One of the great gifts of being your Interim Rector is that I get to hear so many of the wonderful stories which make up Bethesda-by-the-Sea. Not long ago, a seasoned parishioner told me the story that some years back a tour group gathered at the base of the front steps of our church and couldn’t help but hear the sprightly tour guide, umbrella aloft and small portable microphone in hand, say, with a sweeping gesture toward the campus, “And here is Bethesda-by-the-Sea, one of America’s richest churches.”

Yes, I know how grand the buildings look. I know what “Worth Avenue” still says to the world. I know about the grand old days of Flagler and the early barons who visited the Island, and I can read those name plates of benefactors who have given exquisite pieces of art and reredos. I know of the extraordinary resources The Church Mouse produces annually for Outreach. I know of the period in our past when Bethesda balanced budgets on income from endowment.

Now we are like most churches in America. We must raise, by giving and other means, the budget that makes possible a daily, generous, and venturesome mission and ministry. So, while the resources are great among the people of our parish, and we are grateful for the endowments left us by those who are gone, we also know the plain hard work of raising a budget from the pledges and gifts of the living.

In a recent mailer, we announced an effort we’re calling “It’s a Match.” Two months ago, we learned of an extraordinary extra gift of $250,000 for our annual budget — IF we match it dollar for dollar by the end of the year. The match is fulfilled when at least 125 of us increase our annual giving in 2021 by at least 10% — and reaching 250k. The net result, of course, will be an additional $500,000 toward balancing our ministry budget for the year. According to our Finance Committee, we need every penny of that to be in the “black” by year-end.

I am very positive about the future health and vitality of this parish. Please give evidence of that vitality by generously participating in the match. You can increase your pledge/giving by using the tear-off card in the mailer, or you can go on-line and make your extra gift. If you need another card, or if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the church office — (561) 655-4554.

Thank you, more than I can say, for your generous participation.

Bob Dannals
Interim Rector