Casting our nets into deeper waters
Dear St. Paul’s Family,
Every fall we find ourselves at the beginning of another Annual Commitment Campaign. Each year, this invites a moment of reflection and renewal, as we contemplate our individual and collective contributions to the life and mission of St. Paul’s. It is a season to consider the fruits of the work God gives us, and to envision the ways we can further cultivate God’s generosity in our community.
This year, our campaign committee connected this moment to the experience of the disciples in Luke 5:4-6:
“When Jesus had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.”
This story, at its core, is about finding the extraordinary within the ordinary, discovering depth in the routine of our work, and recognizing God’s generosity in every aspect of our lives. It’s not about the absence of fish (which, as any who have fished with me can attest, is a fairly ordinary occurrence), but the presence of abundance when we respond to a deeper call. The disciples were doing what they knew best, and yet, Jesus showed them that within the familiar, there was a depth of generosity and abundance waiting to be discovered.
At St. Paul’s, we are living this story. We are engaged in our everyday tasks, our worship, our service to our community, grounded in the richness of the rituals that shape us. Yet, within these actions, lies an invitation to delve deeper, to uncover the layers of God’s generosity, and to share this abundance with the world.
Stewardship is our collective response to this invitation. It’s not merely about financial contributions but a commitment to exploring the depths of our faith, talents, and resources in concrete ways that connect our commitments with others. It’s about recognizing that every act, every gift, is a step into deeper waters, revealing the abundance that God shares with us.
I invite you to reflect: How can we, as individuals and a community, continue our ordinary work with an extraordinary depth of commitment and generosity? How can we answer Jesus’ call to cast our nets deeper, to explore the boundless generosity that God is sharing with us? How can we share our gifts with the world as God has shared with us—freely, consistently, and abundantly?
As we approach Homecoming Sunday on October 29, let’s contemplate our journey and our role in the ongoing work of St. Paul’s. What has God shared with us? How will we share that? Let’s embrace the opportunity to venture deeper into our faith and commitment, discovering and sharing the extraordinary abundance deep within our seemingly ordinary lives.
Thank you for your continued faithfulness and dedication to St. Paul’s. Together, let us journey into deeper waters, uncovering and sharing the boundless generosity that God offers to us all.
The Rev'd Andrew Cannan
Andrew appreciates the diversity of the journeys that bring people to find a home at St. Paul's. He was baptized a Methodist, majored in religious studies at a Baptist university, married a Presbyterian, received a Master of Divinity as a Devil (the blue, basketball-crazed variety), and was ordained in a congregationalist church prior to finding his way as an Episcopal priest. "I was drawn to this strange Church that accepted the messiness of life and embraced it with grace and dignity. That sounded like a place where I could learn to live with God. That and I was always wanted to dress like Johny Cash.” In their downtime, Andrew and his wife, Ashley, enjoy East Carolina evenings in the backyard with their sons. On days off, he likely won’t be found fishing a remote section of the Eastern Pamlico that he is reluctant to disclose.