The following letter was originally written by The Rev. Dr. Nathan Baxter, Rector of All Saints’ Anglican Cathedral, who will be installed as Dean of All Saints on Sunday, June 11, 2017:
This coming Sunday, June 4th, at the Feast of Pentecost is an opportunity to think about giving, both financially and spiritually. In April, we began the All Saints Cathedral Consecration Fund that many around the diocese have contributed toward. This coming Sunday, we ask you to think about giving to the completion of the Cathedral’s restoration, if you have not yet done so, as an offering of thanksgiving to God and the Church in New England.
Pentecost is, in the Old Testament, the “Feast of First-Fruits,” marking the beginning of the harvest season. That Feast was transformed profoundly when the Holy Spirit came upon the gathered first-followers of Jesus, and the beginning of the Gospel Harvest began as several thousand came to saving faith. Preparing ourselves for the Cathedral Consecration on June 10th is not mainly about an event we can remember or a building to bless and beautify. The Consecration is especially about the Gospel mission we’re called and committed to. The event and the building are means by which we together mark the beginning of a new and sustained season of Gospel harvest. So our special gifts at this time, when given in the leading and grace of the Holy Spirit, are seeds planted that will bear even more abundant fruit in days and years to come.
As you prepare to give this week, whether online or by bringing your offerings to the Consecration Service, consider how the Apostle Paul encouraged believers to practice generosity: “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). Paul starts by reminding us of a principle that’s true both ecologically and spiritually: we “reap” in relation to how we “sow.” Then he reminds us of the freedom that characterizes generosity that resonates with God’s gladness: we each decide in our hearts both how and what to give. Finally, he reminds us that practicing generosity is not limited to financial means. Did you catch that last verse?: “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all you need, you will abound in every good work.”
Already, many have been giving prayer, time, energy, skill, and finances toward these preparation efforts. This Saturday, June 3, a number of people will be finishing the cleaning projects in the sanctuary, even as the work continues on the diocesan and parish ministry house, St. Aidan’s. Let’s finish strong in our preparations so that we can continue even stronger in the long-range mission we’ve discerned and received. May this Pentecost be a day of “First-Fruits” in every way.
If you would like to contribute this week of Pentecost, write a check to the Anglican Diocese in New England, putting “Cathedral Consecration Fund” in the memo line. You may also give online here: adne.webconnex.com/adne-ministries by selecting the Cathedral Consecration Fund from the drop-down menu; or, if attending the service on June 10th, you may bring an offering then, as there will be a collection during the service for the completion of this project (If you are attending, please RSVP, if you have not already, by emailing your name and number of guests to firstname.lastname@example.org). Any amount is appreciated and helpful, and we thank you for your generosity.
Please keep Bishop Bill, the diocesan staff, the All Saints Cathedral parish, and all the plans for preparation in your prayers as we move towards this momentous event.