From the Rector's Desk: What God is doing for and through our parish
Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Peter's:
As we move closer to Advent, I reflect on the activities and accomplishments of our parish over the past year.
Unsurprisingly, for a parish as diverse and alive as ours, the true extent of the impact we have made - both within and beyond our parish boundaries – is hard to quantify.
However, in a spirit of gratitude for all God has given us and what you as a parishioner and a supporter have made possible, I’d like to share a few highlights then touch on two goals I hope you will consider helping me reach.
From a spiritual perspective, in a world that has little more to offer than thin gruel, Saint Peter’s is feeding souls with real nourishment:
Mass attendance has increased by over 57% compared with this same time last year;
170 new households have registered with the parish since the beginning of 2021;
We're serving 177 youth and children in our weekly faith formation programs and 128 in our parish school, with 65 preparing to receive Sacraments;
Saint Peter’s Youth Group welcomes over 50 high-schoolers weekly for Catholic formation and fellowship;
Our RCIA process is currently serving 17 adults preparing to come in to the Church next Easter;
Our Tapping Theology program continues to blossom, with 30-50 young adults participating monthly in formative and social gatherings; and
Adult education opportunities are thriving, as more and more of the faithful return to group activities and engage in the life of the church.
From a fiscal standpoint, our parish remains healthy as we prepare to expand our facilities next year:
We returned the full Paycheck Protection Program loan we received at the height of the pandemic, thanks to your generous and consistent support, and
We came together to raise more than $5.9 million in gifts and pledges for A New Generation of Founders capital campaign!
As your Pastor and Rector of the Mother Church of the Midlands, there are few things that give me greater joy than to see our parish thriving and growing closer as a community in pursuit of holiness. Indeed, the opportunity to lead a parish like Saint Peter’s is one of the great blessings of my priesthood.
Along with this opportunity, though, comes the responsibility to ensure that Saint Peter’s continues to grow and advance our mission, which brings me to the goals I mentioned earlier – goals which I hope you will prayerfully consider helping me accomplish.
First, because of the savings and predictability we can achieve through it, I hope you will – if you have not already done so – consider a transition to giving online. Our goal is for 50 parishioners to set up online automated giving before December 31, 2021. Online giving is simple to set up and can be done here.
Second, in order to break ground on our facilities expansion, we are required to have at least $4 million in hand. As of today, we have received just over $3 million. As pandemic restrictions loosen, we are once again feeling the constraints of space and utility, and my goal is to begin construction as soon as possible. If you are in a position to do so, would you consider accelerating a portion or all of your New Generation of Founders campaign pledge? With strong stock market performance and the promise from Washington of higher taxes next year, there are also good practical reasons to realize gains in 2021 and accelerate your pledged gift. I will personally be accelerating the majority of my pledge this year.
While it is not a question of salvation or holiness, I do believe the practice of regularly supporting the parish is one that helps engender a more virtuous life. We are blessed with a generous parish, and the goal of today’s message is not to solicit new gifts, but to include you as I work to steward the gifts you entrust to Saint Peter's.
Thank you for taking the time to read this message and thank you for making Saint Peter’s such a vibrant parish. I look forward to seeing you at Mass on Sunday!
Fr. Gary S. Linsky
The Very Rev’d Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F.