October 2015 – Rita Carey
I was asked to speak to the congregation this Fall about Stewardship. I have been an active member of St. John’s Anglican Church for 35 years and I am very grateful for what that has meant for my life: lifelong friendships, new friendships, for the learning & encouragement that I have received from many different ministers – ordained and lay, and for the closeness I feel to God, especially in this place (in our church sanctuary).
This year has brought new and exciting change with our friends from Squamish United joining us in worship. As Gary Paterson said when he visited in October, it is wonderful that our two congregations have this opportunity to be together for many months to come, to work together in the many Sunday ministeries like readings, prayers, coffee and to enjoy fellowship together at social events. We are truly blessed to have Nick and Lorraine (& Karen again next year) making it all work together in terms of worship, and the leaders of each church planning together, as well as our two secretaries Lisa and Jody sharing an office and sharing all the administrative tasks.
At present I am the Envelope Secretary for St. John’s which means that I keep track of people’s givings and produce tax receipts at the end of the year. If you do not have your own envelopes there are envelopes in the pews for both churches. Each week the offerings are seperated into St. John’s and Squamish United, by the envelopes. I still have a few sets of envelopes available for any St. John’s folks who don’t have them, and new ones coming for 2016. You may have noticed that some people do not appear to give when the collection is taken. That is because many of us have money automatically taken from our bank account or credit card each month. This is a very convenient option for the giver and for the church it means that your donation does not get forgotten if you are away or just busy with other things.
Through St. John’s you can give to any of four different funds, and the 2016 envelopes will reflect this better than the current ones. The funds are – to the Parish for General use, to the Roof and Building Fund, to the Care and Share program and to Primate’s World Relief and Development Fund (or PWRDF for short).
Your money is always needed for our General Fund especially with our dwindling numbers. General fund money is used to run the church, to pay for all of our expenses including heat, light, building upkeep and clergy salary. I am very happy that we will be able to pay Nick half-time salary beginning in January.
We have had huge roof expenses over the last few years and money given to the Building and Roof Fund goes directly against our loan. The sooner that we pay off the loan, then the sooner we will have more funds to spend on ministry and outreach.
The Care and Share Fund is a local outreach fund through the Diocese of New Westminster, where a few worthy causes are chosen and for this coming year it is the St. Paul’s Homeless Outreach Program and the Community Support Ministry Collaboration Project at St. Augustine’s and St. Faith’s in Vancouver.
PWRDF is an outreach society that helps throughout the world, including in Canada, focusing especially in the areas of Food Security and Health Care and in Humanitarian Relief for refugees and the victims of major disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes.
St. John’s members will have recently received a pledge card in the mail. As we say every year, it really is very helpful for our future budgeting to know how much to expect in the upcoming year. Please prayerfully consider what you will be giving in 2016 and return the card as soon as you are able.
Please feel free to speak to me or one of the wardens, Pam or Don, if you are interested in helping with any of our Sunday ministries, or if you need more information about any of this, including church finances.
October 2015 – David Hildreth
This is truly a privilege to share with everyone some thoughts on Stewardship, especially since my wife and I have only been attending St. John’s since last year. We both feel so at home here and look forward to each Sunday, with the warmth you share with us. Everything we have belongs to God. We are to manage it for His glory.
I feel stewardship, is caring for the needs of one another, of being responsible and a concerned caretaker of Christ’s church. That includes financial giving, or as many of you know, tithing. Contributing financially assists us to learn and enjoy church life and be happy doing so.
I always remember my mother saying, “You only get what you give away”. That in part to me is financial sharing of one’s income and because we are in stewardship mode, committing to St. John’s here in Squamish, so that we can worship weekly together. My belief is no matter what we can contribute, as long as we are giving, we will therefore be receiving and sharing God’s way.
This is a gorgeous place of worship and having members of Squamish United with us each week is further reason for us as Anglicans, to give thanks and financially assist individually to whatever we can contribute. All our lives are gifts from God. All that we have in this life, is part of that gift. Stewardship reinforces this belief and I believe reminds us that our time, talent and resources are the gifts through which we can show our love and appreciation for God.
So as we reflect on 2015 and develop our vision for 2016, let us be mindful of financially assisting our parish. Likewise in your reflections, consider if financially possible, not only your envelope giving for 2016 but also contributing to our new roof. Or as I like to refer, “raise the roof” with a financial gift at St. John’s.
Discussing money and committing to regular contributions is never a topic of comfort, however, our physical plant, the church and all that makes it tick, Nick, Linda, Lisa and the the list of endless, requires money for us to reap the benefits. Please pray for the part you can play in the financial stewardship we are undertaking for 2016. The choice is ours and ours alone.
As was our collect of September 6th, we are called, each and everyone, each human being, every one of us. We are called by the creator, called to Holy Wisdom, called to recognize goodness, wherever and whenever it makes it’s epiphany, wherever and whenever love appears. This is truly the definition of stewardship. May God bless you in this process.