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Thanksgiving is just around the corner. It gives us another opportunity to reflect on all of the blessings in our lives even when some things in our lives may not feel like a blessing.

Each of us has our share of ups and downs; some have many more downs than ups. Yet, I believe everyone has some thing or a few things for which he or she can be thankful. And that leads me to why the title of this message is hyphenated.

In my life, not everything has gone as I would have hoped. A consistent blessing, however, has been and continues to be my inclusion in the worshipping community at St. Stephen’s. It is a community of mission-oriented individuals from all walks of life who are willing to share each Sunday our common commitment to Christ.

It is a community of individuals who demonstrate their generous spirit through acts of kindness and compassion directed to others who are less fortunate.

It is a community of individuals who know how to work together to deal with uncertainties in our church life that occur from time to time.

It is a community of individuals who genuinely care for each other in times of joy and times of need.

How does all of this relate to the title? It is with a spirit of thankfulness and gratitude for this community that I choose to make a financial pledge each year to our congregation at St. Stephen’s. My “giving” is directly related to my “thanks” for all of the ways our congregation has helped me grow in my faith and for all of the ways our congregation has chosen to live out our mission – To Love, To Invite, To Serve.

My hope is that all who are given the opportunity to make a financial pledge to this congregation for 2022 will do so with prayerful thought and with “thanks.”

Bob Linderman


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