October 2016 Vestry Papers: Why Give?

October 5, 2016

Why give? Why do people of faith give their time, talent, and treasure in service to God? This month, our Vestry Papers articles each offer a response to this question. Included are congregations rebounding after a painful split and the different approaches taken to help make them feel whole again. Also shared are details of a Latino/a congregation’s practice of year-round stewardship, as well as a process individuals or congregations might use to cultivate their own personal giving practice.

I hope the experiences and ideas of these congregations and individuals will spark a conversation in your congregation:

Their belief that “God is good! All the time!” helped sustain members of St. Stephen’s in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina after their diocesan leadership broke away from The Episcopal Church. “Being One with God” by Wilmot T. Merchant II and Sally Davis shows us how the parishes’ deep commitment to God and a sense of responsibility to give back for all they have received, as well as the strength and stability of their leadership, has helped the parish to both heal and grow.

Sometimes, the obstacle to creating an endowment is simply, “we don’t have the money.” In “Building a Legacy,” Demi Prentiss shares the story of how a smaller church, made smaller by a church split, found a way to build a legacy for future generations. Their experience might inspire others.

El Padre José Ortez nos dice que la mayordomía tiene mucho más que ver con el corazón y la renovación que con el dinero. En "La mayordomía es un estilo de vida", el padre José da una lista de seis actividades que han sido exitosas en su iglesia. / Stewardship has more to do with our heart than with money. “Stewardship is a Lifestyle” by Florida priest José Ortez shares six stewardship-related activities that have proven successful in his church.

In a vineyard, a trellis is essential to support and guide growth. Celeste Ventura’s “Building Our Trellis” invites us to explore our own financial trellis, and provides a framework for starting a conversation among members of your church.

We encourage you to think about how the ideas presented in this and every issue may provide an impetus for evaluating and reflecting on what you could learn from the experiences of others. To help in your discernment we offer a list of the resources related to the topic at the end of each article. If you have a resource you’d like to share, please email me with the link or add it to the site using the Your Turn feature.

If you are interested in Spanish language content, please visit our searchable index for Spanish content here.

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Faithfully,

Nancy Davidge
Editor, ECF Vital Practices