Hello! My name is Ben Baker. I’m a new member of the Session and the chair of the Generosity and Gratitude Committee. I’m also a public radio nerd; I spend almost all my time in the car listening to WXXI. In the last few months, I’ve been especially captivated by the station’s latest pledge drive messaging. How nice it is — the message goes — that there’s a community of people in Rochester devoted to supporting public radio; and how nice it is that you, too, can be a part of that community by pledging your own support.

I’m struck by this message because it echoes my commitment to Third Church. For my wife, Siri, and me, participating in a vibrant faith community has always been an essential part of our lives. When we moved to Rochester in 2015, we quickly began searching for a church home — and when we set foot inside Third Church, we knew we had found it. We were drawn in by the irresistible warmth of this congregation, and by its uncommonly strong commitments to spellbinding music, tireless outreach, and compelling preaching (a tradition that will continue when Rev. Segers joins us in January). A community catalyzed by these commitments is both irresistible and rare, and we knew we needed to be a part of it.

For us, being a part of the Third Church community means striving to love and support this church — its members and its mission — however we can. It also means that this love and support flow in both directions, nurturing and enriching us in manifold ways. In our work as Dining Room Ministry volunteers and Sunday School teachers; in our role as the Holy Family in the 2018 Boar’s Head Festival; in our service on church committees; and in our participation in the robust worship, musical, and social life of this congregation, Siri and I have been constantly struck by the privilege of it all — the privilege of participating in a community impelled by a desire to enact God’s love and further God’s work. How nice it is that this community exists, and how nice it is that we can be a part of it, giving of ourselves however we can.

It is in this spirit of gratitude that we pledge our consistent financial support to Third Church. We view this support as a joyful imperative we all share: a responsibility to support and uphold this community, and to ensure that it continues to thrive. This need for shared commitment feels especially vivid as we move together, undaunted, into a new chapter in our church’s life. The future — of Third Church, of Rochester, and of the broader world — is marked by tremendous need and great promise alike. In such a time as this, how blessed we are to be able to shape this future together, by pledging our generous and ongoing support to the ministry of this exceptional church.