I enthusiastically encourage you to use it. But please also journey with us as we reflect upon all the ways in which God calls us to be generous.

The Rev. Margaret McGhee
Associate for Stewardship and Digital Ministry