A Message from our Senior Warden for the week of Sept. 18

Dear St. Stephen’s Community,
This week as summer has turned to fall, my thoughts turn to thankfulness and giving, an opportunity to celebrate Vernon Greenstreet’s life, and our upcoming stewardship campaign.
Thankfulness and Giving
It sure turned quickly into fall here on Whidbey, with more rain (which we need) and crisp mornings. However, as we all know, the fall here can be gorgeous, with its own blessings. At St. Stephen’s we are thankful for all that we have and looking for ways to help others. I was privileged to hear part of an outreach committee meeting last week and was very impressed. These folks have great hearts for helping others and helping where we can be of the most benefit. For the project that Bishop Rickel encouraged all congregations to get behind, which was a program which provided clean water for children in Palestine, our outreach folks asked us to give toward this and they would match whatever we gave. This ended up with a donation of $2000 to this worthwhile cause. As well, another $1000 is being sent to the Diocesan Refugee Resettlement Office, to help where needed with Afghan refugees coming into the Diocese of Olympia in the near future. The committee is also looking at some hands-on things we can do, both with Refugees and their needs, and with Spin Café, which we have partnered with. 
An Opportunity to Celebrate Vernon Greenstreet’s Life
On a different note, I want to share some information on our response to the passing of our good friend, Vernon Greenstreet. Vernon’s children, and the staff at The Willows retirement home where Vernon lived, put together a service in his honor, and invited all of us at St. Stephen’s to attend via Zoom. A number of us were there and enjoyed all the wonderful memories of Vernon. However, there were some that felt we might need to do our own service or tribute to his life. I was in contact with Vernon’s daughter, Karlin, who lives in Australia. She let me know that she and her brothers were planning some kind of service/musical tribute to their dad, to take place either in Oak Harbor, or Bellingham, probably next year when travel is safer. With that great news, I let Karlin know that we at St. Stephen’s would do whatever we could to help with that celebration and hold off on any additional services now. In the meantime, your vestry has decided to create a special fund in our financial records, to be named “The Vernon Greenstreet Memorial Music Fund”. Anyone can contribute to this, by writing that in the memo line of their check. This fund would be used to provide special music outside of our normal worship music, or perhaps music for special events for ourselves or the wider community. I am pretty sure that Vernon will be smiling at those times we take our music ministry a little farther.
Our Upcoming Stewardship Campaign
While on the subject of our finances, please start thinking and praying about your financial offering to St. Stephen’s. Next week, September 26, will be the kickoff of our annual pledge drive. On that day, Harry Anderson will be delivering the homily, which has always been a not-to-miss event. The pledge forms will be sent out by email next week and will be available at church. Our pledges to the church are a very important part of our spiritual life. Pledging is also a critical tool we use to realistically budget and plan what type of programs we can undertake in the coming year. Please be a part of this spiritual and practical practice. 
Susan Ho
Senior Warden

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