Observations on Generosity

It is hard to believe that my family has been worshipping at FPC Raleigh for 30 years. As I have often heard and now find myself frequently saying, the time has passed in the blink of an eye. I volunteered to write these observations because if there is anything I have seen plenty of around these halls, it is generosity, specifically:

Generosity of Vision:

Jim Nichols and I were asked to lead the building committee when the old education building finally had to go. Working with the architect, our committee embraced the challenge of replacing the labyrinth of narrow hallways with light and open areas, expanding vertically to centralize our Church campus with offices and classrooms, and renovating our sanctuary, which often meant recapturing elements that our committee forebears in 1900 and 1950 had created. The division of labor in the church rebuilding process was that our committee designed it, then gave a cost estimate to the campaign committee to raise the funds for it. Even after all of our value engineering, the projected cost was $11 million dollars. Frankly, it was more than our campaign consultants said our church could support. That’s where you, members and friends of FPC, came in. Thanks to gifts large, medium, and small from people living, and from the estates of FPC-loving folks who would never even see our efforts, we paid for the construction and later for the carrying costs of the construction loan. We said it then and I’m delighted to repeat it now: on behalf of the building and campaign committees, thank you all for your generosity in making this vision a reality.

Generosity of Muscle:

Throughout the year, I enjoy the Moments for Mission as we hear from or are introduced to our local, national, and international mission partners. It is especially uplifting to learn, as is often the case, that Mr. X or Ms. Y, members of our Church, have been strong leaders in many of our mission efforts, usually for many, many years. Our mission partners are as varied as our membership; the Holy Spirit leads us to plug in somewhere at various times and with varying levels of generosity, all of which make a significant difference. Certainly our mission dollars help make these efforts possible, and that combination, along with our members’ muscle and dedication to the cause, is truly inspirational.

Neighborhood Generosity:

Back to buildings—when we moved the Church offices into the new building it created an opportunity in the Ed Stock Building that has been backfilled with much needed space for our local mission partners. With 124 S. Salisbury in the mix, the Stock Building is now “Mission Control”, a thriving outreach operation that actively involves lots of people— members, outside volunteers, and professionals alike—impacting lots of local lives. The FPC campus is filled with love, faith, and action seven days a week. All of this is to emphasize what the words in the bulletin ask us each week: how then shall we live? With gratitude and love, and those two vital elements of Christian life are what have propelled people around here for more than 200 years toward life-affirming generosity. I invite all of us to continue and strengthen that legacy as we move into 2020 and God’s Vision for our future.

– Kenneth B. Gwynn