Thoughts on Stewardship – August 2016

If for some reason you come by our building during the week it is very likely that you’ll run into somebody doing something – mowing the lawn, fixing a light, watering the gardens, weeding the gardens, repairing playground equipment, painting something …  The list could go on.  And I don’t want to single anybody out – I’m sure that if I were to try to make a list I’d leave off lots of people – it seems appropriate to lift up the names of people like Jim Souder, Mike Martin, Sallie Kate Park, Sally Taylor, Walter Hoffman, and Walt Megonigal.

Most often when we think about “stewardship” in a congregational context we think about money.  The word “stewardship” is often tied to the word “campaign” just as the word “pledge” is usually tied to “pledge.”  And whether you call it a “pledge drive” or a“stewardship campaign,” you’re really talking about our efforts to go out and encourage people to donate money to support the congregation.  (And before trying to separate those things a bit in your mind — If you’ve already pledged for the 20162017 church year, thank you.  If you haven’t pledged, you can do that right on our website!)

The Year-Round Stewardship Team would like to expand our congregation’s thinking about what “stewardship” is.  The etymology of the word gives it the meaning of, essentially, taking care of something for someone else.  For us, then, “stewardship” is about taking care of our congregation so that it can be here for us, for the rest of our congregation, for all those who have not yet found their way(s) through our doors, and for those who never will yet who nonetheless need the gifts a liberal faith offers the world.  Financial stewardship, then, is obviously an important element of this.

Yet so is taking care of our buildings and grounds – the physical spaces that give our community as sense of place.  That means that people like those I mentioned earlier are Stewards of TJMC, whether they contribute financially or not.  And the people on the Membership Committee, and those who serve as lay Pastoral Visitors, or who provide food for CareNet are Stewards too – stewards of the people.  Those who serve the congregation as lay leaders – and I’m thinking now most specifically of Board members and, especially, our new President, Karen Ransom – could rightly be called Stewards of the institution of TJMC.  And none of these have anything to do with money.  People can be – are – Stewards who take care of TJMC on behalf of others whether they can, or do, contribute any money at all.

If you would like to be in touch with the Stewardship Team with an idea for ways we can promote a more full understanding of stewardship in our community and encourage more of our members and friends to be active stewards, send a note to RevWik ([email protected]).

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