At the start of 2017, I issued a promise - and a challenge - to our faithful.
Faced with unreachable expenses (due to the as-yet unopened St. George's mission in Brantford) and an unexpected drop in revenues (due to the untimely departure of some tithing members), in order to meet the cost of our mission work, I promised to donate one month's salary toward the parish.
In turn, I challenged our faithful in two ways: join me by increasing your tithe by one percent (a step toward the Apostolic practice of ten percent), and/or by donating the equivalent of one week's pay over the course of the year toward the mission of the Church, (one month's pay being too much to handle for most people).
A few people have stepped up to meet this challenge. Some have endeavored to meet it in part. Still others are hoping for someone else to address the problem.
In the meantime, the missionary work of the Church goes on: continuing spiritual education in both Hamilton and Brantford; the beautification of two churches; offering prayers through a full calendar of services (at least five each week); continuing work to recruit a full-time priest to serve at St. George's. All this rests on top of the more mundane tasks of parish work: paying utility bills and mortgages, ensuring building security, answering scores of pastoral e-mails, and offering pastoral help to a variety of people, both inside the parishes and outside.
The mission of the Church - begun by the Apostles, undertaken by the saints of all ages, and continued to our day - will continue, regardless of whether we participate in it or not. The question for each one of us is simple: Do we want to participate in the work of Christ, to support it with our prayers, our time, and our finances, and receive God's grace and blessings ... or would we rather sit on the sidelines?
Our answer really determines everything about our faith, and our life?