Burn the Note! Imagine the Future.

April 1, 2019

Dear Saint Stephen's Community,

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 I want to share with you something bold and crazy and unconventional, because well, that is Saint Stephen's. In February, I presented during the Christian Education hour on the financial picture of our church community. We are a growing and thriving community. Membership and giving is trending up, and the future of our Church is exploding with wonderful possibility. Following Jesus at Saint Stephen's is a life-giving practice for so many people. 

 I am proud that our church has one of the finest preschools in the community and one of the nicest and most welcoming facilities in the region. I am pleased to share that we are utilizing our campus and school to reach more and more families and be a place of welcome, hospitality, and love for all who grace our doors. We also have some debt which we incurred to get to where we are today through the building campaign that began seven years ago. It is my hope that we can do our best to address that debt in order to use the gifts and resources of our community on mission and ministry.   By eliminating our debt service, we would be able tosupport three full-time clergy members without any increase in pledges. By moving to three full-time clergy, we can have a better system of pastoral care that tends to the spiritual needs of those in our community especially those with long-term spiritual care needs that require regular home visits.  By supporting three full-time clergy we can better welcome and care for families and children.

 Usually when churches or nonprofits want to raise money, they come up with a plan, hire a consultant, conduct a feasibility study, and then gather certain stakeholders raising the majority of the money before inviting everyone to participate. But Saint Stephen's isn't usual. In fact, from its inception, our church has been counter cultural. I want everyone to know where we are and what our plan is BEFORE ever asking for a contribution to underscore the value of every person in our community.

 Will this work? I sure hope so and doing it differently seems right to me. I need to emphasize that your pledge or tithe is the most important financial gift that you offer. Anything that negatively impacts your ability to tithe is not beneficial in the long term. And many of you have contributed to the building and church for many years and may feel you have exhausted your resources and are unable to support an additional project at this time. That is ok. 

 As of the first of March, our debt total is about $842,000. I would like to invite you to a gathering to talk about how this plan can position us to thrive and grow in remarkable new ways. Please click here if you are interested, or if you would like to set up a time to talk personally. It's bold and ambitious, but I would like us to run this plan through June 7, 2019.  Let us see what we can do together!

 I appreciate so much each of you and am excited for where we can be in a few months.


The Rev. John B. Burruss


Stasi Bara