St. James & All Sinners: The First Stewardship Letter

To All Friends of St. James and All Sinners,

Every congregation in America has to have this talk. It’s uncomfortable, you won’t really want to read it, and some of you will skip it outright. However, it is fundamentally important to the light and life of this church. For instance, if you want the ability to create and paint in our church, you have to be willing to be okay with giving us enough money to keep the lights on while you do it.

A church is only as good as its budget allows. Right now we are running on a shoestring with two volunteers, but we believe that the mission is bigger than us. We are not advocating wealth for ourselves or for our church… just enough for it to breathe, so that if we want to expand the homeless ministry from being able to serve 50 people to 500, we have enough to do it without wiping our capital account down to zero.

At this point, we need everything from a building to meet to a choir director to hymnals to Bibles to other religious texts that we need in order to study said Bibles in the first place. It is a fledgling dream aching for resources to fight spiritual emptiness in all its forms… that in order to heal, one must be available to take in light…. impossible when you are wandering around in darkness hoping there’s gotta be a switch somewhere…….

I invite you to be a part of the solution. You know as well as I that people may not be aching for God, but they’re definitely aching for something. Give us the ability to realize our dreams, not for ourselves, but for the legacy we want to create.

Not only do James and I want to have money to respond on the fly to need, we would also like to create an endowment to keep the church running in times of economic distress.

But first things first.

I need a living wage to be able to devote myself to making this dream possible. If you are able to help with that, please do. It is my hope that by reading and responding to this worship experience here on Facebook, we will gather enough money to bring it to you live. Music and art entwined with praising God in all God’s forms with glorious music all around and gardens for meditation so that if God to you is being alone, you can have your communion, too. At present, my bills are ridiculously cheap and I would like to keep it that way. If this worked out to be a $14/hr job, I would be ridiculously happy. I want to work under Francis’ model of living humbly and giving money to the less fortunate, because I have already been blessed so many times over that it’s time others had a chance.

Needing money is not out of desperation. It is about creating a church that will live for much longer than I will, because there will never be a chance in hell that people stop being anxious and introspective because their pain tortures them. I cannot help the people who aren’t willing to help themselves, only because emotional healing requires a certain openness to take hold. As a non-credentialed minister, I will not be involved in counseling, but I will be involved in creating the materials that help you examine your own grief… not because I am so super-awesome. I am one of the most broken people I know. Since I let the brokenness be known, though, light has been flooding into my body faster than I can really take it in.

I want to be a message of hope to people who think intelligent Christianity is dead. I want to prove that the risen Christ has relevance in our world as part of the lens we use to see current problems (to paraphrase Marcus Borg).

Aren’t you curious to see what happens when you step out on your own ledge and say, “I’m a part of something greater than myself?”

I promise. It feels excellent.

Pax,
Leslie

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