Dear friends and parishioners of St. Raphael’s,

A couple of months ago, I talked to you about financial stewardship based on the theme Rooted in Abundance. It is an ironic theme for us, isn’t it? St. Raphael’s itself and so many of our people lost virtually everything in Hurricane Ian. Well over a year later the Church and so many of you are still struggling to recover, rebuild and reestablish your lives.

And yet our abundance is real, isn’t it? Unlike so many others, we know that in this life we will have trouble but Our Lord Jesus has overcome the world. (John 16:33) In him, we have everything that really matters and aways will.

And we have the opportunity to rebuild. Many of you have thought about what you want your future to look like as you renovate, rebuild or relocate. St. Raphael’s leadership and people have been doing the same – how to rebuild St. Raphael’s in a way that preserves all the strengths of the past and also builds new strengths for an effective future?

I was delighted to say YES to the invitation to be your priest in charge because I think St. Raphael’s really is rooted in abundance in every way that matters – blessed with dedicated people, strong community life and commitment to the future. I am blessed to be part of that.

We always give to our churches – and do so substantially – because we are so grateful for how God has blessed us. And we give substantially because we know that the mission of our Church depends on it. This is especially so this year. Our people are scattered. Some are impoverished.

Everything needs to be done at once. You have even undertaken to pay a priest! And all this takes money.

Would you do this?

If these are challenging times for you, please give what you can – it is always important for us to give something.
Otherwise, would you give generously – substantially more this year? That is one way of being a coworker with Christ in the rebuilding of his Church. St. Raphael’s is looking at a budget of about $150,000 this year plus all the extras that rebuilding will require.

And of course, would you let the Church know what you plan to give so that our leadership may plan wisely? There is a pledge card included with this letter.
May God continue to bless you with abundance and may you share that abundance with God’s Church and God’s people.

Yours in Christ
(The Rev.) Michael Rowe