Personal Testimony by Michael Vanin
Given at church on Sunday, November 12, 2017
Good morning, my name is Michael Vanin, one of your church wardens. This weekend we “celebrate” Veterans’ Day by closing schools on Friday giving families a 3-day weekend.
But Veterans’ Day is more than a day off from school or a good deal on a major purchase. Veterans’ Day (aka Remembrance or Armistice day) was established to honor our military veterans who served their country, a call that was then and is still today, bigger than any one person. So, on this day of remembrance, we ask that you to think of the men and women who joined the campaign to serve that bigger mission. And as we come to St. Andrew’s Day next Sunday, which also is “commitment” Sunday, we ask you to keep St. Andrew’s mission in mind — which is also bigger than any of us — and step up and pledge during these last few weeks of our campaign.
We’ve heard from Allen, Anne, Hugh, and Will who shared personal stories of why they give — all of which were a bit different but very personal. Next week you’ll hear from Nancy Hancock. But I’d like to use my time this morning to give you a real example of what I mean by serving the cause.
Most of you support and agree that we should spend more of our budget on outreach. What you might not know is that the Diocese approved major cuts to the central Diocesan budget last week. This move was made in response to urgent feedback from smaller parishes which have very tight budgets. They requested that the amounts that parishes pay to the Diocese be cut so that they could retain more of their funds to finance the life of their parishes. This has little effect on St. Andrew’s but will have a significant impact on some of the outreach programs funded through the Diocesan budget, such as those run by our sister parish in Boston — St. Stephen’s.
Those diocesan cuts will affect programs run by St. Stephen’s like B-safe; which is an academic and enrichment program that serves young people from 1st grade through high school. The goal of the program is to build a community where kids feel safe and feel connected.
Or the B-prepared program, also run by St. Stephen’s, that serves over 300 young people with life skill and leadership training, college and career preparation, job training, and employment opportunities. Things that we in Wellesley take for granted — but life-changing for kids in the South End or Roxbury.
Next week is commitment Sunday, and after we count all of our pledges, and with the vestry’s approval, St. Andrew’s would like to commit additional funds to St. Stephen’s; not just to help them but ensure that they survive. Currently we are about 70% of our way to raising $1million dollars, but only from about 54% of eligible families.
St. Stephen’s is just one example of the tremendous need in our community. There are many others. But what is clear is that this is how your gift becomes real and how, like the brave men and women we honor this weekend, you can step up to serve a mission bigger than ourselves.
Thank you for listening.