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Message from Pastor Bradley Schmeling
As a child, my dad and I would lie on the dock on Lake James, Indiana, and look at the stars. He taught me to see the constellations, and we squinted our eyes to see the Northern Lights. At the time, it never occurred to me that someone had to put in that dock, take care of it, and then haul it back out of the water before winter. As a senior pastor of a large, vibrant, mission-minded congregation, I’ve thought a lot about how we build a foundation so that we can reach for the mission that God has set before us.
For 111 years, Gloria Dei has been building a foundation for the work of grace, love, and justice in Saint Paul. We experience it when we gather on Sunday morning, welcoming everyone to the table, baptizing children and adults, hurrying from worship to learning in the Water Tower and the Fellowship Hall, in every nook and cranny in use on Sunday morning. We experience it when we come together to work as a sanctuary-supporting congregation or pack backpacks for hungry elementary school kids or when we pray for a group of youth and adults walking with our companions in Guatemala. We experience it in the beautiful and rich music that our choirs and musicians practice every week. We even experience joy and community as we manage all the administrative details it takes to keep our church shining as a light. Laughter fills the halls of our church.
Each of these moments, spread out like stars in the sky, happen because all of us are builders and supporters of this ministry. This year, as we begin to imagine a sanctuary renewal project after the first of the year, we focus first on our foundation, our mission of celebrating, caring, healing, welcoming, and doing justice. We will rise into a next generation of witnesses only if our foundation is strong.
As you consider your support for the mission of Gloria Dei, I invite you to continue your generous and growing support to both our operating and capital budgets. The operating pledge keeps our program and staff humming in mission. The capital pledge keeps our building sound for all the work that takes place every week, even as we welcome a new preschool that helps the youngest in our neighborhood be ready to enter school. Our goal for this year is to grow our operating budget and to keep our capital budget strong to pay our mortgage and continue to work on ongoing maintenance.
Sometimes having a campaign feels like putting in the dock, but imagine what God does when we build a mission together. We see written into the constellations of the sky an announcement that God is gracious, loving everything in this creation, providing mercy and justice for all people, no matter who they are or where they came from. Will you join me out on the water this year – rejoicing in Baptism, peering into the future, wondering, “What will God do next?”
Pastor Bradley E. Schmeling