My name is John Field and I am a member of St. Andrew's since 2010.
I love Fall. I love to watch the seasons begin to change. The temps begin to cool off from the hot summer, the surf usually picks up some and the water stays warm, the leaves begin to change, and for a few weeks the New England Patriots look like they will be the champions of football…….oh, wait…..I guess we can scratch that last one off this year.
Fall also marks the beginning of our annual stewardship campaign. I enjoy that time as an opportunity to reflect on all the blessings that God has put in my life and prayerfully consider how I might be able to contribute to his church. When I do that and I think about St. Andrew's, I see a church on the move.
Last month’s ministries faire was the perfect example of all the wonderful things happening in our community. From the MESS group providing help to wounded veterans, to the Youth Mission trip, to the new Garden group or our rotating homeless shelter; this church provides a vibrant and dynamic expression of Christ’s love in the world. The capstone event of last year of course was the installation of our new rector, Mother Brenda. With her new leadership in place, these expressions and even more are sure to continue here.
But how can I contribute? What is my role? Each Fall we consider these questions. Like everyone, I have a myriad of stressors in my life. As a working professional, a husband, and a father my life is pretty full of commitments on both my time and my treasure. A couple weeks ago as I began considering what to speak about this morning I mentioned the Stewardship campaign at the dinner table. My youngest daughter asked, “Daddy what is Stewardship?” In what I thought was a brilliant parenting moment, I responded, “Well Meg, what do you think it means?...Do you know what a Steward is?”
“Some one who protects something?” Wow! I thought. Sometimes it is a child’s innocence that is the most beautiful expression of our faith. Webster’s says stewardship is: “the responsible overseeing and protection of something considered worth caring for and preserving” As I prayed more on it later I thought that, for me, these definitions fit very well. As a Christian, am I not a protector of God’s church? But I still worry about the myriad other concerns, how can I balance those?
The prophet Malachai tells us, in Ch 3 v 10: "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, so that there may be food in My house, and test Me now in this," says the LORD of hosts, "if I will not open for you the windows of heaven and pour out for you a blessing until it overflows.”
Every Fall, as I prayerfully consider how I can be a better Steward of God’s church, I come back to this passage and it gives me hope. It reminds me that despite all the other things going on in my life, if I put my trust in the Lord, He will take care of the rest. As we move into this year’s stewardship campaign, I hope that you will join me in considering how we all might continue to be stewards of our church both here and in the world.
name is Karen Moore.
little over 17 years ago, my husband David and I arrived here at St Andrew’s
with our three young children. We’d moved cross country having left behind a
much loved church family,…we were sure we would never again experience what we
had with them!
forward 17 years, how little faith I had… today I stand here amongst you, and
this beautiful and vibrant community that is St Andrew’s…I stand here with a
heart overflowing with gratitude, and love for you, the people that make this
place what it is. It is here, that we have, literally and figuratively, GROWN ourselves,
and our family.
me, the “growth” of which I speak, has occurred in so many ways - it has
occurred here in this sanctuary, and at our communion table, it has occurred
through participation in bible and book studies, parent studies, women’s
retreats, Advent and Lenten studies, foyer dinners, forums, and EfM. We, as a family have grown also through our
involvement in the ministries of this community, especially in the children’s
and youth ministries, as well as through acolyting, and ushering, and helping
with the homeless shelter. We have grown through prayer, and, we have been soincredibly blessed to have
grown through our communion with you, the people of St Andrew’s. YOU ARE this
are the people doing God’s work…we have grown through our association with you
- not only do we consider you brothers and sisters in Christ, but we, have, over
the years, considered you “family”
have grown through shared joys and trials, through both the fun and the
challenging times, we have grown through the wisdom you possess, and have
shared – change and growth have not always been comfortable, but with the
patience, forgiveness, love and support of this community, we have been the
better for it.
Andrew’s has grounded and balanced our lives. It has been so important to us to
have this place, a place to be with people with whom we share a common desire
to seek and grow into a fuller understanding of the love of God, and what that
means to us – an understanding of what we can do with that love – the power we
have, each in our own individual and unique ways, to love, and to heal, to
encourage and to bring light and hope to this world.
to St Andrew’s, it’s people, and it’s ministries, we, David and myself, and our
three, now quite adult children, have all grown immeasurably as individuals,
and as children of God. We have grown in our love and understanding of who God
is, and what “church” is; we have seen, through this place, the power we have
to live into the love of an amazing and wondrous God…!!!
this growth we are beyond thankful!!!
one finds themselves “beyond thankful” – what is one to do? …And, here lies the
crux of what I am doing up here…
one finds themselves “beyond thankful”, they feel compelled to give back – it
is our joy and our honor to be able to give back to God in gratitude, and in
love, for ALL that has been bestowed upon us, and for all that we have come to
know through God and through a community such as this!
that is what we do.
give back by involving ourselves in this community, by giving of our time, and
by sharing our varied gifts and talents; and by helping to grow, yes, with our
money, the work of this place in the world….
is huge, and it is exciting, if not at times daunting, and maybe even scary…the
people of St Andrew’s are needed in this community,
in this world,
on this planet!
ask you to prayerfully consider your own blessings and what you can give, in
time talent and treasure, to further the work of growth here and in the
Stewardship. I don’t know about your experiences with
stewardship but ours were a bit of a learning curve. We knew that church families have expenses
just like every other family. We always contributed but never really stopped to
consider what that meant in terms of the church’s mission.
I grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. We often heard about the importance of
supporting the church. We had
envelopes…starting in kindergarten. My
parents contributed faithfully. I only
remember one discussion about pledging growing up. It followed what was pretty
much of a parish uproar over the then pricey “Princess” phones being installed
in the new rectory. All settled down. Life moved on. No further discussions
about pledging. When we got married and joined a church, we always pledged but
it was a head process. Our hearts
weren’t in it….yet.
all changed for us one Thanksgiving morning.
We had gone to church and happened to sit near the refugee family that
our parish had recently sponsored. This
family was doing their best to live into their new community. It was quite a shift for them: from warm,
lush green Southeast Asia to high desert eastern Washington. Our local mountain was named after a
rattlesnake. That pretty much tells the
tale. Rattlesnake…Not all that hospitable. Minimal green. More like barren. The
only place we’ve ever lived that had less green was Saudi Arabia. In addition
to the “environmental” adjustments for the family, it had also been a very
rough time emotionally for their community.
One of their teenage boys had recently drowned in an accident at the
local high school pool. Tough times all
we saw that morning that moved and deepened our understanding of stewardship
was watching the refugee family place their envelope in the collection
plate. If anyone in that parish family
had good reasons for not being able to support the church financially, it was
that family. They had so very little. Life in the refugee camp had been
difficult for them. Things had improved in many ways since coming to the States
but their financial circumstances were still meager. But there they were. Doing what they could. I sat back in my seat rather hard feeling
like I had just been “whapped up side the head” by the Spirit. The message was delivered powerfully. Our journey into heartfelt financial support
of the church’s mission began that morning.
It’s a lifelong journey…one of deepening faith and joy.
we can provide a space for the Spirit to soar and reach out in unexpected ways.
Our financial support of St. Andrew's enables the journey. Let’s all pledge our support and together
discover what the Spirit has in store for the next chapter in St. Andrew’s