A Special Stewardship Message from Pastor Chris:
September 18, 2023
Members and Friends of First Presbyterian Church of Berthoud,
I recently received an email from another organization in which the director appealed for help from volunteers, writing bluntly “I cannot hide the fact that WE NEED YOU.” I’ve seen messages like this before from food pantries, mission organizations, even other churches, but this time the message came from an unexpected source. It was written by the director of a series of ultramarathons.
In the sport of trail running, it’s customary to have “aid stations” placed along the route where runners can take a break, eat snacks, and refill their water bottles before returning to the course. As someone who has run a few such races, I can testify that the aid stations are pivotal in the runners’ experience of the race. Not only do they provide physical nourishment to continue the journey, but the volunteers also provide the emotional boost of encouragement, laughter, and companionship. A race without aid stations is an impoverished experience. But, as this race director desperately reminded his contact list, these aid stations can’t happen if there are no volunteers to serve.
More than once the Bible compares life to a race. Hebrews 12:1-2 invites us to fix our eyes on Jesus as we “run with perseverance the race that is set before us.” Anticipating his death, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I have fought the good fight; I have finished the race; I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7). Along this race of life, many of us find that the Church is our aid station. It’s the place we stop each week for our souls to be revived. Here we find the community who cheers us on, encourages us, and points us in the right direction as we’re sent back out into the world. Without such an aid station, many of us would find ourselves wandering in the wilderness, ready to give up.
Just as an organized race relies on volunteers, the Church also relies on those who worship with us to keep the aid stations supplied and staffed. Here at First Presbyterian Church, members and friends of the congregation give generously to supply our church budget, supporting the staff who lead and serve us and maintaining the space in which we worship. Many who worship with us also volunteer their time and talents, serving in ways that range from caring for children to leading in worship to serving the homeless. Still others commit to formal roles of service as Elders and Deacons, guiding our congregation in worship and witness. As your pastor, I want to say thank you to all who give and serve in these various ways. Echoing the words of the race director, on behalf of the Church, I say “We need you and we are grateful for you.”
As we look ahead to 2024, I want to invite you to discern how you are called to serve and give in the coming year. To help the Session, the Budget Committee, and the Nominating Committee prepare for next year, we’ve enclosed a pledge card with this letter on which you may indicate your financial support for 2024 and any ways in which you would like to volunteer your time and talents. If you worship with us in person, please bring your card with you to worship on Stewardship Sunday, October 22, at 10:00 a.m., when we will collectively offer these pledges to God. You may also mail your pledge card back to the church in the enclosed envelope. Your responses will help shape our 2024 budget which will be presented at our Annual Congregational Meeting on November 19, following worship.
Grace and Peace,
Rev. Christopher Brown