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Posted: Dec 16

A Lay Stewardship Witness

Annual GivingPreaching Resources

Given by Jim Blum, Episcopal Church of the Nativity, Phoenix/Scottsdale, December 11, 2011

I would like to begin with my favorite morning prayer that I think is very apropos for our Stewardship Campaign this year and our goals and dreams for taking the Church of the Nativity well into the future:  continue reading...


Posted: Nov 21

How Do We Give Thanks in the Midst of Loss?

Discipleship & GenerosityPreaching Resources

By Sam Candler

marqueespirituality.jpgNaturally, most of us enjoy giving thanks at Thanksgiving for the good things of life. continue reading...


Posted: Nov 17

We Are the 100%: A Sermon for the Feast of Richard Hooker

Discipleship & GenerosityPreaching Resources

by Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski We are living in times of crisis. Now, I could stand here and direct our attention to the crisis in the seminaries or the crisis in the shrinking numbers of Episcopalians. But I want to speak tonight about the crisis beyond our walls. I count myself among those who have felt that since the financial meltdown of 2008 that this country has gone in a perilous direction. There has been a growing sense that something has gone wrong but nothing was being done to fix it. I am speaking about the sense that our systems, our policies, and our government have failed the average citizen. I am speaking about the sense that the privileged and connected profited while others fell between the cracks has simmered for years. All this came to a boil this fall with the blossoming of the Occupy movement. Starting first with Occupy Wall Street in mid-September, the movement has grown nationally and internationally so that small towns and metropolises are witnessing citizens giving voice to the brokenness of our common life. It might be rightly said that the movement as a whole does not have a clear voice or its message is too amorphous. But it has provided a way for people to speak into the whirlwind of this crisis. The cry “We are the 99%” is the cry of those who feel swept up in the whirlwind of greed, corruption and power wielded by the 1%. And this whirlwind has come to our own doorstep at CDSP. The Tuesday of reading week, I was riveted to my computer. Sitting comfortably in my home I was reading Twitter reports of protestors being tear gassed. I heard of rubber bullets being fired. I watched video shot from helicopters of humans being scattered by riot police. The crisis had come home. The crisis came home to me in a way that compelled me to look more closely at it. And so yesterday I marched peacefully with other members of this community as part of the General Strike in Oakland. And the crisis came home again in a new way. While thousands marched and demonstrated peacefully, not all were committed to the path of nonviolent protest. It angers me that a small group of people sought out conflict with police and willfully engaged in vandalism yesterday. Just as the Occupy movement is speaking in a time of crisis, it itself has reached a crisis point – will it stay unified around non-violent protest or will it be fractured by a splinter group that pays no heed to the common good? “Yet . . . we do speak wisdom, though it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are perishing.” (1 Cor 2:6) How can the demand for economic and social justice that I saw yesterday at the Occupy movement and the problem of the violence around its edges be understood in light of the wisdom of God revealed to us in Christ? I think it is appropriate to meditate on the meeting of the Church with the meeting of the Occupy movement on this day when we commemorate Richard Hooker. It is important because Anglicans in the United States and England have been drawn into the Occupy movement. In New York City, Providence, and Boston, Episcopal clergy and parishes have been actively ministering to those encamped. We read reports of clergy going into Occupy encampments to be confronted with the question: “What took you so long to get here? “ The poor are being fed and the sick cared for while the Church sits on the sidelines. In London, protesters at the London Stock Exchange have pitched their tents in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral. In turn, the leadership of St. Paul’s at first sought to evict the protestors and now have reversed themselves. Where is the church in this crisis? It is appropriate to meditate on this meeting between the Church and the Occupy Movement on this day because Hooker was not someone removed from the events of his time. On the contrary, Hooker himself lived like us – in a time of crisis. The end of the Elizabethan reign when Hooker wrote his Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity was a period of crisis in which the future of the Church of England was up for grabs. Indeed, the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity is a response to crisis between promoters of the Church of England and Puritans who sought to fundamentally remake it into the image of Calvin’s Geneva. Hooker wrote passionately and polemically. He took a stand and staked his claim. Hooker spoke against the drive advocated by Puritans to create stark differences between a pure church and heretical churches. For Puritans there were the winners and losers, those who possessed God’s truth and those whom Puritans sought to dispossess of a share in that truth. But Hooker emphasized a unified vision in which all creation shared in God’s truth. As in Psalm 19, Hooker understood that all creation is revelatory of God as creator and the ordering of the cosmos itself revealed God’s eternal truth. For the people of Israel and for Christians, God’s ongoing revelation in creation is heightened and deepened in God’s unique revelation in the Scriptures. It is out of this revelation that Christians can say with Paul, “we speak God’s wisdom, secret and hidden, which God decreed before the ages for our glory” (2 Cor 2:7). This revelation culminates in the Christian’s participation in Christ, and thus in the very life of God (John 17:21b). According to Hooker, it is by the Christian’s participation in the life of God, particularly through the sacraments, that we can again say with Paul that “we have the mind of Christ” (2 Cor 2:16). All Christians in all churches, whether rooted in Canterbury, or Rome, or Geneva, or Wittenberg, or Lagos, or Singapore, or New York, then participate in God’s work in the world. For Hooker, the church exists specifically for the ordering of the common good of the society in which it finds itself. The Church exists not to sustain itself but to minister to all people. And here we have come back to how we as church can speak to, be with, witness among, the Occupy movement and those who gather at their General Assemblies, their strikes, their days of action. Now keep in mind, although Hooker speaks of the importance of the common good, he is no democrat. As a good Anglican of his time, he was a staunch monarchist and no fan of lay control of the life of the church. Nonetheless, his vision of the unity of all creation leading to the fullness of participation in God through Christ Jesus lays at the center of Anglican thought and from it emanates the intertwined paths of our theology and social teachings. It is here that we encounter the truth for the collect of this day – that we are to pursue “comprehension for truth, not compromise for peace.” That is, if we have indeed put on the mind of Christ and are driven to seek the common good of all for the sake of God’s vision of the unity of all creation, what are we to do in the face of the crisis before us? When we are faced with massive income inequality, when we are faced with profiteering, when we are faced with a corporate and political culture that is increasingly callous towards the poor and working families, what are we to do? When people of their own accord organize to declare themselves as the 99%, as the voiceless themselves who will no longer stand for the greed and depredations of the 1%, what will we do? And if some among the 99% themselves act violently and refuse to uphold the common good, what will we do? If we really want to honor the memory of Hooker and honor the best of our theology and social teachings, I say we should be Church and wade into the midst of those who occupy. And then we will be honest. We will be honest in the way that Tripp Hudgins, a doctoral student in liturgy here at the GTU who has become part of our community, has been honest in a recent essay for Sojourners in which he declared that we all are the 100%. I would put it this way. If we are honest, we will say: We are the 99%. We are the 99% -- we have within us those who have lost much,  those who have lost homes,  those who have lost jobs,  those who were born on the margins and struggle from there,  those who live from paycheck to paycheck,  those burdened by debts that might never be repaid,  those who feel powerless,  those whose voice is discounted by the powerful, those whose thirst for God’s justice has not yet been quenched. If we are honest, we will say: We are the 1% --  we have among us those who have profited from the global economy,  turning a blind eye to the economic exploitation,  environmental destruction,  and greed that service our companies’ balance sheets and our retirement accounts. We have among us those who live in privilege and do not see it. Those who cling to their privilege mightily and will not acknowledge it lest is slip away. We are a church that mourns for its lost position of privilege while being dragged by the Spirit into the mission of God. And if we have the mind of Christ, we will say: We are the 100% --  We are rich and poor.  We are sinful and righteous.  We yearn for justice and we look out for ourselves alone.  We seek to bring in all the brokenness, all the truth, all the anger, all the healing. We seek the good and the true which ultimately rest in God alone. We will say this if we have the mind of Christ – to be Church is to be the 100% -- to contain both the 99 and the 1. And to have the mind of Christ, to seek the unity of God’s creation, means sometimes to stand as the 100% for the 99%. To stand for those who have been victimized and exploited and to require justice from the 1% among us who will not surrender their privilege. It is right o stand amid the 99% and witness to the way of Jesus, past revenge to the way that shows God’s desire to reconcile all people. It is right to call the 1% to repentance for the sake of the 99% so we may be the 100%. And so I end by saying that if Hooker is right,  if Scripture is true,  if God desires the unity of all creation in the Word that pitched its tent among us,  then we will go beyond these walls to the tents pitched in our midst  and be Church among them for the sake of the 100%. Richard Hooker and the 100% Preached for the Commemoration of Richard Hooker November 3, 2011 All Saints Chapel Church Divinity School of the Pacific Prof. Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski Sirach 44:10-15 Psalm 19:1-11 1 Corinthians 2:6-10, 13-16 John 17:18-23 “Their sound has gone out into all lands, and their message to the ends of the world.” (Psalm 19:4) Dan Joslyn-Siemiatkoski is Associate Professor of Church History at Church Divinity School of the Pacific, Berkeley, California.    continue reading...


Posted: Nov 12

St. Paul Motivates His Church's Donors - c. 56 A.D.

Discipleship & GenerosityStewardship FormationYear Round & Holistic Stewardship

By Ian Clark This article is reprinted from the website of the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration, www.sofii.org. The original article can be found here. This could be the first ever appeal for regular, committed donors. In the early days of the Christian church the missionary Paul asked his supporters in the city of Corinth to set aside a small portion of their income regularly, to sustain victims of a famine and then later to support good works generally. Here Ian Clark explains the significance of Paul’s letters to his followers, which subsequently became the foundation of the Christian Church’s teaching on generosity and giving. SUMMARY/OBJECTIVES: Raising funds to relieve the Palestinian famine. BACKGROUND:  continue reading...


Posted: Nov 4

Preaching Stewardship - Year A, Proper 27

Preaching Resources

Stewardship Sermon Trajectories
for preaching and teaching on stewardship, fund-raising and spiritual depth regarding money and choices
for the readings of Year A, Proper 27
The Rev. Canon Charles LaFond
Canon for Congregational Life, The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire
© Concord, New Hampshire, October 2011

(Disclaimer: What follows are some thoughts based on the exegesis of upcoming, Sunday readings as well as from my own reflections on fundraising, life and stewardship, which might lead the reader towards a sermon or class which supports work being done in stewardship (fundraising.) Work to raise money in church (fundraising) and to teach spiritual depth regarding money choices (stewardship) which assists fundraising is a spiritual work with logistical implications and not a logistical work with spiritual implications. The pledge cards may be fantastic with moving, inspiring, full color photos and beautiful design, but if the spiritual formation of the receiver is anemic, the pledge card and all the hard work that went into it is for nothing. Likewise, churches may have both amazing fundraising tools and spiritual teaching around money and choices, but if the mission and outreach among the poor and marginalized is anemic then, because the church does not really deserve the money being asked for, the money will not be given (invested) by generations younger than baby-boomers whose giving is based on a case-for-support which actually changes lives in states of human, physical need. That said, the preaching office is only able to make impact on stewardship/fundraising if a church’s mission and extra-liturgical teaching and formation is being done well.) continue reading...


Posted: Oct 28

Sample Stewardship Letters and Mailings

Annual GivingBest PracticesCongregational Leadership

Click on the links below to download sample stewardship mailings:

A Sample Stewardship Chairperson's Letter continue reading...


Posted: Oct 28

Advent Alternative Gift Giving that Blesses All

Designated Giving

In approaching Stewardship year round, we need to take advantage of formation opportunities that are availed by both the liturgical calendar and the secular calendar. Advent/Christmas/Epiphany and the secular materialism of Christmas is a wonderful example of how we can both offer giving opportunities and make a statement against the secular materialism that is so pervasive in our culture. This can be done through preaching, food drives, and other outreach and teaching ministries. I would like to offer one such concrete (and fairly easy) mechanism which can achieve both of these goals while helping to fund the kingdom work in your church.

A ministry of Advent Alternative Gift Giving creates a way for people to give gifts to friends and family without stuffing their closet or shelves with yet another piece of clothing or objects that they don’t really need. It is a way to honor someone while funding a ministry in your church or even outreach ministries outside the church. My editable sample will focus on funding ministries inside the church but can easily be changed for external ministries, such as ERD, Habitat, and Heifer Project. Churches have used this in different forms with suggested gift amounts and with open gift amounts. I will provide examples of each of these. The basic idea will be somewhat self explanatory through the samples so I want to provide some particular mechanics that help facilitate the execution of the giving opportunity. continue reading...


Posted: Oct 28

Three Stewardship Notions

Annual GivingCongregational LeadershipDiscipleship & Generosity

By Kirk Kubicek

No doubt many of us are in the middle of, or just finishing, the fall pledge campaign.  It is a time of much excitement mingled with anxiety.  What will the final results be?  If the totals – pledges and dollars – are up or down, does that reflect people’s attitudes and feelings toward me, the rector or vicar?  Will we be able to expand the scope and focus of our mission efforts both inside and outside the parish? continue reading...


Posted: Oct 28

Will Our Children Be Stewards? Books to Read with Children

Stewardship Formation

Amos and Boris, by William Steig. This is about giving to strangers through the experience of a mouse and a whale.

Arthur’s Pet Business, by Marc Brown. Arthur’s determination to prove he is responsible enough the have a puppy brings him a menagerie of animals to care for. Little, Brown and Company, 1990. continue reading...


Posted: Oct 28

Bibliography - Theology and Practice of Stewardship

Best PracticesCongregational Leadership

 NIV Stewardship Study Bible – discover God’s design for life, the environment, finances, generosity, and eternity. 
Order online from Amazon.com

Revolution in Generosity – Transforming Stewards to be Rich Toward God. Wesley K. Willmer, Editor. 2008 Moody Publishers. 
Order online from Amazon.com continue reading...