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Were we too bold last month when we suggested the recession was nearly over? We noted Fed Reserve Chairman Bernanke’s sightings of green shoots. Newsweek splashed its August cover with: The Recession is Over. Let’s hope they are correct. The pledge drive is on. We need to replace last year’s programmatic church budget cuts to fund our church adequately in 2010. Our vision is that every member household will make a pledge. In exchange for a signed pledge card, we will deliver a fine art print inspired by the poetry of Walt Whitman and created by Ross Jahnke. (See page 8. We cannot mail the print. We must deliver it in person on Sunday when you deliver your pledge card or at some other time.) The gift is the stewardship committee’s way of saying thanks for your loyal and generous support. We have no diocese, no bishop, and no business enterprise to fund our church. We are self-sufficient. The membership keeps the church open and operating through its pledges. And because we don’t sell tickets for admission or engage in wishful thinking, we must talk about money. Think of a pledge as part of your spiritual discipline. List your pledge as part of your monthly household budget. A pledge is not the extra coins in your pocket, not charity for the kettle outside Wal-Mart. A pledge is a regular contribution. And please, no apoplexy because the minister is speaking about money. First, I speak of money matters gladly because I want our church to thrive into the succeeding generations. Second, I write about pledging because a financial commitment to our church over time becomes a comfortable part of our lives, a discipline that helps us sort out our priorities in life, a discipline in which we can take pride. I make a pledge every year and pay it out over twelve months. Some pay online, some make an automatic withdrawal from their bank accounts. Others bring an identifiable gift to church. (Identification is very important for record keeping.) Bring your signed pledge card to church. Accept our thanks. Find a nice frame for your copy of the art print. But be generous. The Recovery Process ~ Persons beginning a 12-step program or others who are seeking a supportive, non-judgmental religious community are often referred to our church. That comes as no surprise. We have no membership creedal tests here; plus, we have a knack for redefining matters theological: higher power, community, process, creative interchange, Nature, ground of being, ultimate concern, creative becoming, god, goddess, God, Goddess, spirit, Spirit, the sum greater than all its parts, that than which nothing greater can be conceived etc. You add to the list. Send me your thoughts. I’m interested. I want to explore the spiritual discipline of the recovery process in our worship services on November 8. I’d like your thoughts on the subject of recovery. You may want to offer what in our church has been meaningful and helpful to you personally. Start with a private email or phone call: minister@PeaceStones.org. Please send your thoughts before November 1.