Vestry Stewardship Statement (October 2015)
- to share generously our talents and resources with a hungry world in thanksgiving for God’s abundance and
- to acknowledge humbly our dependence on God.
Therefore, as the elected lay leadership of St. Luke’s, we commit ourselves to prayerful and generous support of God’s Church, according to our means, as a spiritual discipline and as a faithful response to all of God’s gifts to us.
We invite you to join us in expressing our thankfulness for God’s abundance.
If Jesus Christ is Love, Love himself, fear is his opposite. Fear is the adversary of our nature, and our struggle with it is not only emotional but spiritual. -Br. Mark Brown SSJE
Have you ever noticed how much fear is often in evidence when a congregation is preparing to make pledges of annual giving?
This fear may take several forms including:
- Fear of being pressured to give more than we want to give
- Fear of asking others to give
- Fear that the pledges will “not be enough to support the church budget”
- Fear that our money “won’t be used wisely”
Sometimes fear is a signal that we need to engage in self-examination and repentance. In the case of our pledge of annual giving to the Church, a sense of fear, or of fear’s cousin, anxiety, would be exactly such a signal.
We, ourselves, are the only ones who can know our financial circumstances and how much is appropriate for us to give to God’s Church. Prayerful consideration is the only way to determine what God is calling us to offer in support of God’s Church. What is God nudging us to do?
Our stewardship program avoids doing anything that might imply an effort to force people to do something they do not really feel called to do.
Worrying that our money will not be used wisely by Church leaders amounts to giving with strings attached. God’s gifts to us come without strings. We can use or abuse them, apply them or ignore them, cherish them or squander them. God gives them to us anyway and trusts us to act as faithful stewards. If you want better church leaders, the best thing to do is to pray for the ones you have-and then get more involved yourself!
What we do ask of ourselves and of everyone is that we carefully and prayerfully consider the abundance of resources God has given us to control and enjoy, to consider the importance of God’s Church to ourselves and to the community around us, and to respond to God with gratitude and humility by returning a proportional quantity of these resources, financial and otherwise, for the support of God’s Church.
Fear that the pledging will not be enough to support the church budget betrays that we have succumbed to the mentality of scarcity rather than trusting the abundance of God’s creation. However many loaves and fish we come up with, assuming we respond faithfully, we will have enough to accomplish God’s purposes.
Our hope is that the fall stewardship program is a time of reflection and renewal when we work especially hard to listen to how God is calling us to be the Church.
Pledge Sunday is November 22nd. Please join with our entire community in offering our pledges at the altar on that day, or you can download and print a Pledge Card and mail to: St. Luke’s Cathedral, 143 State St. Portland, ME 04101.
For a spreadsheet of our budgets from 2013-2016, click here.