Rector's Message for November

Fr. Seth picture

I hope you agree that our church is a special place. St. Michael's is a warm, loving family of faith dedicated to worshipping God and forming disciples. The truth of the matter is that St. Michael's is not only an important place for parishioners, it is an important place for the broader community as well. The footprint of our impact goes far beyond the walls of our well-kept physical plant. Through our programs, outreach, and through the daily lives of the God-centered members of this parish, the positive ripple effect of our presence is much more far reaching than any of us may realize.

Churches all over the country are entering into Stewardship season. To be more precise, we are beginning the annual pledge drive that will fund next year's budget. Without this annual pledge appeal, we simply could not function. Your pledge is one component of good stewardship. Stewardship, however, is broader and more encompassing. We practice stewardship all year long. Stewardship is more than raising the necessary money to fund the vital mission of our church. Stewardship is an attitude, a disposition, and an outlook based on gratitude and thanksgiving.

 

We take stewardship seriously here at St. Michaels. Recently, I noticed several sets of plastic ware drying in the kitchen. I think it is safe to say that our church is a good steward of its resources. We won't always dry the plastic ware but it illustrates how our parish uses its resources. Because of volunteers and wise stewardship, our church's operating expenses are significantly lower than the typical Episcopal church our size. An exceptionally generous 20%+ of our budget goes from this parish to fund church mission, outreach, and alms giving locally, internationally, and within our diocese.

Impact and efficiency, as important as they are, are not the most compelling reasons to give to St. Michael's, nor are the increased expenses associated with being a growing, healthy parish. We give because we are grateful. We pledge because we are committed. We work toward the tithe because it's biblical. In practicing good stewardship, we also offer ourselves and our service. Tithing, alms giving, and offering our own gifts and talents to the mission of the church provide a fuller picture of what well balanced stewardship looks like.

 Managing our resources with the knowledge that God is the permanent owner and we are God's stewards has a notable side effect. What we own doesn't own us. When we realize that God has placed us here as his managers on temporary assignment, our possessions are never able to possess us. Practicing well balanced stewardship as a way of life is tremendously freeing.

TThis year's stewardship theme is A Tip or a Tithe. Good stewardship, practiced all year long, is freeing and rewarding. As a component of your stewardship, make a pledge to support the mission of your parish, but don't stop there. Live from an attitude of gratitude. Offer yourself and your service to a God who loves you deeply, dearly, and beyond measure.

May God bless you and keep you.

In the Risen Christ,

Fr. Seth+