Here's why one of our parishioners pledges...
The most striking thing from a visit to my parents in Central Illinois recently was the number of “W” flags flying in town. The W flag originated in the days before broadcast news as the signal of a Chicago Cubs win to commuters passing Wrigley Field in the elevated trains. With the team winning its first World Series in over a century, the town is lousy with them. It’s a great tradition spanning communities and generations.
The Cubs are inextricably tied to my family’s history: My great grandfather, after whom I am named, had the enviable record of attending every single World Series game played in Wrigley Field until the recently-completed one, a feat made possible by the fact that the Cubs last played in the Fall Classic in 1945.
This older Ike actually raised my father, whose own parents lacked the ability or inclination to care for a child. He and my great-grandmother were nearly 80 when they took in my dad, but they gave him a loving, stable home. And though they knew it was unlikely that they would live to see him graduate, they set aside money to pay for his college.
When the time came, the G.I. bill paid for most of my dad’s education. So, he let the fund grow until it was time for me to go to school. After my siblings and I graduated, there was still money left. We’ve let it grow, too. So, when Zeren begins college in 2030, 180 years after her great-great-grandfather’s birth, it will be paid for in part by that devoted old Cubs fan.
During stewardship season, we should all remember that at All Souls we are an integral part of something that extends beyond ourselves. As Jonathan reminded us, our church in some respects is different every week, as people are born and die, move into and out of the neighborhood. And now, of course, we have a new rector. Things change.
But this seeming impermanence cannot obscure the fundamental truth that here at All Souls we are part of something eternal. Our parish was founded over a century ago, the Anglican Church five centuries ago, and Christianity itself another 15 centuries before that. When we worship, we do so in communion with millions who say the same prayers and sing the same songs. And we join the generations upon generations who raised their voices across those many centuries.
All Souls is alive and well but it can do more and be more. We need to think not just about how to pay for the lights, the upkeep, and the new rector’s salary, but also about what we can do to ensure that the joy and comfort that so many of us get from All Souls’ Church will be here for our children and their children and generations none of us will ever meet.
My father is the last person alive who knew my great grandfather, a man born before the Civil War. But my father is not the only person who is aware of how much Ike did for our family, all of whom owe their comfort and security in part directly to him.
I think of the man each time I go to the same Wrigley Field to root for the same Cubs just as he did so many years ago; but I think of what he did for my family all the time. His sacrifices help me appreciate that I am part of a legacy that is still unfolding and that I must play my part in ensuring that it continues. This is what it means to be part of a family; to be part of a community. Please join me in ensuring the gifts we have inherited here can continue to be enjoyed by the parishioners of All Souls and passed on to those who come after us and to the children and grandchildren of those yet to be born.
Ike Brannon, All Souls Parishioner