It’s stewardship season again. Between October 3rd and November 7th our stewardship campaign hits its stride. That doesn’t mean you can only give during that month. Being a good steward means actively giving throughout the year not only with treasure, but also with time and talent. The three Ts are good all year round. While it is important to intentionally focus on when, how and what you can give to the church, let’s also talk about something definitely related to stewardship, but maybe even more significant; how you have been influenced by God’s generosity. Everything we have at Middleham and St. Peter’s and in our own lives is the result of God’s generosity. In turn we should do everything we can to reciprocate and “repay” God, so to speak. There are many ways we can do that. Let’s start with a few questions to ask ourselves.
How can we fulfill the mission and vision that God has for us and for our church? If we look back on the last 18 months there are so many ways, we at Middleham and St. Peter’s have met the challenges of this year and a half and found ways to share our community of love and joy with others. THANK YOU! All of you!
The stewardship theme this year is Every Perfect Gift. Every one of us has gifts to share and we so generously offer them not only to our church, but also to our community and to each other in many ways. Giving to the church is not just about paying the bills and keeping the lights on. It’s about acknowledging a calling to serve and help others that goes beyond our church walls and into the community and then into the world. It means that we set aside our sense of ownership and possession and realize that everything we have, everything that our congregation has, has just been entrusted to us to be used not for our own purposes, but for God’s purpose. While the operating budget needs to cover the recurring and predictable expenses, what people give extends so much farther than that.
Our mission at Middleham and St. Peter’s Parish is to be a welcoming, engaging and spiritual community of worship, fellowship, and service for all, providing an open door to all who reach out to God.
Our vision at Middleham and St. Peter’s Parish is:
- To seek to provide a spiritual home for those who want to celebrate God’s love, participate in joyful worship and fellowship and humbly serve those in need, near and far;
- To strive to love, nurture and support one another in all stages of life through prayer, education, pastoral care, and outreach;
- To encourage all to know Christ and in turn make Him known to others as we reach out through our gifts of time, talents and treasure;
- To embrace Jesus' commitment to the poor and marginalized, and through outreach to serve them;
- To seek a shared commitment to and love for God's wonderfully diverse Creation, without the usual human constraints of hospitality based on race, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or religious beliefs;
- To increase our Christian family by providing diverse services, programs and ministries that will meet the needs and aspirations of all generations in our parish and in the community; and
- To be inspired by God and believing all is possible with God's help.
Another question to consider is what does “giving” to the church actually mean? According to Lynn A. Miller, “Stewardship is the act of organizing your life so that God can spend you.” This quote captures beautifully what Biblical stewardship is all about. It’s about giving of ourselves, and all we have, in a way that leaves no doubt about where our priorities are. I believe that in order to truly be good stewards, our stewardship must be intentional. We must begin with God, and find ways to fit our lives to Him, rather than fitting God into the rest of our lives.
Pause and consider for a minute all of the many blessings God has given you. How are you giving those blessings back to Him? God has blessed us all so plentifully. It is our duty as Christians to look for ways to use those blessings to serve God. There is no such thing as a talent, length of time or a treasure that is so small or insignificant, that it cannot be used to serve God and our church.
How can we give? The people of Middleham and St. Peter’s are givers. We give our time, treasure and talent to the church and the community every day. This year has been so different from other years in terms of what has been asked of us as individuals and as a community. So many have stepped up to find ways to reach our parishioners and meet their spiritual, physical and material needs. Generosity is the perfect gift. We show that in everything we do at Middleham and St. Peter’s. You all are generous people and for that we are immensely grateful. That spills over into all that we do here. We make a difference. In order for that to continue we need you to pledge your support in any way you can. It is vital to the life of our church, and it is sincerely appreciated.