For my family and friends, it was all too easy to get caught up in the rush of MLB playoffs and the World Series. The general buzz, the amazing plays, the Panda hats, the ability for the team to grind out wins, the pitching of Bumgarner, the coaching, etc. As a lacrosse family, we don’t even follow baseball during the regular season. In fact, when I asked Abby & Ben if we should try to go to a playoff game, Ben replied, “why would we go to a baseball game?”….unfortunately, as parent’s of young teenagers, we sometimes get the same sentiment about church on Sundays. That said, our family watched the Giant’s progression with rapt attention. We even had the added benefit of enjoying the three final games of the World Series with a cadre of friends. In the last inning, of the last game, our joyous hosts took out pots and pans, and handed them out to 15 kids (including a smiling Ben). Every child chanted while BANGING pots and pans, as Bumgarner pitched the season’s final pitches. They then proceeded to parade down a Palo Alto street, raising a ruckus of clanging and cheering for anyone in town who may have missed the wonderful news. It was thrilling!
With the final game and last paragraph behind us, you are probably wondering where on Earth this could be going. Well, it strikes me as interesting to think about what it takes to win a World Series, or in this case, 3 in 5 years! Is there one thing? If not, what pieces are most important? Is it the financials & player salaries? (The Giants came in 7th out of all 30 teams in payroll, so good, but not the top 10% or 20%) Is it a mindset? Is it the fans & atmosphere? Is it community or teamwotk? Is it the coaching? Is it luck? I won’t pretend to even have an answer to these questions. I will share that I have been involved with the Stewardship Committee for a few years now and Vestry before that, and the above questions are similar to the ones we consider when looking into the heart of what makes Saint Mark’s so special, and how we can make it even more special.
I am pretty sure that our budget, like the Giants’, does not rank at the top of any list. I also am well aware that our budget does absolutely nothing to define who we are, the impact we can have on our community, or how successful we perceive Saint Mark’s to be each year. BUT, I am 100% sure that our budget and the Stewardship Campaign are important supporting cast members every year. Without them, we would not be able to “field our team”, and achieve what we do, year after year.
At Saint Mark’s, we won’t win a World Series, but on any given week and any given Sunday, if you look carefully, you may find something not so dissimilar: Salying or Matt (and our wonderful guest preachers) delivering a sermon as moving as Bumgarner’s pitches; Vestry and Finance working hard to masterfully optimize our annual budget; our choir belting out a song that can bring you to tears; loud outburst of claps and laughs erupting from our sanctuary; outreach that is truly making a difference in the world, loving support for our wins and our losses, or a parade of parishioners on Palm Sunday.
So, you can keep your pots and pans in the kitchen if you wish, but it is time to celebrate! It is time to take to the preverbal streets, and make a LOT of noise with a pencil and a pledge card! YOUR pledge and support, no matter how much, will ensure that our string of wonderfully winning years is kept alive.