Rev. Jill Duffield
Senior Pastor

It has been a week of blessings, big and small, unexpected reminders of God’s goodness and God’s people’s generosity. I’ve heard stories about our members tending to one another and to their neighbors, sometimes literally washing another’s feet. I know you are caring for those who are grieving and helping those who are struggling. I know you are remembering those on the margins of our society and those who most need to know they are beloved. I am not surprised by these acts of mercy and demonstrations of grace, but every now and then we get unmistakable reminders that God is working in and among us.

I received a letter in the mail from a long-ago member sharing the impact this congregation had on his life when he was young and struggling. He shared the encouraging power of weekly worship and the fellowship he found in the Young Men’s Bible Class. In the envelop was a check, what the writer of the letter labeled a “deferred contribution.” He detailed that when he attended here as a young man, he wasn’t able to give much in the way of money or time. After receiving an annual pledge card in the mail those many years ago, he said:

“I prayed, ‘Lord, what do you want me to do with this commitment card?’ And I got a six-word answer that I won’t forget, because when the Holy Spirit speaks, we don’t forget. I was told, ‘SON, WHATEVER YOU GIVE, GIVE JOYFULLY.’ There was no doubt about what I was told, but it wasn’t specific enough so I asked a follow-up question: ‘Lord, I’m only putting a dollar a week in the collection plate. Is that enough?’ Again, I got a six-word answer that’s unforgettable: ‘FOR NOW, A DOLLAR WILL DO.’”

He went on to write, “My attitude is gratitude for all of God’s blessings in my life.” In thanksgiving for FPC Greensboro he enclosed a generous gift to support our ministry. I was deeply moved by his letter, so I called him to thank him and to let him know how his story and gift inspired me. We had a delightful conversation and when I went home that evening, I relayed this unexpected letter and gift and conversation to my college-aged daughter. She paused and said, “When my friends ask me why I stay in the church, I tell them it is because the church is full of good people who want to do the right thing.” His act of generosity bore additional fruit in my own household, his testimony witnessing to a young adult in ways he could never have predicted. It led to a conversation about others she knows, I know, we all know, who are generous, compassionate, kind, people who are far from perfect but who are faithful, seeking in their day to day living to demonstrate all the fruit of the Spirit we’ve been exploring this Fall: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.

Thank you for bearing witness to the work of the Spirit in this place. Thank you to that long-ago member and to all of you for reminding me, and my daughter, what it means to be the church and why it matters.

Grace and peace,