Grounded in Hope, Not Fear

Dear friends,

Fall stewardship season is nearly upon us, and very soon congregational leaders will be developing creative themes, sending out pledge cards and speaking with members about their financial commitment to the church. For everyone – both lay and clergy alike – this can often be a stressful time. With tightening budgets all around, not to mention the uneasiness of talking about money, it’s no wonder why many approach this time of year with fear and anxiety.

Stewardship season, however, is also an opportunity for us to reflect on how we will offer all of our gifts, including time, talent, and treasure, in greater service to God. The best stewardship messages offer a vision of hope, help strengthen relationships in the community, and provide unique opportunities for faithful people to prayerfully consider their gifts in the context of the ministry of the Church and God’s mission in the world.

This year, I’m especially aware that stewardship season comes at a difficult time in the life of our country and world. In light of negative political campaigns, divisive language, and global violence, it is more important than ever for our calls to stewardship be framed in hope and not fear. Instead of anxiously urging people to give just to keep the lights on, let’s cast a vision of what our church and world might look like if we all make a deeper commitment to Jesus Christ.

As always, we at the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) are very grateful for all the lay and clergy leaders who are working hard to make this stewardship season a success. Please know that we are here to support you in this important work and ministry. To that end, we have assembled a few resources below which may be of help.

We pray that this season of stewardship will be filled with a spirit of generosity, celebration and joy as well as a renewed commitment to God’s call to all of us as followers of Jesus Christ.

Faithfully,
Donald V. Romanik
President, ECF

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Vital Posts- Jumpstart Fundraising: 5 Stewardship Resources for August
Jumpstart Fundraising: 5 Stewardship Resources for August” offers ideas and tools that can be easily and quickly incorporated into your congregation’s fall stewardship campaign.

Vestry Papers- Good Stewardship Addresses Hopes and Fears
Good Stewardship Addresses Hopes and Fears” shares how St. George’s provided both practical and spiritual messages that resulted in increased participation and giving, surpassing their goals.

ECF Publications- Vestry Resource Guide
The Vestry Resource Guide offers church leaders guidance and resources on stewardship, and other topics, to consider and tailor to meet their own congregation’s needs. This newly revised and updated version is available in print and e-book.

ECF Webinars- The Basics of Annual Giving: Strategies that Work
Register for “The Basics of Annual Giving: Strategies that Work” on Thursday, September 15, from 7 to 8pm ET, that will provide a concrete, yet adaptable, "how to" for successful annual fundraising.

Your Turn- Electronic Giving Card: For Offering Plate
Electronic Giving Card: For Offering Plate” shares a helpful idea that churches can provide their online donors to put into the offertory plate, which also helps inform others of the option of online giving.

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS)
ECF is proud to be a partner in ministry with The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS), which offers a variety of free resources to all and additional materials for member dioceses and congregations.