Resources are listed from most recent to oldest below. You can see a full list of all resources here, or select a category from the list on the left.
Posted: Feb 10
Posted: Feb 3
Preaching - Epiphany 5, Year B
Refrain for Epiphany 5:
How good it is to sing praises to our God! *
how pleasant it is to honor God with praise!
The readings for the Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany are Isaiah 40:21-31; Psalm 147:1-12, 21c; 1 Corinthians 9:16-23; and Mark 1:29-39.
Our first two readings remind us of the awesomeness of our Creator and the care that God gives to the whole of Creation. Both of these readings set our hearts in gratitude for the gift of the heavens and earth and all that is therein. They remind us whose we are, ...and whose all other people are. We are all children of God, sisters and brothers - siblings born out of our Creator.
Our epistle and gospel readings this week wrap these ideas together and present us with the implications of our divine-sibling love. I love the NIV translation of 1 Corinthians 9:16 because of the use of the phrase, "I am compelled to preach". In the depth of Paul's theology he can't help but deliver the good news to his fellow children of God - those under the Law and those outside the Law. The law of Christ, which is to love one's neighbor as oneself, demands this of him and compels him to preach it to both Jew and Greek alike. Woe to him if he does not do it, because he would be keeping the Gospel from his divine-siblings, and therefore not be acting in love. This message has been entrusted to him, not to hoard, but to share with the world in love. It is stewardship of love.
The gospel lesson presents the Good News to us in both action and word through Jesus. Jesus seeks to deliver the message of the Gospel both by acts of whole-making through healing those in need, casting out demons, and by preaching the restoration of Creation as God intended through the coming of God's kingdom on earth. The picture of the healing of Simon's (Peter's) mother-in-law restoring her to health and loving service of her fellow children of God illustrates the work and result of God's kingdom. All is made whole in Christ and through Christ. This is good news and we are "compelled" to share it with all of Creation in both word and deed.
But the echoes of Isaiah 40 and Psalm 147 remind us that this whole-making also refers to the rest of Creation, too, the earth and all that is therein, animal, mineral and vegetable. By caring for these with whole-making and healing, we are caring for our neighbors as ourselves. Part of the stewardship of the Gospel is also stewardship of Creation; and not only humanity, but also those represented by what Francis called Brother Wolf and Sister Moon. We cannot wholly care for our sisters and brothers without caring for the rest of Creation.
So this week we are reminded whose we are; and therefore, who we are. In this we are compelled to be stewards of the Gospel preaching it to all the world with word and deed, because we also are remind whose they are. We all belong to God, the Creator of all the earth.
Don't you think God the Creator wants us to be good stewards of one another (and every "other") in all we say and do?
The Rev. Canon Lance Ousley
Canon for Stewardship and Development
The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia
Posted: Jan 12
Posted: Dec 17
A Christmas Carol Story of Stewardship
By Dan Conway
We all remember the scene from old movies and TV specials. Two “portly gentlemen,” as Charles Dickens calls them, enter the offices of Scrooge and Marley hoping to raise money “for the poor and destitute who suffer greatly at the present time of year.” continue reading...
Posted: Dec 16
A Lay Stewardship Witness
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
Posted: Nov 17
We Are the 100%: A Sermon for the Feast of Richard Hooker
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 4
Preaching Stewardship - Year A, Proper 27
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 15
Click on the links below to download some terrific sample stewardship sermons:
Posted: Oct 15