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A few weeks ago, Dave and I went to Yosemite, it was a gift from my children for my 60th birthday. They chose for us a place to stay near the southern entrance to the park. We arrived in the afternoon and found ourselves close to the Mariposa Grove. We parked the car and were then shuttled to the grove, the grove of Giant Sequoias. They were magnificent and inspired in me a profound sense of awe. And they brought with them a sense of longevity. We believe some of them to be over 1,000 years old.

The grove also had areas of fire devastation. This inspired some contrasting feelings of threat and dread. I feel this way about The Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church welcomes all who come together to love God, be community, and work for God’s peace and justice for the world. And like the Giant Sequoias, the Church inspires in me awe – for all the good we do in the name of God, making God’s presences known to others who don’t know God … yet.

AND I feel that the church is threatened. We are small to begin with and shrinking. Yet, we have something so valuable to offer the world, I believe we will survive because it is God’s will. And so I trust God.

This I believe: Fires burn in forests to make way for new growth and a new generation of trees. And the old growth is needed to produce the new. This I trust: Like the longevity of the Giant Sequoias, God is here, strong and life giving. Where the trees give us oxygen, God gives us breath.  The threat I feel may be God’s way of making room for a new way for the church to be, and now I mean our church, St. Michael’s.

In my heart, I am convinced that St. Michael’s Episcopal Church, sitting on Mission Avenue is in God’s will to be a symbol of hope for those who need hope to come and meet God. What we invest in today will be here tomorrow, for those who come after us. I ask you to prayerfully consider your pledge because it is in giving that we will receive. We yearn for God’s grace in our lives, give and you will receive, for the bible tells us so. Also, know that you are giving to those who are not here yet. Like the Gospel of Matthew says, give so your right hand does not know what your left hand is doing. Give in faith, that what we build in structure and community, will be here for generations to come. For we still live in the light of those who began this community several generations ago.

May God bless you and guide you always!  Rev. Mary

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