I have no idea how much she had in that envelope, but I know she was totally committed to having it every time she went to Mass. When I entered first grade, I was given envelopes and did the same…always a small amount of change to put in the collection plate. My mother also worked with the Altar Guild to prepare the altar for services. Stewardship.
When my husband and I came to All Saints’ we were new to Chelmsford. Our 2 boys were 2 and 4 and my husband had just begun his medical practice. We had purchased a home, had just one car and student loans. We were very happy with our choice of All Saints’, but really didn’t feel we had much to offer in the way of monetary contributions. About a year later, we received a letter from Walter Sobel, the pastor at the time. Yes, a letter, as there was no email back then. He was asking us if we would consider co-chairing the church fair. We thought about it briefly and realized that this was an opportunity for us to give back to the parish. We were fortunate to team up with the Cannistraros and Christensons and quickly were blessed with about 30 people willing to work on this project. We not only had a successful fair, but also had a good time working with the volunteers. And, we felt good about our contribution of our time. Stewardship.
As time went on we conducted Pre-Marriage classes for a couple of years. My husband also served on the vestry for a period of time.
I am sharing all this with you because, only now, do I realize that stewardship is not just about money. Yes, money is essential to the success of the parish and its property. However, the programs that the parish sponsors are equally essential to its success. Each person who comes to this church has something to offer that the parish needs. It might be time, it might be talent and it might be treasure. Hopefully, it will be some of each.
Many years ago my husband was in a position that required him to attend many committee meetings…not his favorite thing. He had a saying that I think can be applied to anything one gets involved in. He would say, if someone goes into a committee meeting without a report or something to offer and comes out without a job to do, that person did not need to be at the meeting. I would like to think the same applies to church. We come to church to worship God, but I like to think that not only can we get something from God, because, after all, he is responsible for everything we have, but also that we can offer whatever we have, be it our time, our talent or our treasure in His name.
I think it is important that we keep in mind the challenge the church will face come January when Reverend Bill leaves us. We need to be sure we keep the organized ministries that provide so much to the parish and community intact and ongoing.
Several weeks ago we were each given a pamphlet inviting us to Worship, Study and Serve God in the Way of Christ. In that pamphlet there were 45 opportunities from which to choose! And, by the way, none of them involve giving money! It seems almost impossible that there isn’t something in there for everyone. I hope there we can find enough stewardship to maintain the status the parish has achieved today.