Good morning, I’m Earl Gordon and you may know me best, if you know me at all, as an usher in the back of the church. My wife Laurie and I are members of Trinity, along with our two sons Greg & Zach, who are grown now and live away from Newtown.
When Dan Bacon asked me to give this talk today, he asked if I could tell you what it was that made me support Trinity with my gifts of Time, Talent and Treasure. I was a little stumped at first, I couldn’t think what was so unique about me, my story or my time here to share with you. I always knew that Trinity had been so much a part of my life for the past 30 years and then I realized, that was probably part of the story. Why would Laurie and I be so closely connected to a place, for that long a period of time? The answer is community.
Community that was supportive as our family grew up here. We cherish the fact that everyone helped to raise our boys and shape them in ways that are subtle and not always seen, but manifest themselves from time to time. Clergy, confirmation mentors, church school teachers, friends, other youth have all been instrumental in supporting what we have tried to do to raise the boys and it has had lasting impacts on them.
Community has been important to Laurie and I as well. One of the first and lasting memories from Trinity was our marriage preparation or lessons. And at the end of the lessons, we were blessed to find another couple that was willing to step forward as our marriage sponsors. A couple, as time would reveal, that took their commitment so seriously that we have an ongoing relationship with them today, even though they live away from Newtown. And during all those years, they have been intentional and found time to celebrate with us our anniversary over the past 29 years and even hosted our renewal of vows ceremony 5 years ago.
Our support of Trinity in Time and Talent was easier for us to do: ushers, church school teachers, café helpers, pastoral care meal makers, confirmation mentors, etc. and Laurie has been actively involved in more formal ways, such as vestry, heading the youth program, rector search and now the Visioning team. But the money or Treasure piece was a slower process for us to grasp, however over time, we have come to value our ability to contribute financially and we both have come to feel good about what we do as a way to honor our commitment to God as well as to this physical place. A recognition in some measure for the gift of community; giving back for all we have received.
So as we turn our attention to stewardship, take a moment to reflect on what it is that you value and how you can show that in terms of what you can offer back to be a part of the ongoing community here at Trinity Church.