Stewardship Sunday

From the Lectern Stand on Stewardship Sunday
by Herb and Rhonda Jordan

Today is the start of our annual Stewardship Campaign.   Our goal, over the next six weeks, is to secure the financial commitments from you, our members, needed to run the Church for another year.  Since Kenilworth Union Church was founded in 1892, that makes this our 124th Stewardship Campaign.   We should have this down pat.

Many would say this is an easy task.

  • The Church is blessed with a vibrant ministry and an engaged congregation under the leadership of our outstanding ministers—Bill Evertsberg, Jo Forrest, and Katie Snipes Lancaster.
  • Our Church continues to grow in impact and numbers.
  • Attendance is up across worship services, youth programs, and our broad range of education and outreach efforts.
  • Membership is increasing as we welcome new members, another sign of a thriving congregation.

The spirit of Christ, and our partnership answering his call to serve, are evident everywhere.

But our growing strength makes it easy to be complacent…to assume that everything will continue to go well because that’s what we’ve come to expect.   But every year is a little bit different, and brings a slightly different challenge.   Last year, we began the campaign knowing that we had not met our Stewardship goal in a number of years.   You responded generously.   The goal was met, and we are now seeing the benefits of your generosity in our thriving ministry.   Our goal for the 2015–16 Stewardship Campaign is to match the growing momentum in the work of our Church with the increased financial commitments needed to support that growing impact.

We’re off to a strong start.   We’ve received early pledges totaling about $630,000 from the board of trustees, and from loyal and generous members of the congregation and Church staff.   That puts us at 32% of our goal. While we’re deeply grateful for that substantial support, we still need participation from all the members of our Church. Broad participation in giving is an important measure of members’ commitment. Our goal is to increase our participation rate of giving, and to increase the average gift to about $3,000 per family.

We hope you’ll give generously, knowing that giving is a very personal decision, and all of us are likely to have our own unique reasons beyond our shared commitment to the vitality and ministry of the Church:

  • Hopefully it’s that Kenilworth Union is your source of spiritual guidance and inspiration to help deepen your faith
  • Maybe it’s that Kenilworth Union is where you find comfort and strength from life’s inevitable challenges
  • Maybe it’s that Kenilworth Union is where you brought your children, or are bringing them now, to learn the stories of the Bible and the meaning of God’s love and forgiveness
  • Maybe it’s because Kenilworth Union is where you come to be inspired by our beautiful music
  • Maybe it’s because Kenilworth Union is where you come for community, to share in your faith with old friends and new
  • Maybe it’s because Kenilworth Union gives you new ways to think about the world and how it relates to your faith
  • Maybe it’s in gratitude for the many different ways you’ve been blessed—we’ve all been blessed—with the abundance and gifts of God’s love

But whatever your reason, we hope you’ll give generously, knowing that without your gifts, we couldn’t sustain the wonderful ministry of our Church and the expanding efforts to engage our members and community around us.

Our campaign runs from now through Sunday, November 8, and we ask that you submit your pledge commitment between now and that second Sunday in November.     If you have any questions about the Campaign, members of the Stewardship Committee will be in the Culbertson Room after the service each Sunday starting today, through the end of the campaign.
In closing, I’d like to share a short poem, which captures an angel’s response on giving to a questioning giver:

 

“Go give to the needy sweet charity’s bread.
For giving is living,” the angel said.
“And must I be giving again and again?
My peevish, petulant answer ran.
“On, no,” said the angel, piercing me through,
“just give till the Master stops giving to you.”

—Author Unknown