(2020 Stewardship forms linked at bottom)
So, what has been our focus this last year or so?
Throughout this current Biblical Stewardship programme, we have been thinking about how to keep our bodies minds and spirits strong and healthy so we can do our bit, using the gifts we have been given, to work with God to build God’s kingdom on earth.
In Fall 2019, we concentrated on looking after our physical selves as Stewardship of God’s gift of our bodies. We looked at such things as the importance of exercise, diet, and physical health.
After Christmas, we looked at mental and emotional health, and what we could do to prevent such things as loneliness, and we realised that social contacts and community are essential.
Then Covid struck and everything changed! We could no longer be in church to listen to talks by our friends or pick up materials.
This Fall we moved on to matters of spiritual health. We still have difficulty making sure that everyone has access to materials, but we have begun to explore prayer styles and to learn from other people how they experience God. We have not yet nearly completed this theme, but never-the -less it is now necessary to change the focus temporally.
So here goes……
Throughout all of this, our church has played a vital part. We come here in person or on-line to be fed and strengthened in so many ways.
“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind; and your neighbour as yourself.” Said Jesus (Luke 10:27) Stewardship is a Fact.
You took it on at your baptism and confirmed it each time you repeated the Baptismal Covenant. Stewardship is about how we use the gifts God has given us to collaborate with God to make the world a better place, to help build the Kingdom of God on Earth.
Perhaps we are being even more generous than usual this year maybe because we recognise our privileged position here in Canada. These things are all amazing. Truly our church, the building, the garden, and most of all the people have been blessed during these dark months. If anyone doubted that our church (in its many forms) is a gift from God given to strengthen, support and inspire us, surely those doubts have vanished? And as Good Stewards, we will use that strength, support, and inspiration, to do God’s work of making our world a better place. That is what St. A’s people do, and that is Stewardship!
I have often mentioned that Stewardship is about much more than simply money. But this is a time when what is needed is money, our commitment of adequate funds to ensure the financial health of the parish. This is Financial Stewardship, and it is about money.
We do this every November together with every other Parish in our Diocese. Some of our resources must go to our Diocese, and through them to our National Church. .(This is called Apportionment.) These funds enable St. A’s to be involved in the larger national and international work that we could not do at a local level. This is still Stewardship, it is God’s world that we are trying to help, not just Fulton Place or even Edmonton. People need help overseas as well in isolated and underserved areas in our own country.
Interestingly enough, our model for Stewardship – good and bad – is based on the Parable of the Talents spoken by Jesus to illustrate Stewardship, so that people could understand what it meant. The ‘Talents’ in the story were coins! Jesus had a lot to say about money! (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27)
As I am sure everyone is aware, the money you choose to donate is just about the only income our church has. Rentals, and such events as weddings, are presently at a minimum. Out of donated funds, we need to pay for everything from salaries, to utilities, to snow clearing, to toilet paper.
Good Stewardship also means taking responsibility for seeing how donated funds are spent. For this reason, a draft budget will be presented at the Annual Meeting in the new year for your approval.
Documents included with this letter will provide information about how to donate in these days of Covid, and of course you will receive a receipt for income-tax purposes at the appropriate time.
God has given and continues to give us our Parish, its community, and the wider Church, in order to strengthen and inspire us so we can carry out the tasks to which we are called, namely to look after our planet and God’s people; to make God’s world a better place.
To summarise, St. Teresa wrote 500 years ago, ‘God has no body now on earth but ours.’ If the hungry are to be fed and the homeless are to be housed, we must feed and house them, how else will God look after them? We are God’s Stewards trusted to do God’s work, and that is an immense privilege.
Our role in this, at this time of year, is to ensure that St. A’s can continue doing what it does best, and we need to do this by making sure that our Parish, has the funds it needs to pay the bills and share in the support of the wider church.