On Sunday, April 15th, Andrew and Lisa Gifford presented a Mission for Stewardship statement. We would like to share it with you!
Good morning. I’m Andrew Gifford and along with my wife Lisa we would like to share with all of you this morning the importance of First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan to our family.
In 2012, Lisa, our then 10 year old son Max and I left Chicago, our Midwestern roots, family and friends to move to Connecticut. We were excited about a new adventure in Fairfield County, but we also had lots of questions. Which town would we settle in? Which school Max would attend? Where would he play ice hockey? Was it true that they had this thing called “Spring” in Connecticut? On behalf of our entire family, I apologize for bringing Chicago weather to New Canaan. If it’s any consolation, in Chicago we would call today a beautiful late May day.
We also didn’t know anything about our options for a church community when we moved to New Canaan, but from the moment we first entered First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan we felt welcome. Smiling faces and outstretched hands greeted us on those first Sundays six years ago. A progressive and inclusive message in a church community with a legacy of social justice immediately appealed to us. We had found a church home in New Canaan, but more importantly we had also discovered a community that would become a key part of our transition to life in Connecticut.
Our family has been incredibly fortunate to meet and to get to know so many amazing and inspiring people who also call First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan their church home. We have enjoyed the beautiful music that greets us each Sunday and pushed ourselves to think more deeply about social issues and our faith after listening to Paul, Kibbie, Mary and Chris’s sermons.
Max has participated in middle school and high school youth group activities, engaging in thought provoking discussions about important social issues in the Tate Barn on Sunday evenings; he has seen the importance of engaging in service work to help people in the area who can use a helping hand; and he has gone on mission trips filled with long hours of hard work and endless stories about shared experiences with friends from this church community that always bring a big smile to his face. This is also the church community that welcomed Max as a member of the 2016 confirmation class.
Lisa is currently serving as Elder for Congregational Life, I have served as a stewardship leader and am currently working as a member of the Interim Pastor search Committee. This church community has become a home for our family and we are very fortunate and thankful to be able to say that.
We are not just a community, we are a family.
Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”
One of the greatest blessings of a life is family. When the babies are baptized and walked down the aisle, they are introduced to their church family. Andrew, Max and I live a 1000 miles away from most of our families. However, we have been blessed with all of you. You all have become our East Coast family.
We really are a family. We spend Christmas and Easter together. We share the heartwarming joys of baptisms, confirmations and weddings and the heartbreaking sadness of illness and death. As with most families, we do not always see eye to eye, but we have all chosen to be a part of this family. This family believes in equality for all human beings, social justice and the power of love and compassion over hate and indifference.
Every family needs a home and our home is the beautiful new roof over our heads. Homes have operating costs and in order to maintain our home, we need every member of this family to contribute. An investment in this family and our home is one of immeasurable yield.
We know that the church means many of these same things and even more to everyone in the congregation, and that many of you have called this church community a home for far longer than we have. As many of you have probably seen, we have made great progress so far to reaching the Church’s 2018 stewardship goal of $800,000. In addition to the generous contributions at the end of 2017, 28 families and individuals
have contributed an additional $66,000 in recent weeks in response to Kibbie and Scott’s stewardship communication.
Thank you all very much for making this church the community that it is and as you think about everything that the First Presbyterian Church of New Canaan means to you and your family, please consider making a gift or supplementing an existing gift to the 2018 Stewardship Campaign. You can contact Barbara Wentzel, Armin Thies, the church office or visit the stewardship page on the church website for more information.