Sample Pastoral Letter

February 24, 2009

Congregational Letter

Dear Congregation,

We're going on a treasure hunt!

We won't be digging holes around the church searching for buried gold, though. Instead, we're searching for God's treasure.

Scripture provides the map. For God, we are treasure: "You are children of the Lord your God. ... It is you the Lord has chosen ... to be his people, his treasured possession" (Deuteronomy 14:1-2). Although those words were spoken long ago to people in another part of the world, Galatians 3:26 assures us that we are included, too: "For in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith." "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight" goes the children's song, voicing the truth that God treasures all people, throughout the world.

One of the gifts of being God's children is that sometimes we are called to be "treasure tenders" for God. We tend God's treasure here in our congregation with the love and care we show each other through special meals, visiting the sick and shut-in, teaching Christian discipleship, and praying for each other. We are also invited to tend God's treasures beyond our congregation by participating in One Great Hour of Sharing.

Life can be tough at times. Hurricanes, earthquakes, cyclones, and tsunamis smash communities to bits. Wars and ethnic conflicts shatter the very foundations of life, shoving people out of their homes and transforming them into frightened refugees. Persistent hunger, drought, poverty, lack of education, and ill health shrivel the life and dry the spirit, leaving individuals to crumble from the inside out.

Through One Great Hour of Sharing, we gently, persistently, and strongly care for God's treasures. By sharing some of our earthly treasure—our money, our time, our energy—decisive aid can be sent when disaster strikes. Refugees receive help in the long term as they rebuild their lives. We help people help themselves through education, health care, tools, seeds, and resources to improve community infrastructure.

And the sharing is mutual. When we care for people, we can be transformed by experiencing the presence of God. Seeing what others have lost, we are reminded what matters most in life. Seeing what others live through, we are inspired to live courageously. Seeing that new life is possible, our hope rises. Working with others, we realize that God reaches out to all of us. Relying on God for the outcome, our faith increases.

First Timothy 6:18-19a exhorts us "to do good, to be rich in good works, generous, and ready to share, thus storing up ... the treasure of a good foundation for the future." Our treasure is doing God's will, loving God, and loving God's treasured people, so we all "may take hold of the life that really is life" (1 Timothy 6:19b). Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). May you find your treasure, and your heart, by sharing resources and changing lives with a generous gift to One Great Hour of Sharing.

Sincerely,

Pastor/Offering Leader


 

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CONTACT INFO



Ms. Phyllis Y. Richards
Program Associate, Global Sharing of Resources
700 Prospect Ave.
Cleveland,Ohio 44115
216-736-3215
richardp@ucc.org