A message from Bishop Bob Humphrey on the ForwardingFaith Campaign
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ,
We have all known of and celebrated the deep commitment of key leaders in our synod in the past to the ForwardingFaith Campaign. Today I want to add my own clear commitment to this exciting and critical opportunity to expand and secure two trademark ministries in the Virginia Synod – Youth and Young Adult Ministry and Christian Formation.
Let me start by giving thanks to God for the remarkable devotion and inspired leadership of Bishops-Emeriti Jim Mauney, Richard Bansemer, V.A. Moyer, Jr. and so many others, including Pastors Dwayne Westermann, Chip Gunsten, and Chaplain Paul Henrickson. They developed and shaped youth ministry in Virginia. Pastor Dave Delaney along with gifted lay and rostered ministers have taken it to the next level. For years we have been the standard by which other synodical youth ministry programs are measured.
Likewise, Pastor Jean Bozeman, Pastor Phyllis Milton, and Elizabeth Smythe along with a host of other amazing lay and rostered ministers have led the way with a host of innovative and inspired Christian Formation programs that now find expression in programs like Roots & Wings, Power in the Spirit and ACTS. Talented leaders like Pastors David Drebes and Pastor Karen Taylor continue and build on their vision.
Along the way how many children, youth and adults have been inspired and responded with love for God and others? How many youth and adults have had their faith and lives transformed? How many, touched by these powerful ministries, have gone on to attend seminary or lead in their congregations, communities, synod and the wider church? Answer: too many to count… Thanks be to God!
Because all of this is true, hundreds of lay and rostered ministers have already committed $2.25 million toward our $2.5 million goal. How exciting! We are almost there… and I have no doubt we will not only make our goal but exceed it! In fact, I can’t wait to see what happens when our members have a chance to tell us how much these ministries have meant to them in the past and how passionate they are to make certain we continue and enhance these ministries for the generations to come!
That is why I write you today. I want you to know I think this moment in our history is critical. We need to make certain every one of our members knows how committed and excited we are about these ministries and this Endowment. We need to create multiple opportunities in the next few months for members to pledge to this campaign. What better Christmas and Easter gift to offer our youth and children and all those to come, than faithful and effective youth ministry and Christian Formation?
So, please, do not push this aside or give it minimal attention. I served in the parish for 36 years. I know how hard it is to simply meet all the financial challenges of annual giving, reducing debt and finding ways to enhance ministry in your congregation. But, I honestly believe the ForwardingFaith campaign will enhance Youth and Christian Formation ministry, not only in the synod but in every congregation.
In other words, I believe when members get excited about this campaign that excitement will carry over to these ministries in the congregation as well. In most cases, the challenge is not that we don’t have enough money, it’s that we don’t provide a compelling reason to give. I think this is compelling…
When you hear from Pastor Westermann or one of our synod staff calling to see if your congregation will be a part of this campaign, just say “Yes!” And, ask how you can help. Thank you in advance for making sure this campaign has a solid place in your congregation’s life!
As we prepare for Thanksgiving, Advent and Christmas, I give thanks for you and wish you God’s richest blessings as once again, we celebrate God’s presence in our midst!
Bishop Bob Humphrey