Thanksgiving letter and update from Pastor Ruttan and elder, Tom Walsh
Dear Children of God:
The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you! This letter includes a message from both myself and elder Tom Walsh. At Westminster, each elder oversees a certain area of the church’s life and work. Tom oversees Finance, Administration, and Human Resources.
Every year we send a letter to the congregation at Thanksgiving. It includes a message about gratitude, and also a special financial appeal. It’s a way of saying Thank You to God for his blessings as we seek to build up and strengthen the work of his church.
We stopped sending these letters during the pandemic since people were navigating so much uncertainty. This year we are resuming the practice. First, Tom is going to share a financial update. Then I will share a word about how blessed people bless people.
“As oversight elder of Finance, Administration, and Human Resources, I would like to thank you for all of your financial offerings that you’ve given so far this year. As Westminster prayerfully processed through the pandemic, we were able to do so with assistance from past financial planning and the CERB. Now that programs are resuming, our expenses are on the rise and are exceeding our revenue. To be able to help those around us, Westminster needs to have our doors open with lights and heat on, and our community of fellowship present for all to see. At this time, I am asking you to prayerfully consider your financial support for the implementation of our mission.”
-Tom Walsh, Elder of Finance, Administration, and Human Resources
Thank you, Tom.
To say that the past two and a half years have been challenging would be an understatement. As your pastor, I’ve talked to many of you—including many people in the community at large—and I have been continually baffled by the many and varied challenges people have had to face. At the same time, God has been so very good. If we truly took the time to think about it, each of us would have a gratitude list as long as the Great Wall of China.
The same is true for Westminster. God has sustained us—and is sustaining us—through a global pandemic. God has given us ongoing hope. He has enabled us to leverage new technologies. He has been working through us as we have been able to reach out and support one another with visits, calls, buying groceries, and prayer. We have been able to support special causes and outreaches. We can now gather in-person for services and activities. Volunteers have been working behind the scenes to ensure God’s church at Westminster moves forward faithfully. Staff have given their all and then some. Nursery care and Sunday school have resumed. In our wider community we have dedicated health care workers and first responders, democratic governments, and freedom. Psalm 136:1 says: “Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.” How very true! We have, and we will.
All we have received should make us mindful of what we can give. Cotton Mather wrote: “We expect benefits from human society. It is but equal that human society should receive benefits from us.” Yes! Receivers are givers. This is true in a material and financial sense, but also with respect to our time, talents and energy. Loved people love people. Forgiven people forgive people. Blessed people bless people.
This Thanksgiving, be proactively thankful. Let’s also be proactive about how we bless both the world around us and the church with which God has blessed us. We are the hands and feet of Jesus—no matter what.
Yours very sincerely, in Christ,
-Matthew Ruttan, Pastor
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