The Renewal Works Program has made me aware of my own spiritual journey and I am becoming increasingly aware that there are many facets to this journey. In fact, I recently discovered that stewardship is one of these facets as I reflected on our annual stewardship campaign and I’d like to share with you a bit of my own evolution.
I first came to Holy Cross in early 2011 several weeks after my mother died, and after I had been away from the church for about 15 years. Over the course of that first year I responded when the plate was passed and later that same year I pledged during the annual stewardship campaign.
In late 2014 I became a vestry nominee and one of the requirements was that I “be known to the treasurer.” In other words I needed to support the church financially, and since I did, I moved on without giving it any real thought. At the vestry retreat the following January I became a member of the Property Team and as such I shared oversight responsibilities with the other Property Team members for Building & Grounds and Finance. The immediate issue before us was that the budget for the new year had not been finalized and this immediately tapped into who I was personally. When I was in the 8th grade I represented my school, Wallace Elementary, at the Duplin Country Spelling Bee and sat down about half way through the contest when I misspelled the word “frugal.” I had never heard the word before that day, but it must have been some sort of foreshadowing, because it described who I would become. Discovery.com defines it as follows: “economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful.” My sense in retrospect is that I was born this way and the circumstances of my life have reinforced and continue to reinforce my sense of scarcity with regards to my own welfare ……………..and now back to the 2014 budget.
During the time that the budget was in flux I had a casual, amenable conversation with another Holy Cross member who indicated they had decided not to pledge that budget year though they had in the past. The remark resonated on two levels. As a vestry member on the Property Team I now had some responsibility for the budget of the church and on a personal level I wondered what in the world I would do, if, the main source of my income informed me in passing that they were going to start sending me “what they could, when they could.”
This sincere, passing remark sparked a conversion in my perspective and my pledge became intentional from that moment on. I still view life from a place of scarcity when things go awry and I even borrow trouble from time to time, but I find I am able to respond to life and situations from a place of faith and even abundance.. My pledge is no longer an obligation, a pharisaical checking off of an item on my being a good Christian to-do list as it used to be, but rather my acknowledgement to God that all I have comes from Him and my goal (though unattainable) is to use everything He’s given me, time –talent- treasure, to His Glory. My stewardship message is simple: whatever and whenever you give, do so intentionally and with joy.
One last thing I’d like to tell you about is an offshoot of our stewardship campaign this year. The vestry wants to hear what you think during this campaign and we’ve devised a very short list of questions that we hope will help us find out what works for you at Holy Cross and even what doesn’t. Jerry or one of the twelve vestry members will contact you within the next couple of weeks to find out whether you prefer a phone call, personal interview or some other means of answering these questions. The vestry hopes, first of all, to acknowledge your responses, address any issues that we find and finally to share with our new priest-in-charge information that will be helpful in going forward.
Yours in Christ,