Our 2023 Stewardship update
Dear Fellow Westfielders,
We sure have been through a lot together in the last few years, haven’t we? We just want to say thank you for being flexible and huge-hearted and for gracefully navigating what it means to have a thriving congregation on this side of the COVID-19 pandemic.
As Pastor Jon always says, we don’t always get it right—but we sure are trying—and our surrounding community takes notice.
We continue to show up for Killingly teachers and students. We open our doors to share a delicious, homemade free meal with all who stop by each month. We show up at festivals, fairs, and new events, such as Killingly’s Wild Night Out, to raise funds and support local leaders in their efforts.
Most importantly, we show up for each other through the joys and the struggles that life brings as we strive to be more like Jesus. We are woven together by prayers, laughs, tears, friendships—and sometimes sweat and sore backs! Those things keep us coming back. How about you?
We don’t take it lightly that, despite the challenges of this particular year we’ve continued welcoming new members into our community—each of them a blessing for the Westfield family. Our mission to welcome everyone, everyone, everyone offers anyone a chance to walk through our big green doors—where they may find their new spiritual home.
As you know, we are always fundraising. It takes a lot of people power and money to offer the services and programming we’ve come to appreciate as a church. We need to keep our momentum going, or we may have to make some tough decisions about which activities we can continue and which we may need to pause.
We are less than we could be without your commitment of time, talent, and, yes, treasure. For us to live as fully as we can into God’s call for our community, we need your commitment by Sunday on October 30th. Pledging is easy online at westfielducc.org/heart, or you can return the included pledge card by the end of the month. We encourage you to think about what belonging to the Westfield community means to you, and join us in pledging to support our church and all that we strive to do in the coming year.
Please know we understand that not everyone will be able to provide financial support that equals what they feel they get out of church. We also know that when we combine our time, unique talents, and treasure as a congregation, we empower our church to do greater things.
Your pledge matters, and it makes a difference.
If you have questions or want to talk to someone about Commitment Sunday, please reach out to us or to Rev. Jonathan.
Becky Ducat and Jennifer Johnson
Fundraising and Stewardship Chairs
A CHURCH with HEART
It’s no secret that the last 2.5 years have come with huge changes and challenges. Worship doesn’t look like it did three years ago. Attendance, either. We’ve managed to create a digital presence that in 2019 wasn’t even on our radar.
But one thing that hasn’t changed is this: we have always been and still remain a church with heart.
We strive to show up again and again. We work to care and to love and be present. We speak out about things that matter and welcome everyone, everyone, everyone.
We are a church with heart.
A CHURCH with HOPE
We are also a church with hope. We believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and it’s that very gospel that not only gives us hope, but compels us to share that hope with the world outside our storied green doors.
There are countless ways we spread hope in our community—from free meals to thousands of candy-stuffed easter eggs to casseroles for convalescing members and friends to direct financial assistance to our neighbors most in need.
There’s an old latin phrase: Dum spiro spero. It means, “While I breathe, I hope.” We don’t just give folks hope, we have hope ourselves—that this world can be better than it is, that God will make all things right, and that we can make a difference.
We are a church with hope.
Making a commitment isn’t just about supporting Westfield. In fact, that’s not its primary purpose. Making a financial pledge of support is a way of honoring and thanking God for the blessings of our lives. In doing so, we not only honor God through our giving, we also do good for a community that has been so good to us.
Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.
WHY SHOULD I GIVE TO WESTFIELD?
Historically Jews, and later Christians, tithed, meaning they gave 10% of their income to God by offering it to the communities that did God’s work. Pledging to a church is different than pledging to other organizations.
We give to the church in an effort to return to God some of the blessings that God has given to us. It’s a way of showing our gratitude for all God has done, and it shows our commitment to continuing the work of God in the world.
Think of the ways this church has changed your life: the community it has provided, the comfort it has brought, the joy it has imparted. We are in the business of changing lives. In fact, chances are we’ve changed your life. Giving to the church helps us to continue that good work.
Making a commitment to financially support the church is a way that you empower our ongoing work. It is important to make a commitment and to take it seriously. We use your pledge to help us responsibly budget for the upcoming year.
WE KNOW THINGS ARE TIGHT.
It’s no secret that family finances are tighter than ever. And it’s no surprise that for each of us there are a myriad of causes that are worthy of our contributions. Let’s be clear: money is only part of what Westfield needs to survive. We are grateful for whatever you can give financially, but we also need your time. You’re always welcome and you are always invited to show up and be part of this great community.
And we need your talents–those God-given gifts that can serve this church and this community. Pray about what you can give and be mindful of all you have to offer, knowing that we are grateful you are part of the Westfield. family.
WHAT IS PLEDGING
For us, pledging is an annual commitment of your financial support for Westfield Church and its ministries. Westfield depends on your support—your giving of your time, your God-given talents, and your financial gifts. Instead of guessing at what we’ve got to spend on our mission and ministry in Killingly, we rely on pledging. That means, you make a commitment to how you can financially support our congregation.
This may seem strange. Why is the church concerned with money? It’s not their business what I can give.
The truth is that ministry takes money. We’ve got the same bills any business has—power, gas, staff. But more importantly, we’ve been called by Christ to care for those who struggle to care for themselves. When you pledge, you empower us to make a responsible budget that helps that ministry come into focus. It helps us prioritize, dream, and succeed.
Pledging is easy. You can quickly and easily pledge online at westfielducc.org/heart or return the card that came with this packet and tell us what you think you can give in the upcoming year. Don’t worry, you can always give more! Or, if circumstances change, give less. We understand.
GIVE WHAT YOU CAN
Why it MATTERS
In the nearly 307 years since our founding, we’ve learned a thing or two about what it means to be a community of faith. One of them is simple: just show up. Another is fun: celebrate. In 2022, that’s what we focused on doing—showing up and celebrating. In the past year, we’ve hidden more than 11,000 Easter Eggs, fed hundreds of free meals and baked countless pies. We’ve buried our dead and memorialized many in our community. Our goal is to care for the heart of Killingly, just as we have for more than three centuries. But more than just caring, we want to be the heart of Killingly.
Our ongoing commitment to care for the heart of Killingly has blossomed into monthly Be Our Guest Suppers, free meals that feed anyone in our community looking to eat. We also offer Soup on Sundays, a weekly free soup supper during the coldest months of the year. We regularly open our building to community use and are proud to pitch in wherever we’re needed in town events.
Your pledge helps all of this and more happen. We’ve got big dreams at Westfield Church—and it’s through God’s grace and your generosity that they come to pass.
A few years back, at the start of the Pandemic, we covered our church with hearts. Do you remember that? We lit the inside with the brightest lights we could, and that light streamed out through our windows covered in red cellophane hearts. It was like all the love we had for this community we’ve called home for more than 300 years and this world came bursting out of us and flooding into the night.
While I can’t say I’m grateful for the Pandemic, it has taught me to be more grateful for so many other parts of my life—among them, you. Thank you for your support of our church and its essential work for its community. Your commitment to Westfield Makes a difference.
As we continue to emerge from the Covid era, I’m struck by the resolute hope I see in our folks. It’s a hope that cheers us on, reminds us that this isn’t the end, that tomorrow’s coming, that the world didn’t end on Good Friday and the cross. That we are an Easter people.
Whatever you can commit to, please know how grateful I am for it. You matter to me and to this church. And with you, we are so much more than we ever have been without you.
With love and gratitude and hope,
The Rev. Dr. Jonathan Chapman
PLEASE PLEDGE NOW.