October is Stewardship Renewal Month here at the Church of St. Edward. As a parish we celebrate the ministry we have offered and are offering to continue Jesus’ work on this earth. As families and individuals we reflect upon our call to stewardship. What can we offer in time, talent and treasure to support our parish’s good work? Yes, every family, every individual is called to stewardship. Granted, we are all busy handling the many demands that life places upon us; and yet, we still are called to support the Church, both the broader institution and our local parish.
Consider the following story:
Dr. Karl Menninger, the famous psychiatrist, once gave a lecture on mental health and afterward answered questions from the audience. “What would you advise a person to do,” asked one man, “if that person felt a nervous breakdown coming on?” Most people expected Dr. Menninger to reply: “Consult a psychiatrist.” To their astonishment, he replied, “lock up your house, go across the railway tracks, find someone in need and do something to help that person.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, how easy it is to look to someone else to do the Lord’s work. How easy it is to adopt the attitude that someone else is better equipped than yourself. The bottom line is that the Lord expects each of us return a portion of the gifts we have been given in this life. Sacred scripture holds up the principle of tithing as the ideal. The Church defines this as offering ten percent of our blessings to the Lord; specifically, this means giving 5% to our local parish and 5% to other charities. This is the benchmark on which we are being judged by the Lord. Thus, how are we doing? If you are like me and most people, we can always do better; thus, our parish takes the time this month to reflect on this all important responsibility.
Consider some opportunities:
By now you may have heard of the sudden resignation of Judy Foster. This untimely departure does place our parish in a bind. Who will handle her workload? Judy’s responsibilities included managing our “birth through fifth grade” and “adult” faith formation programs, and our community life programs (e.g., the pictorial directory). Know that there will be no “quick fix” here. Yes, parish leadership will figure out how to handle these essential ministries; and yet, in the meantime, remaining staff and parishioners will need to step forward to ensure the ongoing success of these programs.
Every parish leadership group needs new members. All the commissions—Community Life, Pastoral Care, Social Justice, Worship, Administration, and Faith Formation—would appreciate additional help. Even the Parish Council and the Finance Council have needs. In fact, in the coming months both our trustee positions will need to be replaced. Therefore, new people must be found for all aspects of parish leadership.
Know that this is not unique to our church community. Every parish throughout the Archdiocese and beyond can use an influx of new volunteers. Whether you are a leader or a simple worker, there are always ways for people to serve within the Church. Thus, I encourage every parish family to reflect upon and act upon this stewardship invitation. Together we are building the kingdom. Keep the faith!