Jay Gillespie, Treasurer and Sharon Graham, Vestry member
MLK Day of Service, 2020
Dear member of the Trinity Church community, 

Blessings in the name of Jesus, whose love knows no bounds.

I am writing in part to send you an important letter from our church wardens , Cathy Gardner and Bill Lawson, and our treasurer, Jay Gillespie. The message is about the potential financial impact of the current health crisis on the church and what you can do. Please read it. ( CLICK HERE. ) On behalf of the vestry and for the sake of all, they and I need everyone to be informed.

I also want to share with you my own thoughts and my concerns for you.   
First, I have had several conversations with your lay leaders about church finances in these times, and I have another today. We are working hard to steward the financial resources of Trinity while also caring for those employed by Trinity. The Bishop and his staff are also engaged in this on behalf of every church. There is a strong sense in the Diocese of Pennsylvania of being in this together.

Likewise, we are in this together as a parish church. I support all the letter says. In addition, and beyond any effect on church support,  I want to know if you are struggling in any way, financially or other.   

I also believe we can grow stronger as a community through this time by “being there" for one another in new ways. We are already rallying around one another for spiritual and emotional support. Finances matter, too. So: below are 1) a plan I would like to launch and 2) a new idea for us to consider: 
1)  The plan: If you have a retail-type business that is suffering, we want to support you  — Please send me your website information and ways people can purchase from you. I plan to post these on our website. In other words, we can help advertise for you and encourage members to buy from you. 
2)  The new idea: A Trinity Relief Fund  — What if those of us who don’t need whatever checks the government sends to us were to create a fund for Trinity Church members, to be dispensed under my pastoral discretion? It would be a kind of Special Discretionary Fund, to be used only for financial relief of Trinity members. 
My thinking here is shaped by what the early Christian apostles experienced as they lived so intimately connected in the Spirit of God:  
Now the whole group of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one claimed private ownership of any possessions, but everything they owned was held in common.  (Acts 4:32)
...and Paul’s instructions to the church in Corinth:
I do not mean that there should be relief for others and pressure on you, but it is a question of a fair balance between your present abundance and their need, so that their abundance may be for your need, in order that there may be a fair balance. As it is written,‘The one who had much did not have too much,and the one who had little did not have too little.’ (2 Cor. 8:13-15)
Do you have any ideas for how we could support one another financially in this time? I know the Outreach Committee is working on ways to get food to the hungry while staying safe. Let’s be creative! Let’s approach these times with the joy of knowing ourselves undeniably and irrevocably in God’s care and connected to one another in God’s Spirit.

In God’s peace, with you in Christ’s love, 
The Rev. Edward E. B. Thompson, Ph.D., Rector
My office tel : 610-544-2297; ext. 102 (or “2” when prompted)
My email:  revted@trinity-swarthmore.org

For Pastoral Emergencies , unless we are in an ongoing situation and you have my cellphone number, please call the Church Office, then press “103” to leave a message (or “3” when prompted). This line automatically forwards to the cellphone of the clergy person on call. Most of the time, that’s me! But this allows for those times I am away and we have another clergy person ‘covering’. 
Trinity Church, Swarthmore (Episcopal)
301 N. Chester Rd.
Swarthmore, PA 19081 | www.trinity-swarthmore.org