The following article by LaNora Holcombe appeared in the July - August Central Florida Episcopalian
"Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Thoughts From The Stewardship Committee
Pray individually-- Ask God what He would have you do to assist in funding the mission and ministry of. St. David's by-the-Sea.
Pray corporately-- Each Sunday we pray that God's will be done at St. David's and pray that God meets our needs.
Reflect on your financial giving to the parish-- Have you been a faithful giver? Have you been a proportional giver or one who tithes? If everyone increased their pledge by a few percentage points, it would make a huge difference.
What other ways can you give to St. David's-- Can you help with painting or repairs. Can you work in the yard, pull weeds or spread mulch, have some computer skills, or help out in the church office?
Shift from being a giver of record to one who pledges.-- If you have been a giver of record, please consider making an annual financial pledge to St. David's. This assists the Vestry in making a realistic budget based on our anticipated income.
Consider making a legacy gift to the Endowment Fund.-- A great way to help in the overall financial health of the parish is to make a legacy gift, a donation of stock or by using some means of deferred giving. Consider making your pledge from your mandatory IRA distribution or appreciated stock...
A few Sunday’s ago, I was really taken by Fr Porter’s observation of St. David’s as a family. After all, we worship together, walk together in love, and do what we can to better the lives of our neighbors, our community, and the least fortunate – both spiritually and materially, just as we do with our families at home. At home, we all have to manage a household budget, not so much because it is an end unto itself, but rather because it is through proper household management that we are able to carry on with our other goals in family life. With so much change going on and our excitement in moving forward together, now might be good time for us to reacquaint ourselves with our parish resources, commitments, and all of the wonderous work we are doing through our Outreach programs. It is through this awareness that we can become better stewards of all that God has entrusted us with. It is through our financial support of the church that she can not only maintain but grow in spreading the gospel and love of Christ.
These past months have reminded us in so many ways of the strength and closeness of our St David’s community. Even in these months in which we have been physically distant and unable to gather in person, the Holy Spirit has kept us together, connecting us. Many in the media or in our society have referred to our churches as “closed”, but we have never been closed---we continue following the Gospel call to live in love with our neighbors, finding new ways to seek and serve Christ in all people.
We have continued to reach out to each other, our local community and the world. We have maintained our financial
support to our missionaries, Stephen and Tammy. The diaper drive in May and the collection of food and school supplies for Capeview Elementary School this summer have had an overwhelming response. These ministries of outreach have been so successful because our St. David’s church family not only believes but practices STEWARDSHIP AS A WAY OF LIVING.
As we continue to live and pray our way through COVID-19 and the way it has affected our worship practices, we need to be more committed than ever to the ministry and love we share with our community and our neighbors. St David’s continues to need your financial support during this time of physical separation from each other. Our ministry is funded through the gifts of its members---your generous offerings given in grace and love. Please continue to pray for the Church, pray for a cure and healing of COVID-19, pray for our new rector, Fr. Porter, and his family, Rebecca, Jet, Case and Ellis and how God is leading you in your life of Stewardship. The scriptures are full of examples of how we can live a faithful Stewardship life.
We must recognize that everything we call our own ultimately belongs to God. We are merely caretakers and stewards of all the goods and gifts which God so generously has provided.
Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 1 Peter 4:10
Stewardship is the art of serving – a way of living.
As we have endured the past seven months, the strength of St. David’s community has strongly underscored “the art of serving”. As our motto states, we are Joined by Faith; Living in the Spirit’ and Serving in Love.
I wish to share with you a profound statement by John Bunyan, who was an English writer and Puritan preacher in the 1600’s.
“You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.”
Thank you for continuing your support to St. David’s during these unprecedented times. You are serving your fellow parishioners and our community. Each and every one of us aggregates to something greater and is an amazing, positive force that shows the love of Christ through sharing our gifts of time, talent and treasure.
Over the last 20 years we have seen drastic changes in our world. From September 11th, to the ongoing war on terror and most recently Covid-19. We have had to adapt to each and every situation and we will continue to do so as a unified nation under God’s guidance.
As Christians we always have a personal responsibility to God and our community. Our relationship to God encompasses Stewardship and can be lived out in multiple ways:
1) We need to pray individually
2) We need to communicate God’s wisdom with others
3) We need to volunteer and assist the church in multiple ways: including cleaning after each service, assisting in the office, joining in outreach efforts, and the list goes on.
4) We need to keep up with our pledges as the church still has financial needs and responsibilities.
As we have lived through the last few months with Covid-19, it has been brutal.
In re-opening St. David’s there will be additional needs. We will undoubtedly be focused on cleaning and the most efficient and effective cost to safeguard our most blessed resource, our parishioners.
God Bless each and every person, country and the world.
STEWARDSHIP IS A WAY OF LIVING: What does that mean to you?
“Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms”. 1 Peter 4:10. Many of us hear the word Stewardship and think, money. That is a very important part of our stewardship life and we definitely can’t keep the doors open at St. David’s if we don’t give financially to the church. What each of us can’t forget is that stewardship is about so much more than money. It is about our spiritual lives: using our time wisely, loving and reaching out to others, taking care of our environment, using the gifts God has given us, sharing the love of Christ with others and participating in the life of the church.
While considering what to write for April’s stewardship message, I was struck by a piece of wisdom from the airline industry - If the air masks drop down, please fit the mask over your face before trying to assist others. In other words, being good Stewards of what God has given us means we must also take care of ourselves. While we all need to be reaching out to our friends and neighbors, we also need to take care of ourselves and our households. While we are a people of faith, that does not make us immune to stress. With the uncertainty and fear in the current environment, this stress can shorten our tempers, erode our respect for each other, and reduce our common courtesy. This is greatly exacerbated by the need to stay in close quarters with our loved ones for extended periods of time. Unfortunately, I have no suggestion of how to deal with this situation, but thankfully Paul does, when he reminds us:
Love is patient, love is kind. It is not jealous, [love] is not pompous, it is not inflated, it is not rude, it does not seek its own interests, it is not quick-tempered, it does not brood over injury, it does not rejoice over wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
THE START OF A NEW YEAR is both an opportunity to be reflective, and an opportunity to envision new goals. As we begin 2020, I hope we will all experience a revival of our love for our church and enhance our own spiritual journey. This is the perfect time to rededicate ourselves to using our Time, Talent and Treasure to better our church, our community and the world.
The holidays have passed and many of our New Year’s resolutions have long been forgotten. Now, the season of Lent is upon us. It’s our time to reflect on those things that bring us closer to God and others, and those things that keep us apart from God and others. Is God calling you to give Him more of your time through prayer and service? Are there opportunities for you to use your talents at St. David’s? What better way to draw closer to God than to give Him more of your time, talents and treasures. Make stewardship a part of your Lenten season. Stewardship is a way of life, but it is also a season and it lasts all year.
MEANINGFUL GIVING: A wise person once told me that the number one reason why donors stop giving is that they stop thinking they (or their gift} do not matter to the organization. I can say without reservation, that is not the case with St. David’s Church. In fact, it is your personal donations that have allowed St. David’s to build this church into an impactful peer-to-peer congregation currently impacting the lives of many people inside and outside the church. A recent award from the Sheriff’s Foundation to this church reflects this good will and charitable giving. Please continue to pledge to support the church activities and donate to support this ongoing effort. Your pledge and outreach giving makes a difference.