Stewardship in a Pandemic

Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. – The Apostle Paul

These words of Paul started with a dream.  He knew of a need in Jerusalem for the basic stuff of life and he dreamed that the congregations they helped spawn would come to their aid with a collection.  Requests for putting money aside always begins with a dream: of seniors living with dignity, of new congregations, starting, of existing congregations thriving and finding their way.

The Presbytery of Riverside is an agent of service and extension.  We usually talk in terms of ministry and mission.  But I prefer service and extension because ministry and mission have become so overused.  We serve each other.  In our congregations and our communities, with hospitality and acts of kindness. We also seek to be more than we are.  By feeding people who don’t have enough food, by telling people about God’s love, by sending mission co-workers to far-away places to come alongside existing churches, by starting new congregations.  As the moderator of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan said to one of our mission co-workers, “Wherever (the missionaries) go, first, they build for themselves where they can sleep. Second, they build the church. Third, they build the school and the hospital. The school and the hospital are for the local community.” He believes that holistic ministry, started by the early missionaries, remains essential to the life of the church today.

Your per capita makes the church possible to extend mission and ministry in your local community and around the world.  I think of its as the backbone of the Church’s financial skeleton.   Mission giving, (which is separate from per capita) pays for our 80 mission co-workers, and salaries of our staff that work in areas such as hunger relief and disaster assistance. Special grants such as our shared grant assistance program benefited two retired church workers in poor health this past year.  Special Offerings like the One Great Hour of Sharing and the Global Witness and Peacemaking Offering let you target giving on the local and national level.  There’s a variety of ways you as a church can give.  But the essential part is the spirit in which you do it.  Talk to your Session and talk as a Session to support the good work of the presbytery.  If you need help interpreting the reach of our church to your congregation, call Rene Myers, our Mission Engagement Advisor (rene.myers@pcusa.org) who can present to any size group on how we are part of God’s mission in the world.  Then give.

“Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, because you know in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”  1 Corinthians 15:58.

A Lighthearted Take on Stewardship

Looking for a little humor about stewardship season? Rev. Dr. Bill Stanley delivers. Take a break and enjoy Bill’s standup comedy skills.

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