JUSTIN WAHLS: Stewardship Campaign Testimony

Given at church on Sunday, November 3, 2019

Good morning. I am Justin Wahls, a member of the Stewardship Committee, I am excited to be speaking to you on Commitment Sunday about our 2020 Stewardship campaign. My wife, Anna Lee, and our kids Ellen (age 8) and John (age 5) have been members of St. Andrew’s since we moved to Wellesley in 2016.

Thus far, you have heard from Allen Jones, the chair of the Stewardship committee as well as Jen Martin and Elizabeth Svedlund. These individuals each provided their perspective on the role of St. Andrew’s in their lives and why financially supporting the church is a priority for their families. To conclude the campaign, I want to briefly offer a perspective from my own family.

St. Andrew’s was not the first church we visited when we moved to the area. However, after being so immediately and warmly welcomed by members of this congregation that we knew right away that we had found a new church home. Our family enjoys participating in church school (both as students and teachers), youth choir, and other activities. Creating a strong Christian foundation for our kids is a priority of our family. We find our involvement deepens our understanding of Christian values and teachings and strengthens our children’s faith. St. Andrew’s emphasizes its youth through its church school, youth choir, Rite 13, youth group and more as well as a dedicating one of the on-staff clergy to youth and family. Our family benefits so much from this emphasis, and Anna Lee and I are happy to financially support the church to ensure all current and future parishioners have the opportunity to grow their faith.

As I mentioned, today is Commitment Sunday. For those of you who have already turned in pledge cards, we sincerely thank you for your participation. If you have yet to do so, there is still definitely time. Pledge cards are in your bulletin and can be placed in the offering plates or placed in the box at the Stewardship committee’s table at coffee hour. In addition to physical pledge cards, you can also access the pledge form on the giving section of St. Andrew’s webpage.

We recognize the congregation’s generosity during our recent capital campaign and are sincerely appreciative of your participation. We far exceeded our goals, and your support provides the congregation a great base to fund physical plant improvements, our giving mission, and endowment growth.

However, operating costs and budgets recur annually and require our support so that the church can maintain and even enhance the programming and resources that have made it such a special part of each of our lives. Our goal this year is to replicate the support from last year’s successful stewardship campaign and raise $1.025 million in pledges.

Just as important as the aggregate dollar amount of pledges is the number of participants in this campaign. St. Andrew’s has achieved countless milestones in its 125-year history, but there has been one that’s eluded us despite some recent close calls – that’s participation by 300 families in a Stewardship campaign. As we all look ahead to 2020 and beyond, I ask those of you who are thinking about pledging for the first time to give it prayerful consideration.

I will admit, Anna Lee and I arrived in Wellesley in spring of 2016, and I do not believe we pledged in the first Stewardship campaign that fall. The Lutheran church where I grew up did not conduct formal stewardship campaigns and the concept was a little foreign to me. However, after seeing how much the church offered us and the connections we have made, we recognized the importance of making a commitment that next year and have prioritized it ever since.

Thanks again for your time and support of the campaign.

2020 Step Up Chart