October 30, 2021
I have been thinking a lot about stewardship during this season when we are preparing for next year. I am always astounded by the generosity of Trinity Church. Eight years ago, I met with the Rev. Tony Buquor and the Rev. Becky Gettel to discuss the possibility of pursuing my field education as a seminarian at Trinity. While the commute proved to be too much of an obstacle at the time, I remember being astounded when Tony shared with me the percentage of the annual budget that came from pledges. In my experience, most parishes in our diocese rely heavily on endowment draws and rental income, but not Trinity. Our thriving on pledges spoke clearly of the underlying generosity of this community.
I have witnessed this generosity firsthand over the past year and a half with the successful Joy Campaign and the wonderfully supported Stewardship Campaign for 2021. In the midst of pandemic uncertainty, your generosity blew away any expectations I had. There is much to celebrate about who we are!
However, I would like to encourage us to think beyond our financial resources this stewardship season. How are we stewards of the gifts God has given us beyond money? I know this is not a novel thought and I am sure you have heard many sermons and read many letters about this in the past. Frequently we call it, "time, treasure, and talent;" treasure being just one part of stewardship. While this may be an old saw, it is a helpful tool which can aid us in thinking about how we care for those things God has entrusted to us. With the stewardship of treasure being something we excel at, I would like to turn our attention to the other two.
For all of us, time and talent need revisiting. Not just because we are perpetually developing these areas of our lives, but because the pandemic has changed everything. For many of us, our practice of being stewards of our time and talent cannot be carried out as they were before COVID-19. For some ministries, there has been a semblance of a return to normal, but for others, what was will never be exactly the same again. While our talents may not have changed, perhaps the expression of those talents needs to change. We must discern different ways of being a steward in this different time.
Perhaps, you have a talent for hospitality which was expressed in the large events of the parish that we are not having at the moment. While your hospitality cannot be practiced in that way, maybe it could be used by serving as an usher and welcoming people into our beloved sacred space. Visiting a new church is daunting and being greeted by a friendly smile, a helpful hand, and genuine interest can make a world of difference.
Perhaps, you have a talent for healing which was expressed in the laying on of hands. While we have not been able to return to this practice, there are many young people among us who need healing. Growing up is difficult, especially through the past year and a half. Maybe your talent could be practiced as a calm, caring presence in the lives of our children, middle schoolers, and high schoolers. Showing up and being present means more than you could know to our young people.
Perhaps, you are not sure about what your talents are or how they can be expressed where and how we are now. Your clergy are here to help you discern what God has given you and how you are being called to act. These are things best discovered in conversation and community and we are always willing to be that partner in discernment.
I am grateful for this community of Trinity Church, especially grateful for your generosity. I am endlessly inspired by it and pray that we will continue striving to holistically live out our faith here in Concord.