From Canon Anna Carmichael
“Let us with gladness present the offerings of our life and labor to the Lord…”
This year we’ve been focusing on stewardship in a variety of ways; be that financial stewardship, creation care, relationships, self-care, or care of our neighbors. Stewardship is not a “one and done” or a program; it’s how we live into the Jesus Movement.
What we know is that Stewardship is rooted in love; it’s about nurturing our community in all of its complexity. So if we are being good stewards of relationships, then we begin to see how that impacts the life of the congregation, various ministries, and the overall health of the community.
So I want to invite you to consider these stewardship connections:
–Through the support of Episcopal Relief and Development, we were provided a grant to support individuals and families who have been affected by the Detwiler Fire. This grant is in addition to monies from the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund, which means contributions from you. If you feel called to support these folks in need, the easiest way is to support the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund. In other words, by being good stewards of our resources, we are being good stewards to our neighbors.
–We have been the recipient of a United Thank Offering (UTO) grant to support several congregations in their food related ministries. We are asked to be good stewards of those fund as we serve individuals and families in our communities who need food assistance. We are also asked to contribute financially to UTO to support future grants. The Bishop and I are challenging every person in our diocese to use a piggy bank, a “Little Blue Box,” an envelope…whatever you collect loose change in…to give a minimum of a penny a day as a thanksgiving for UTO. At a minimum, that’s $3.65 per person. Whatever your thanksgiving offering is, we ask that in your congregation you collect these gifts and present them at Diocesan Convention. We give so that others may receive.
–By welcoming our Presiding Bishop, Michael Curry to be with us in November, we are inviting ourselves, our neighbors, and those we may not even know yet, into a conversation about how we are Called to be…A Safe Place for All of God’s People. This form of stewardship is all about welcoming, serving, and loving each other. It will be a time of song, dance, reflection, prayer, and listening. And we need you to be a part of it. This is our stewardship of relationships. We need to hear you, to dance with you, and to pray with you.
–On the local level, we also know that “stewardship season” is quickly approaching. I shared with you at the Special Meeting of Convention information from The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS), and would be happy to meet with vestries and bishop’s committees to help you plan and utilize the tools provided by TENS. This is my stewardship offering to you, because we want you to be a healthy community that not only meets the financial goals of the congregation, but one that welcomes, loves, and serves each other and your neighbors.
Stewardship is not meant to be a chore, a to-do list item, or a task…it’s everything we do after we say “We believe…” Stewardship is rooted in love and is a gospel imperative, and I am grateful to be practicing stewardship with you.