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St. Patrick’s Stewardship Talk, Sunday 11/27/16 10:00AM Service
Presented by Gary Thomsen
I’d like to take a few minutes to share with you my perspective on stewardship.
First, my background. Mariel & I became members of St. Patrick’s in 1997, that’s almost 20 years. I’m currently on the Rector Search Committee. While on that subject, let me say that our progress is on schedule. By mid-December we will be publicly advertising for a new Rector. In the past, I served on the vestry for 6 years. I also took a four year course at St. Patrick’s called Education for Ministry or EFM. With 4 years of EFM training, I thought it shouldn’t be too difficult to find something profound to say about stewardship. Well, I was wrong, it was tough.
What I can say is that:
· Jesus not reluctant to discuss money – over half of his 44 parables concern money or one’s possessions.
· One verse in every six in the first three Gospels relates, either directly, or indirectly to money.
· And Luke, Chapter 12 says, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also”
· Billy Graham put a different spin on this verse. He said, “A checkbook is a theological document; it will tell you who and what you worship.”
· Martin Luther said, “People go through three conversions: their head, their heart and their pocketbook. Unfortunately, not all at the same time.”
So, enough about money - What is stewardship?
It is a response we make in gratitude to God for what has been given to us.
The response is classically broken down into: time, talent, and treasure.
· Let’s talk about “time”
o Time to relax and unwind is important
o Time with your family & friends is very important
o But remember, in a larger sense, this parish is your family
§ This was made very clear to me in the final months of Mariel’s battle with cancer. The support and comfort that we received from the St. Patrick’s family got us through that very difficult time.
· What about “talent”?
o In 1 Corinthians 12:12, Paul says “Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.”
o I would add, “so it is with St. Patrick’s”.
o Many of our members generously share their talents as part of our parish body. However, as mentioned in the Green Light Gatherings, some of our volunteers, who we see frequently, are getting tired. We need new blood.
§ I am good at fixing things, so I am on the flannel team
§ As a pilot, I am analytical, so I was on the finance and audit committees.
§ What are your talents? How can you share them?
· And now back to our “treasures”
o If you want to feel rich, just count all the things that money can’t buy. (Our surroundings, for a start)
o Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give”
It is certainly inappropriate to suggest how much you should pledge to our parish; however, I do encourage you to participate in our stewardship program by submitting a pledge.
· While your pledge is strictly confidential, the total of all pledges is significant in our financial planning.
· We use these plans to prevent things like the budget deficit that we have had for the last three years.
· Our rector candidates will most likely review these plans in considering St. Patrick’s as their new parish home.
In conclusion, while we may not always make ends meet, I want to reinforce what Connie & I said in the stewardship letter that you should have received last week, what Cindy said in her stewardship remarks last Sunday, and what Canon Catherine, from our diocese, said as we drafted the parish profile for our rector candidates --- and that is, that St. Patrick’s is a blessed, thriving, and exceptional parish.
Thank you for your support of our stewardship program.