Stewardship Moment 2019 – Seizing the Opportunities

Stewardship is an important part of Christian life all year long, and here at St. Paul’s we make it our special focus in the month of October. It gives us a chance to look at how we have practiced stewardship in the past year, and how we plan to make it a part of our Christian practice in the coming year. At its core stewardship it is the recognition that all that we have comes from God, and it is our responsibility to use our resources faithfully through the management and sharing of our time, talent and treasure.

This year we are moving more deeply into the theme of Loving Our Neighbour. We’ll see how stewardship enables us to love our neighbour in practical ways and we’ll put some of those things into practice. Our worship services and the contents of the 2019 Stewardship Booklet will both provide opportunities for conversation and for you to reflect on how stewardship will be a part of our Christian practice in the coming year. To learn more about the Stewardship campaign, please visit the Support St. Paul’s webpage.

Each week throughout the month of October, Stewardship Lead Dorothy Wilkins, will be providing a Stewardship Moment. Her October 27th message can be read in the blog post below or heard through the October 27th worship service recording at posted on the Worship page. Enjoy.

Stewardship Moment

This is the last of the Sundays in which our focus is on Stewardship

Booklet & Letter of Intention:

By now everyone should have a St. Paul’s Stewardship Booklet 2019 in their possession. There are a few copies in the Narthex and at the back door if you need one. Also you will have received a 2020 Stewardship Letter of Intention form.

We ask that you prayerfully consider how God has blessed you this year and consider your response in the coming year. Please complete this form and return it as soon as you can. Thank you to all those who have returned theirs to date.

Today I want to talk about Seizing the Opportunities and your bulletin insert this week takes up the theme of a Joyful Noise and Harmony.

Opportunity -Make a Joyful Noise

  • I will be joyful today. God loves me and has promised me good.
  • I will share my joy with another. Harmony starts with sharing.
  • I will lend a helping hand. Harmony comes from working together. Let’s see what we can do.
  • I will seek a caring heart. You may teach someone else to love.

God’s will and Christ’s delight is in our joyful noise, helping hands and caring hearts.

God Bless His Harmony

When you think about it Stewardship can be seen as an opportunity – an opportunity to care for God’s people and His world by managing the time, talents and treasure that he has given to each one of us. God’s 1st and greatest commandment was to love him, love ourselves and love our neighbour.  At St Paul’s we have tremendous opportunities before us.

Let me invite you to our neighbourhood

Katie Cronin-Wood has written a great summary of the neighbourhood surrounding St Paul’s. It appears in the booklet and will be reprinted in the November Epistle as well.

It states in part that we are living in an area “with a higher population of people age 65+, higher number of recent immigrants, lower after tax household income, higher rate of teen pregnancy, more people in vulnerable housing situations and a higher rate of social isolation than other Durham region neighbourhoods.” (source – Region of Durham)

I would like to focus on one aspect – social isolation. I recently found an article entitled Loving Your Actual Neighbour by Walking the ‘Hood.(1)by Duke Vipperman on the Wycliffe College website

The premise was that loneliness is a huge problem in Canadian society today and that it is primarily due to lack of ‘face-time community’. In other words our society seems geared, to increasing the physical and social distance between people, to minimizing contact and conversation with others so that we are often led by assumptions rather than reality.

  • we watch the local news from the comfort of our home.
  • neighbours co-exist but feel no need to know each other.
  • church conversations may often be only superficial.
  • movie theatres, libraries, local grocery stores are no longer important places of interacting with others. We spend more time at home with our big screen TV and internet or our shopping tends to be at the larger box stores.
  • a lot of our world is seen only though a car window

How can we deal with this problem; combine physical proximity with genuine caring.

The article suggests walking the neighbourhood and discovering who is there would be a good start – walking with a friend, co-worker or child or just walking your dog. Once you start walking, to be open to chatting with any ‘person of peace (Luke 10:5-6)’ – someone who is open to chatting with you.

In this day and age people are conditioned to be highly skeptical of others and therefore not receptive to you or your invitation to anything until they know you by name and trust that you mean well. Frequent proximity and interaction can build trust which may lead to introductions to others on the block. Your example may foster neighbourly love among other residents in the area.

Could the members of St Paul’s do that?

Could members of St Paul’s start walking their neighbourhood and look for interactions and build trust. It doesn’t have to be very difficult or scary – just be open to chatting to people you meet on the street.  If they are not open to this  or welcoming (people of peace Luke: 10:5-6) that’s ok. But maybe someone will be.

You might knock on the door of the residence next to you or across the street and introduce yourself. If you meet people who are welcoming you may leave them a flyer that describes our church or invite them to an event at St Paul’s. This is not intended to be an evangelical blitz but a start at rediscovering St Paul’s neighbourhood. Katie has designed a special flyer for this. (see Invitation Poster)

You may have a dog and could walk your neighbourhood regularly. Some people will stop to talk or pet your dog – another connection. You may walk with a friend or co-worker who may introduce you to someone new. You may find that someone enjoys your company as much as you enjoy theirs.

Some of you may walk your neighbourhood already. We would love to hear your stories about your encounters and learn more about our neighbourhood first hand. Katie has a form for that too. (see Stewardship Report Back – pdf or click on Stewardship Report Back – survey link.)

Both the flyer and the communication form are available in the narthex for all who are up to this challenge. May God bless your neighbourhood through you.

Thank you for your prayers and support for Loving our Neighbour 2.0

At St Paul’s we are:  “Called by Faith, Growing in Joy, Living in Love and Sharing our Story.”