A year ago, I was starting a new life. I’d graduated from law school a few months earlier, passed the bar, and had just begun working at law firm in upstate New York. On the outside, everyone thought I was a success. But on the inside, I felt like a failure. I couldn’t stop thinking about my three-year tenure as a youth minister prior to law school, a time when I’d felt so much joy and purpose. I felt none of that while practicing law. The first Sunday after my first week of work, I popped into a (please forgive me) nondenominational church on a whim. The preacher spoke about how when we’re on the wrong path in life, it’s never too late to turn back to God. Never in my life have I heard a sermon where God spoke to my situation more directly.

Eventually I did turn back. I left my job, moved back home, and started looking for whatever new path God had in mind for me. During that search, I found my way back to St. Paul’s, a place that I came to know as a summer intern in 2011. As the search process unfolded at St. Paul’s, stopping and starting many times owing to the evolving nature of my position and the coronavirus, I began to realize that in these trying days, St. Paul’s was the right place for me to resume my career in the Church.

You don’t need me to remind you that we are living in tumultuous times – you live it every day. An unprecedented economic crash, an historic pandemic, a unique moment of wrestling with our nation’s fraught history of racial injustice. We’re experiencing it all at once. I am convinced that we are living in a moment that calls out for the Church to witness powerfully to the broken structures that have gotten us into this predicament, and offer the way of Jesus Christ as a better option. Stewardship isn’t only about making sure the roof is intact and the utility bills are paid (although that is important). Stewardship is about making sure that when moments like this arise, the Church has the resources at her disposal required to live fully into the Gospel.

A year ago, I was on the sidelines and frustrated. Now I’m back in the arena, and I couldn’t be more excited. I chose St. Paul’s because I wanted to, as the original St. Paul wrote, “fight the good fight of faith” (1 Timothy 6:12) again in a special place, filled with wonderful people, which has so much to offer our community and the world. In 2021, I hope you’ll join me in that fight.

-Dylan Thayer