Stewardship Resource

St. Philip's Miracle Anniversary Celebration: Celebrating a Heritage of Faith, Courage and Hope

Happening  Happening
  • Author: Jerry Hoffman served as an interim senior pastor at St. Philip's Lutheran Church of Fridley, Minn., Aug. 16, 2002, through May 31, 2003.
  • Updated: 08/22/2006
  • Copyright: St. Philip's Lutheran Church

St. Philip's faced major a major shortfall in financial resources in 2003.

Leaders of the congregation decided to celebrate the congregation's proud and successful 45 years of faith, courage and hope, including a special thanksgiving offering.

Planning and holding the celebration, along with the generous offering that ensued, has significantly lifted the spirits and the hopes of the congregation.

St. Philip's Miracle Anniversary Celebration: Celebrating a Heritage of Faith, Courage and Hope

St. Philip's is located in a second-ring suburb of Minneapolis. The congregation has a proud history of outstanding pastors and staff. The compassionate ministry reaches out to the congregation, community and the world. The congregation has an average weekly worship service of approximately 650.  

However, there has been a population decline, coupled with changes in pastors and struggles to maintain excellence in programs and ministries. The congregation has aged along with the community. A number of the mature contributors have retired and moved away. Others have chosen newer homes further out from the city. The economic downturn further discouraged growth in giving.

The result was a projected income shortfall of more than $180,000 -- almost 20 percent -- for 2003. This shortfall was in addition to accumulated deficit spending from previous years.

The board chose to put a hold on replacing staff including reducing the number of pastors from three to two. Sharp cuts were made in all program budgets. Needed building and grounds repairs were put on hold.

At the same time, the congregation was going to become 45 years old in May.  

The congregation leaders, led by the president, Owen Turnlund, became convinced that this was a time to celebrate the St. Philip's story, the rich heritage of faith, courage and hope that had been a hallmark of the congregation. It was a time to invite people to remember, give thanks to God and to present a special offering on May 18, 2003.

The 45th anniversary celebration was very successful. There was a high level of energetic participation, smiles, tears and heritage stories. One outcome was more than $70,000 in special offerings.

To learn more about what St. Philip's did, click on the following:

Anniversary Offering Appeal Case Words to encourage a generous gift to the 45th offering appeal

Offering appeal plans inspired by Lyle Schaller The Miracle Sunday Concept

Personal appeal letters sent by St. Philip's The actual letters

45th Anniversary Committee A position description for the committee

Anniversary Committee Meeting Minutes Indicates the work and plans of the committee

Letter from Anniversary Committee seeking heritage stories Gathering important stories of faith, courage and hope

Article on the celebration in the April newsletter

Article on the celebration in the May newsletter

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