When I come to worship Sundays, there’s a sense of community I believe most people find very hard to find weekdays. There’s a closeness to God that you feel during worship, and I strongly believe this feeling is embodied in our congregation. When you walk in the door, you are immediately welcomed, and everyone is so nurturing and friendly. Our congregation has a service-oriented heart which is charitable to the community and the world. I invite you to join us, not just because my family and I would love to see great, new people here at worship, but because I know that the entire congregation would also love to walk beside God with you!
“My friends/co-workers will ask me "why would you get up early on Sunday to go to church??”. It’s simple! I say, "I just don't want to miss it!” I love it - the music, the sermon, seeing people, Moose's snacks, and my kids love to come too - they enjoy Sunday school and seeing their friends. My daughter Rhianna once said - "I feel like this is where God wants me to be". That’s it EXACTLY... and having such a warm, inviting, and downright FUN church is the icing on the cake!"
As you probably know by now, our stewardship theme this year is fearless generosity.
I admit to being fearless when it comes to charitable giving, but I am anything but fearless when it comes to speaking to a group of people. You qualify as a group of people. Therefore, I am terrified. However, our fearless leader, Dyan, asked me to try to step outside my comfort zone, and speak to you about my feelings about the church budget. Well, I am so far out of my comfort zone that I don’t know whether I’ll be able to find my way back in.
I learned quickly that most people want their money to go for the greater good, meaning their financial offering will help the many worthy organizations we support outside the walls of the church. Obviously, as Christians, we want to help those in need. I think it’s inherent in our humanity to want to so. However, the truth is the largest part of the church budget, at least 65%, must stay right here. I see this as a positive. Our expenses are high as I’m sure everyone knows. We have to pay the usual monthly bills: mortgage, utilities, repairs, cemetery and parking lot upkeep. We are so blessed to have this wonderful facility, which also happens to need to be cleaned…frequently… as in daily. Believe or not, God doesn’t dispatch a little band of angels with swiffers and wet jets to miraculously keep this place clean. No, actually, we pay Charles for that. I am more than happy to pay Charles to keep our facility clean because I’m a big fan of clean bathrooms, and I’ll bet everyone else is, too. Then there are our amazing pastors. I love knowing that part of our offering goes to pay their salaries. Both Dyan and Keith give so much of themselves to us in so many ways and not just on Sunday morning. But even Dyan and Keith would be at a loss without the the administrative staff that keeps everything running smoothly day in and day out. As a secretary, I know firsthand how much work that entails, and we couldn’t get much done without Theresa, Patti and the others. Then there are the people like Livvy Steffens, Dottie Long, Shirley Keiter, and Ray Hopkins who run the Sunday Schools, the adult forums, the choirs, the youth groups, and then, of course, there’s our amazing band These folks are paid a pittance compared to the hours of dedicated service they contribute to make our church such a welcoming place.
Speaking of welcoming, I have never experienced a more welcoming community of people than we have at UDLC. The operating expenses of our church are the “foundation” upon which all other outreach programs are based. Without this foundation, nothing else would be possible. In closing, I ask that you prayerfully consider all aspects of the church budget when you make your pledge this year. It will be a win-win for the whole congregation.
“Stewardship” is not a word I remember hearing or using as a young boy. Yet I can’t think of a worship service I attended as a boy where “putting money” in the offering plate was not part of our act of worship.
I will always remember in my early teenage years of working as a caddie at the country club in my home town. Back in the early 1950’s caddying was a great summer job. I was inspired by the folks I caddied for to become successful in life.
One thing I will never forget at the end of each day was having my parents greet me and ask how many rounds I did for the day, and how much money I had earned. My mother had three separate envelopes, and always placed my money in those envelopes. The first envelope was for my savings account (SAVE), the second was for my church offering (SHARE), and the third envelope was for my allowance (SPEND).
I am grateful for the stewardship practices that were introduced to me at an early age, for these created giving habits in my life, SAVE, SPEND and SHARE!!
In my case after many years at different universities and two and a half years of active duty with the United States Navy, I was finally able to set up my dental practice and start giving back for all of the years I was amiss for church and charities.
Janice and I have always given to numerous charities throughout the years, but our main focus was to place the church at the top of the list. At Upper Dublin Lutheran Church, after joining several churches before, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that we have found the right church with the right staff and a wonderful outreach.
Now especially giving back for the success I have had in my profession gives me a wonderful feeling.
Our primary attitudes and actions around stewardship and generosity are created when we are children. In a culture where generosity is the exception, not the rule, it is important as ever for faith communities to foster generosity by offering concrete stewardship habits. I endorse my mom’s practice – teaching our children and grandchildren to SAVE, SPEND, and SHARE – the three S’s of Stewardship. Whenever we receive allowances or salaries and give to the Lord with Fearless Generosity!
Becky, Meghan, and I moved to Upper Dublin Township a little over 6 years ago. We have moved a few times over the years, and one of the first things to do while settling in is to check out the local Lutheran churches in the area. This time, the convenient choice was Upper Dublin Lutheran Church, just a few miles down the road from our house. Of course, in addition to being “convenient”, UDLC has been a welcoming place for us, vibrant, and full of opportunities for fellowship and worship.
I look forward to Sunday services, not only to listen to the message and sing along with the music, but also to reconnect with the people I have served with inside and outside the church. Meghan and I have both had the opportunity to serve with the Appalachian Service Project. The families we have served are extremely grateful and the positive feeling you get from being able to help can be a life changer.
I went on the men's retreat a few weekends ago. I'd describe the experience as peaceful (except when I was walking through the high ropes course). It was peaceful because hiking in such a beautiful area really lets you focus on some of the simple things, and allows you to just enjoy the moment. These experiences and the relationships built over the years really give our church a strong sense of community, with different people from different backgrounds coming together with a common goal, to worship God.
It was important to us to provide Meghan the opportunity for Christian education. Meghan was confirmed at Upper Dublin Lutheran, and she has enjoyed trips and retreats with the UDLC youth group. If you were present during rally day this year, you know that our Sunday School program is strong in numbers and talent. The future looks bright for our congregation!
We believe God is the source of all our resources, including time, talents, and money. Although we used Simply Giving to be consistent givers to the church, we realized after participating in Financial Peace University that we had the means to do more. During the stewardship campaign last year, we challenged ourselves to increase our church giving to nearly double from what it was in years past. Financial Peace University gave us the confidence to actually step it up!
We want UDLC to continue to provide opportunities for fellowship and for worship and continue to have a thriving education program. These are the reasons we give to the church. We want UDLC to continue to be a welcoming place like it has been for us!