Here is a postcard of Christ Church printed in 1932. In the foreground is an unpaved gravel road. The sidewalk is made of boards. A simple wooden fence lines the property, protecting a long vegetable garden. Wire mesh discourages local rabbits. Young poplars allow plenty of sunlight to fall on the lettuce and tomatoes. In 1932,Edmonton created a relief department to help people cope with the Great Depression1. Gardens appeared on vacant lots around the city. Christ Church parishioners likely created a “relief garden” to support local people and families. This garden was literally life giving in its time, and a symbol of hope and commitment. The postcard shows Christ Church at a moment of time, but also tells a deeper story of life in the twentieth century. In 2018, our parish continues the tradition of caring hospitality through community dinners (where new vegetable choppers and servers are always welcome), summer barbecues (where friendship and connection are part of the meal) and tipi raisings (where we remember and renew the oldest relationships formed on our land). 2018 is also the 20th anniversary of our memorial garden, which depends on volunteers who love gardening in the assurance that “death doth touch the resurrection.”2 In all our various ministries, efforts and ideas, we are, as Paul said, “God’s garden, God’s building” (1 Cor. 3:9). Our vision is to be a “Christian faith community where everyone is welcomed and nourished; a hub of activity and community engagement as we respond to God’s call.”3 Our planning for the coming year involves a core value that turns mission into action, and faith into story: stewardship. Stewardship is a commitment to give of our talent, time and treasure in God’s service, giving ourselves cheerfully to the continuing story of this parish. Our annual parish budget is now a narrative budget, presenting the interconnected stories of worship, community outreach, families, children, young adults and seniors, Christian education and newcomers. If there is a part of the story you would like to help write with your time, talent and treasure, please feel free to communicate with our clergy and parishioners As you consider what you might pledge to Christ Church this year, you may find it helpful to look at the “proportional giving chart” on the pledge card. The chart shows what amount per month you might choose to give relative to your income in addition to your other gifts of time and talent. Remember that the amount of your pledge is confidential. In the coming weeks, you will hear more about stewardship in our Sunday services.
With thanks, David Gay, Matthew Cassie, and Tom Snyder