From Canon Anna Carmichael
As we look towards the Lenten season, stewardship is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Normally we think of sackcloth and ashes and coming face to face with our own mortality. But I ask you to think bigger this year; I ask that you consider taking on a spiritual practice instead of just giving things up.
Stewardship is not just about financial support of the church; it’s also about taking care of your community, your clergy and lay leaders, and each other. As our vestries and bishop’s committees are getting started and looking forward to the year, how are we practicing stewardship in regards to education, pastoral care, outreach, worship/liturgy, evangelism, and of course, our financial resources? How are we offering our gifts and talents to our parish and neighborhood?
I have been in conversations around our Diocese since the start of the new year, and there is a lot of important work happening. There is a lot to brag about in San Joaquin. In these conversations, I always ask two questions–why are we doing what we’re doing and does it matter. I believe we give, we minister, we love because it’s who we are, or as Archbishop Desmond Tutu says, it’s because we’re partners with God. And it matters (or if it doesn’t, perhaps it should) because our communities, our neighborhoods, our parishes need us… and we need them.
So as we approach Ash Wednesday in just a few weeks, I ask that instead of just giving up chocolate (hey, that’s a big deal for some of us) consider taking on a spiritual practice of stewardship. Perhaps your altar guild needs you. Perhaps you’re needed to visit or call someone at home or the hospital. Perhaps you’re needed for Sunday School. Perhaps you’re exactly the person needed to extend an invitation to someone else. Whatever God is calling you to do, do it because you’re a partner with God and because you’re needed.
How will you be practicing stewardship in Lent?