Charlotte Culver

I have something I want to reveal to you about myself.

Each fall when it comes time to think about my St. James’ pledge for the coming year, I find it dif- ficult. There are several other worthy charitable organizations in which I have an interest and that need my help—and I’m sure that, like me, you have your own list. But St. James’ means the most to me, and when I count all the reasons why, I’m dumbfounded.

St. James’ is my bedrock. It’s where I go to strengthen my faith. Bible study classes and sermons have taught me what it means to be a Christian. And I am with people who, in all kinds of remarkable ways, do their best to follow Christian precepts.

And so I give as much as I can in an effort to give back for the blessing that St. James’ has become in my life. When I do this, I have a sense of acting in a way that affirms my faith. But even more than that, I have a joy in giving and a joy in being able to give, and this makes me feel doubly blessed.

I hope you’ll join me in helping St. James’ continue to carry out its life-affirming mission. I don’t know if you will find it difficult to make a pledge, but I can assure you that you will find it rewarding.

Waddell Stillman

I love to hear people say how long they’ve been at St. James’, what brought them and keeps them here. I came in my early 20’s and, in the blink of an eye, I’m in my early 60’s.

Well, not just a blink. In the meantime, Kristina and I were married here and my St. James’ parishioner parents died and their funerals were here. Our children came up through Cherub Choir, Sunday School, Youth Group and Confirmation here, making lifelong friends as they learned of God’s love for them and discovered that they are saints of God.

Quickly approaching, we are reminded every All Saints’ Sunday that we are part of the communion of saints that stretches across time. St. James’ continues connecting past, present, and future generations. Like every parishioner, whether a newcomer or a lifer: I’m still by turns a seeker, a disciple, a doubter, and a learner – falling short and trying again.

I’ve known St. James’ under prior rectors, and our search will find the next one. Brenda’s spectacular rectorship has spilled over into so many lives. Quite a legacy. Generations of congregants, and generations of rectors and staff, the saints of God, the friends of Jesus, each leaving a legacy. That’s the story of St. James’, now and always.

I’ve received far more than I’ve given, or ever could. So what’s my part? Annual stewardship, prayerfully considering what God is calling me to give each year as a sign of gratitude. But also, I’m increasingly thinking, a bequest that will grow and pay my annual pledge long after I’m gone: a perennial pledger’s sort of everlasting life. So join us for Consecration Sunday on November 13 to set apart funds for God’s purposes, and to support St. James’ timeless mission across the future generations of families and new rectors to come.

Holly Heston Rochell

My journey at St. James’ Church began when my daughter Ridley was born in 1997. I remembered my own childhood, how my parents loved to travel and together we visited beautiful Cathedrals throughout Europe, marveling at the cavernous spaces and stained-glass windows. A feeling of peace permeated those places. As a parent I wanted to explore the mystery of faith with my own family, I felt that I had missed something essential. So, I reached out to St. James’ to gather my kids under their wing and teach them for me. Without knowing it, I was receiving my own education through osmosis. My own faith grew in ways I never anticipated. If I was to teach my children that they should embrace God, I needed to do the same.

Fast forward, to 2008, I lost my dear father to Alzheimer’s disease, and my marriage fell apart soon after. I was lost and confused. In this painful time, it was St. James’ that remained constant for us. My kids were acolytes on Sundays while I was in the pews, afterwards we could see our church friends, and sing

that morning’s hymns on our way home. Church was a safe and happy place, where we could be sad or angry and still feel accepted by the community–many of whom had also experienced the same tragedies, and received the same unconditional love.

Ten years later, my mother died. With my Prayer Book in hand I led my adult children lovingly in prayer, sending her off to meet her beloved husband and her maker. We had learned and grown deeply in faith, we could feel joy saying goodbye because we had faith in an after-life for her. At St. James’, my whole family has gained the ability to hope for the resurrection. St. James’ has been a second family to us, and for that we are truly grateful. That thankfulness and hope is why we make a financial commitment to St. James’.

St James’ is a place where I receive and experience God’s love – it happens not just in Sunday Service and all the programs but also in the little spaces and the interactions with all of you. St James’ is also a place where I can reflect God’s love back out into the world and one of those ways is with stewardship. The constraints of this world are real and I feel my own limitations daily but my stewardship is an opportunity for me to acknowledge and humbly reflect God’s enduring infinite love.