November 12, 2023
When I think about financial stewardship, I think about my parents dutifully putting a crisp bill into their church envelopes each week to be placed on the collection plate. I recall how Doug’s parents practiced the biblical tithe and donated (at least) ten percent of their household income to their church each year. Neither of our families were rich. Our parents worked hard for what they had. But there was enough. Supporting the Church was something that had to be done with what money there was. These images have been formative to the way Doug and I think about giving to the work of the Church.
We give money to support the work of Christ Church Cathedral (CCC), because we are thankful for the worship offered here every week, multiple times per week. The liturgy, the preaching and, of course, the music are all top quality. For us, this creates worship that inspires, comforts, challenges, and brings us closer to God. We support CCC because it is an inclusive community that strives to be welcoming to anyone regardless of gender, social status, or religious background. We value the work CCC does to support reconciliation efforts and to care for refugees. We treasure the commitment CCC has to the ongoing work of Our Place and to care for the unhoused and addicted who routinely come into the cathedral. Doug and I love the building itself. It is a sacred space that has the power to transport us to the heavenly realm when we need respite from the cares of the world. Finally, we give thanks for the community we’ve found here. This is a community in which parishioners share our hopes and dreams. Where people rejoice with us in our happiness and are with us in our sorrows. This is a community that holds its members in prayer. I’ve experienced this personally in the last few weeks and I see it play out routinely in the life of the congregation.
As you know, these are challenging financial times for the cathedral. This is a reality that has been unfolding for many years. Doug and I continue to support the cathedral because we believe that its work is critical to the times in which we live. We will support the cathedral as we move through Building For the Future. I am convinced this project will transform CCC and the precinct into what God is calling us to be at this point in history.
New people continue to discover the cathedral. The neighbourhood around us is growing. I believe we can be a place where people find community and explore what it means to be spiritual. We do this through a commitment to the teachings and life of Jesus Christ who said, “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”. We do this with grateful hearts because God is richly blessing us.
Since starting in my role as Priest in Charge, I’ve had the gift of working closely with the staff. We have a committed and passionate group working for us. They routinely take on roles and responsibilities far beyond their job descriptions. They do this because they know that it is work that will sustain and grow the cathedral. They bring new ideas about how we can generate revenue from the use of the cathedral. One such idea was to rent the building to “Candlelight Concerts”. Not only have we generated revenue from this relationship, but we’ve welcomed hundreds of people into our beautiful space and had opportunity to talk to them about our work. I am grateful for the passion the staff bring to our community.
Our cathedral continues to recover from the pandemic. Over the past year many important activities have been restored. The Refugee Committee, “In Conversation” and “Newcomer Orientation” are three examples. I’m pleased (but not surprised) that there has been such an enthusiastic response to the invitation to return to serving meals at Our Place.
As we move forward, there are many reasons to be hopeful. We are working on a plan to bring folks from the “Over 55” group at Our Place to the cathedral to give them a tour and offer them some warm hospitality, forging new relationships along the way. A new “Grief and Loss” group is taking wings and offering members and friends a chance to talk and heal together. We are busy instituting new and easier ways for visitors to contribute financially to the life of CCC. CCC is working with the Cathedral school to find new ways to engage with children and families. People from CCC recently participated in a workshop introducing us to “Invite, Welcome, Connect”: an innovative program for bringing more people into our churches in meaningful ways. Already I’ve seen those who took part being mindful and intentional about connecting with folks who are new or visiting us. I am excited about the potential of this program to help us build our community. New and wonderful programs continue to spring forth. All these things (and more!) are possible through your generous support.
Friends, I pray for each of you as you discern your financial commitment to the cathedral for the next year.
Grace and Peace,
The Rev’d Canon Jeannine B. Friesen (she/her)
Priest in Charge
Please see the attached supporting documents. Documents can be returned to the office by mail, placed in the collection basket or dropped off at the Deanery.