We will celebrate In-Gathering Sunday on All Saints Day - November 1.

When we first started planning our In-Gathering Sunday, we realized our traditional Sunday for the In-Gathering would fall on Nov. 1, which is All Saints Sunday. As we discussed the timing, we wondered if holding the In-Gathering on such a feast day was appropriate. Uncertain, we decided to charge ahead. But as we prepare for that In-Gathering now, I am convinced that we made the right decision. You see, All Saints Day is the day that we honor all the saints who have been witnesses before us. On that day, perhaps we imagine them as a cloud of witnesses; perhaps we imagine them processing with the choir, leading us forward to the altar and back out into the world; or perhaps we imagine them sitting in the pews beside us, as people have been doing for over 50 years. Regardless of the image, we honor the ways in which they have shaped the Church, spread the Good News in their time and gifted us with the Church as we know it today.

In that light, I am glad we chose All Saints Day as our In-Gathering Day. We too will be making a glorious procession on In-Gathering Day. Collecting up our prayers and conversations from the last four weeks, we will bring forward the fruits of that time of discernment and be placing our pledge for the coming year into a basket, to be blessed. We will sing, we will process (or dance, if the Spirit moves) and we will share the aisle with the modern-day saints of St. Margaret’s. Our joy comes not out of a sense of pride that we are generous pledgers (though we hope you are). Instead, our joy comes out of a sense of gratitude. Only when you have spent four weeks contemplating how generous God the Giver has been in your life – the vast abundance God has blessed you with – only then can you offer up a gift of gratitude that is genuine and from the heart. Pledging is not a burden or requirement. Pledging is our joyous reflection of the blessings in our life, all brought forth through the grace of God the Giver.

I like to imagine that the Saints will be with us on In-Gathering Sunday. I like to imagine the Saints walking along with us, holding our hands in our uncertainty and attempts at trust and high-fiving us after we place our pledge in the basket. I like to imagine the Saints joining us at the Table, honoring all of the good work that God is doing at St. Margaret’s. I like to imagine the Saints grabbing us by the arm and excitedly driving us out into the world to share the joy that touches us on In-Gathering Day. Needless to say, In-Gathering Sunday is a day you won’t want to miss: one that promises to be full of the Holy Spirit and one that will fill your cup to overflowing. This celebration that merges all that has gone before us, all that is and all that will be, is one not to be missed. I look forward to high-fiving those Saints with you!

Christ’s Peace,

~The Rev. Jennifer Andrews-Weckerly