What does Knox mean to me?
by Bruce Herzer
As we have begun thinking and talking about stewardship these past weeks, I've been reflecting on my own life experiences here and hearing thoughts from others in the congregation on what Knox means to us.
And I've heard a common theme: Knox provides us a fellowship, a community, and a purpose that is unique in our lives.
I've heard many express the same thought that the reason they come to Knox is the fact that the congregation here is so caring and supportive towards one another.
That's been very true for me and my family.
My parents are also long time members, as was my sister. We started coming in 1988, and we have gotten a great deal of support from you all during the hills and valleys of their time as members of the congregation.
And now that's continuing with the next generation. Both of my kids were baptized at Knox, and they have grown up amongst you, sharing time each week with you and getting not just cookies - although my son does have ninja like skills at extracting them from the coffee table - but also smiles, interactions, attentiveness, and safety.
For them, growing up as part of a faith community and seeing what it means to care for and watch out for each other is something that will infuence them and stay with them for their whole lives. This isn't the same as their experience at school, or dance class, or even at home; it is something unique that comes from being here and having a living community to be part of.
Knowing that Knox is here for us, and that we are part of this caring community is so important to me, And that's the driving reason for me in making my own annual contribution to Knox.
As you consider your own commitment of time, talent and treasure to Knox, I encourage you to think about the special place Knox is for you, and all the benefits we are blessed with as being members of the congregation.
We are a small congregation, but we do so much and we benefit so much. And I wanted to share a couple of data points with you of what it takes to deliver on some of the many ministries we share.
Supporting the lonely is a large part of our mission.
Did you know that we make almost 1000 sandwiches for First United each year? Each month it takes 7 people about an hour to 75 minutes each, to assemble them, plus the drivers time, and in addition to this there is a financial cost - $450 a year well spent when we think about this contribution to the wider community and the lonely in our downtown east side.
And the music ministry is also a huge part of who we are and the richness of our services.
Over the last 14 months we have had 9 featured soloists, some from our own very talented congregation, who have given the time to learn, rehearse and perform. Others are paid guest musicians, like Derry Byrne, Milton Randall who expand the repertoire.
We have a small budget for guest musicians, but it is eaten up quickly given the standard rate paid to outside guests soloists, which is around $300.
Our guest soloists from inside and outside Knox enrich and bring others from the community into our services.
These are just two of the many, many ways our time, talents and treasure make up the fabric of Knox. We will be highlighting these and others in the stewardship packages this year.
As I said, we are a small congregation, but we do so much and we benefit so much.
As you read the material, and live the experience of these ministries, and consider what you can give, I encourage you to ask yourself the same question -- what does Knox mean to me?