Trinity Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC
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Fall weather has finally arrived! And if you bought a pumpkin from our pumpkin patch, thank you. Yesterday millions of children took to the streets at dusk dressed in an array of bizarre costumes to celebrate Halloween, which is short for “All Hallows Eve,” an important holiday in church history celebrating and giving thanks to God for loved ones who have passed away. I really don’t know how candy took center stage, but the costumes were designed to ward off evil spirits. I guess all those cute M&M costumes will make them die laughing. 

I am quite sure that churches have raised funds for their ministry in the fall because it coincides with the fall harvest, a time of great thanksgiving for an abundant harvest from the fields. This year our Stewardship Team has once again turned to the idea of gratitude as the best reason for faithful giving. I want to thank Amanda Bernardina, Diane Catalano, Amber Young, Ed Greene, and Jacob Liddicote for their heartfelt testimonies in worship about what they are grateful for at Trinity.

This Sunday I will preach on a healthy, biblical motive for generosity. Too often, the church has emphasized duty and responsibility as the reason we should give money to the church.  The problem with that is this is only a transactional process. “I am a member of the church, and therefore my duty as a recipient of the benefits the church gives me is to support the church’s work.” This is not a bad motive for giving, but it is not of the highest order. This is why Paul said that God loves a cheerful giver and we should not give out of compulsion or reluctantly. 

The key to all of this is gratitudeIf we start from the biblical point of view that God created the world and has given us, directly or indirectly, everything that we have been able to achieve, then we ought to feel gratitude for the blessings God has given us. When people love us or give us a gift, we experience a desire to express our gratitude for the joy we have received. Stewardship should work the same way.

God has given us life in this wonderful world, a whole new life in Christ, our family, our friends, our homes and everything we have (”The earth is the Lord’s and everything that is in it … I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.”) This abundant life should make us feel grateful, and the best way to express our gratitude is to give a portion of our blessings back to God as a thank offering. The Bible sets the goal for this portion as the tithe, or one tenth of our income. Very few Christians give that much to the church, but I have always believed that every Christian should be on path toward that goal and to try to make increases every year until they can reach it. No one has ever told me that they regret tithing. In fact, most people tell me how spiritually enriching that practice is for them.

On Sunday, November 3, I will announce the total collective pledge that our session has already submitted to our receiving treasurer as a leadership pledge. The session and I invite you to join us in giving generously this year to support the ministry and mission God is calling us to do. If you do, Paul says, that “You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.” Thanks be to God for all we have received from God’s generous and gracious hand!  And thank you for all you do for our church.

Grace and peace,
Reply to David
Sheila Goodman, a beloved friend to many, passed away on Thursday, October 31st. Her service will be held at Trinity on Saturday, November 2nd at 2:00 pm. Visitation will begin at 1:00 pm in the church's fellowship hall. Graveside services will be held November 3rd at 3:00 pm at Lumber Bridge Presbyterian Church in Lumber Bridge, N.C. We express our heartfelt sympathy to Sheila's husband, Major Goodman, and to Sheila's family and friends.
Upcoming Communion dates: November 3rd and December 1st
We are on track to give out more grocery bags to families in our community who are food insecure than we have in the last few years. For those in the congregation who have donated items, we thank you!! If you have the time to shop and are able, the pantry is very low on cereal and crackers.
ACTS Seniors (65+) will meet at 9:15am in the Fellowship Hall, on Thursday, November 7th. They will visit the NC Museum of History especially to see "Toy Boom!" and "NC and the Space Race" exhibits. Other permanent exhibits are open also, and no admission fee! They will stay at the museum for lunch at Sweet Tea & Cornbread Grill and Eatery about $10 (menu here). Join them as they have fun reviewing 50 years of recent history.
Did you know that when you purchase items at AmazonSmile, Trinity receives a donation for eligible items? If you shop on Amazon, please consider using AmazonSmile and choosing Trinity as your charity of choice. (And there is more than one Trinity Presbyterian listed, so make sure to choose the one in Raleigh, please.) When you shop through the Amazon Smile program, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to Trinity. All monies received benefit Trinity's Operating Budget, and are classified as Extraordinary Revenue.

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