Stewardship Statement Today
I know I have a Southerner's tendency to ramble, so I wrote my remarks, to be sure I wouldn't ramble on too long. Here's what I said to the parish today:
Good morning. I’m a member of our Year-Round Stewardship Committee. We’re now in that annual season when we’re called to ponder what commitment we’ll make to this parish in the coming year. We’re urged to consider how much of our time, talents, and money we’ll commit to the mission and ministry of this parish.I was pleased with that text when I wrote it over the past few days. I had practiced and timed it. I made sure our priest and senior warden were ok with its length.
To any visitors here today, I welcome you, and I hope you are blessed by this community today.
But let me speak to the Grace parishioners. I know you love this parish! I expect that, like me, you’ve found this community of Grace to be a life-giving place … where we find “strength for the journey” and spiritual companions along the way. I expect you, too, have found here a place that inspires you to go into the world with the Gospel message … a place that empowers you to live out your baptismal covenant.
Now, my friends, it’s time to decide what we will contribute to the mission and ministry of God, which our parish exercises within the church family and in this community.
The Stewardship Committee encourages you to reflect and pray deeply about what you will do to live generously in this coming year and what time, talents, and money you will pledge to the work we have before us. Don’t just go home and fill out the pledge form. Dwell with it. Reflect and pray about it this month.
Now for the nuts and bolts, which you’re hearing every week during this Stewardship Campaign.
By now, every Grace household should have received one pledge form for everyone over the age of two. The form offers a wide variety of stewardship opportunities.
We hope each member of the parish will make a commitment for the coming year. We are seeking 100% participation – with pledges of service … or prayer … or money … or all of those.
Please bring your pledge forms to the in-gathering on October 30th. If you won’t be here that day, please mail your forms to the church office before then.
I don’t know about you, but I always feel that I receive much more from this community than I give to it. I know that God has blessed me more richly than I deserve. This is the time of year when we have the opportunity to reflect on the ways that we can give thanks to God … and be partners in God’s ministry in this place.
Let us all bend our ears toward the voice of the Holy Spirit and pledge to live and give grace-fully.
Here's what I did not expect: I did not expect my voice to crack in the penultimate paragraph. I did not expect it would take all I had to speak those words. I had timed and practiced the text over the weekend, and I had no problem with it. I never got emotional in those "run-throughs." But today, delivering it to the parish I love, looking at the faces of my fellow parishioners, I just lost it. It was all I could do to stumble through the concluding words. I am mortified that this happened.
Maybe that says something about my affection and commitment to this parish. But I sure didn't see it coming!