October 14, 2012
In July Abbott presented a sermon reflecting on 2 Corinthians and Paul’s work to raise money for the Church in Jerusalem. Paul asked other churches to give out of a sense of generosity and abundance. In that sermon, Abbott suggested that stewardship – our offerings of money, time and spiritual gifts – might be considered acts of communion because, as Paul emphasized, they are about fashioning and maintaining the Body of Christ.
Further reflection on 2 Corinthians unearthed the theme for this year’s stewardship campaign: Sowing the Bountiful Garden. Paul uses a gardening analogy to encourage sowing seeds of abundance and righteousness, and this is analogy fits St. Andrew’s well.
Our recent efforts to “Preserve the Parish” have been the fruit of much labor and of the good earth itself. Garden bounty has been transformed into St. Marinara Sauce, Episcopickles, Peach Be With You Marmalade, and delicious Fig Preserves. This good work by many hands has benefited our visibility on Oregon Hill and beyond. This same bounty can be seen in other areas of St. Andrew’s common life as well – physical improvements to the church; a robust and expansive Christian formation program; and new faces to welcome each week.
It is true that we are rich in many ways, and yet we are all aware that, as a community, we live on the edge financially. This year, as in most recent years, our expenses will exceed income by tens of thousands of dollars. This is not the result of a lack of care. Our rector, staff, and leadership have been superb stewards of our finances. In fact our losses have been less than forecast for several yeas running, and should be this year too. Yet losses they are. We share this as a reminder of where we are so that, together, we might more fully experience God’s blessing of having “enough of everything” that we need to do the work God has given us to do.
As Abbott said back in July, while stewardship is about money, giving is about much more than money. It is about supporting our commitment to enable God’s kingdom, whether here or in Uganda, to flourish. It is about supporting our neighbors, be they homeless or Oregon Hill residents who could just use some weather-stripping. It is about sustaining the church that has become a home to so many of us, so future generations may enjoy the same joys of worship and fellowship that we do. Your rector and vestry are thrilled to be on this venture together, and we ask you to join us, in particular at this time, in prayerfully considering a pledge of financial support to St. Andrew’s for the coming year in support of our mission and common life.Let’s plant some new seeds and see what grows!
Steve Salter Elaine Baur Abbott Bailey
Stewardship Committee Senior Warden Rector