stewardship as the way of love

A weekly Rector’s Notes Article, October 28, 2019

When we launched our stewardship campaign we talked about stewardship in the way of love, framing our understanding of what it means to be stewards in this call of the life of faith that would have us walk in the footsteps of Christ, footsteps that lead a way to love. Today I want to turn that understanding even a bit further and have us consider stewardship as part of that way of love, rather than something that is only seen through the lens that has been offered.

I have used the phrase “stewards as care takers” frequently in this stewardship season because I think it points to a fundamental reality about what our stewardship means to not just this physical house of worship called St. Stephen’s, but to all who come to worship here, all who come to learn here, all who come to pray here, all who come to rest here, all who go from this place calling others to turn back to God and receive the blessings that are on offer, every single moment of our lives. If we are truly care takers of this place, of each other, of our community, then we cannot help but support the work of this church and the myriad of ways we make an impact on people’s lives.

Back in February of this year, the vestry and I put forth two challenges that we wanted to embrace as our “Mutual Ministry Agreement,” meaning that through our collective work as a congregation we could achieve these two goals: (1) Strengthen and Grow our Ministries with those on the Margins (specifically homeless) and (2) Establish a formal Pastoral Care Ministry. These two goals reflect the reality that the church is called to be care takes in many different ways, both externally and internally.

Through working towards these goals, we have begun to realize the impact we do make on hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of unique individuals in our community today, and where we continue to make strides in providing a greater impact, more access, more care for not just those who desperately need Christ’s love shone on them, but our own church family that needs to know that Christ’s love is always with them even in times of distance or illness or steady decline.

The work we have done towards achieving the goals in the Mutual Ministry Agreement illustrates what it means to be stewards of this place and the resources we have to reach as many as possible. These goals we have set clearly show that we understand stewardship, that we understand care taking, to be a part of the way of love, and we step up every single day to make that reality known to our community.

When you come to church this Sunday to celebrate All Saints, I hope that you will remember all of the saints that have come before us in this work at this place, and I hope that you are inspired to commit through your stewardship the support needed to insure that generations of saints will continue to be blessed by the worship of this place, by the teaching of this place, by the rest it can provide, and through all of this, to know that we at St. Stephen’s are care takers of the way of love.

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