“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 NRSV
November 28, 2021
The Akron of 129 years ago is a place most of us would recognize by looking at a street map. However, Akron’s total population in 1892 was roughly 1/5th of its population today and its economy depended primarily upon the production of oatmeal, farm equipment, match and rubber products. The only tires produced Akron were bicycle tires, a new product made by a single company. Some started to purchase their groceries at Acme #1 – then, the only Acme, southeast of downtown Akron.
Akron, like many of its residents, was about to undergo decades of significant and fast change as Akron and those living in it began to do many new things. Some families with the ability to do so started to move out of downtown to West Hill, seeking a newer neighborhood where they could live without the congestion and traffic of Akron’s existing neighborhoods.
It was 129 years ago this month that a group of women living in West Hill began to meet with the goal of establishing an Episcopal parish in their neighborhood – as an alternative to the existing Episcopal parish (over a mile away, when few owned or drove cars). Their group – St. Mary’s Guild – received “mission” status from our Diocese in 1892, a first-step towards becoming a “parish” (i.e., a self-sustaining Episcopal congregation). These women and their families made their mission a priority, both for their time and money. As a result, these families’ financial support allowed our parish to exist as a mission sustainably, without requiring funding from other parishes or the diocese. Today, we ask you like these families almost 130 years ago, to make a commitment of your time and financial resources to help our parish to continue to do God’s work in 2022.
We are at a new moment in our parish’s life as we, like our neighborhood and world, work to create a “new normal” in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The unmet needs of our neighborhood and world are greater than ever which is why we respectfully ask you to consider an increased commitment (as you are able) of your time and your financial resources so that we can continue to do God’s work – both, in and outside of our parish home.
Our parish would not exist and we would not be able to do God’s work as we do it today without the forethought, determination and intentional generosity of these early families, those who followed them and you – both through annual support and special gifts (both during life and at death). As we each pray and discern the new things that God is calling of each us to do in 2022, please listen for and be open to doing the new things that God is calling each of us to do and to providing our parish, as you are able, the necessary annual and special support to do the new things that God is calling all of us to do together as a parish.
The Stewardship Committee
P.S. This year, you will be able to make your pledge online or by paper, depending on your preference. As you prayerfully consider your annual pledge, we ask that pledges be received by Monday, December 20, 2021 to allow us the time we need to prepare and submit our Parish’s annual budget for the Vestry’s consideration.
Please online using this secure link.