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  • Writer's pictureSt Clements Church Toronto

Make the Commitment

In April of 2013 - six months before I began serving at St. Clement’s - I preached a sermon about commitment. I was the Rector of a small, predominantly West Indian congregation at Jane & Lawrence in Toronto’s west end. Over the course of a year, we asked ourselves the following question: What is God looking for from the Church? We went before the Lord and one another in prayer and listening and received the following answer: To renew our commitment to God. Easier said than done! So we identified 10 practical commitments - everyday things each of us could do to live out our commitment to God. These 10 clarifying statements were all framed as “Make the commitment to….” And we completed those statements with the following 10 words:



1.  Attend     

2.  Invite     

3.  Welcome    

4.  Create a positive atmosphere 

5.  Grow    

6. Serve

7. Pray

8. Give generously

9. Be open to change

 10. Dream


All these years later, I’m struck by the staying power of these commitments; I still find them valid and helpful. That particular parish was located in a rough neighbourhood within the second poorest political riding in Ontario. And, during the last diocesan-wide fundraising campaign, our small parish was the #1 per capita giver out of maybe 75 parishes, more than doubling the fundraising goal that the diocese had set for us. As the Apostle Paul put it: Out of the most severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the saints. And they did not do as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then to us in keeping with God’s will.”  (2 Corinthians 8:2–5)


At St. Clement’s, we’re marking June 9 as Commitment Sunday. And the trajectory of our commitment is just as it was among the earliest followers of Jesus: “first to the Lord and then to us” - that is, to one another.


What is God looking for from the Church? To renew our commitment to the God who calls us each by name, lived among us in the person of Jesus, and empowers us still through the Holy Spirit. Commitment Sunday invites us to commit ourselves to one another through our Giving for Growth campaign: learning about it, praying for it, supporting it in whatever way that looks like for you. For those who have been visited, Sunday is an opportunity to return your completed pledge cards. If you’ve not yet been visited, Sunday is an opportunity to sign up for a visit. 


I invite you and your household to join me on Sunday as we celebrate the incredible work that God is up to at St. Clement’s. 


Yours truly in Christ,

The Rev. Canon Andrew P. Federle

Rector

 

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