Reflections from the Cathedral Community
While living in California for graduate school, I worked part-time in a church. It was an Episcopal church, and I loved it there, but the Cathedral Church of St. Paul is my home. I never felt, as a grad student working only part-time, that I had enough money to pledge, though. I might have enough to put a few dollars in the collection once in a while, but any amount I could count on having every month—that is, any pledge I could send home to Detroit—would be too small to matter.
One year, the development office at the church where I worked needed help processing pledges, and I volunteered to help with the data entry. Among all the big pledges I expected to see, I came across one that moved me deeply. Someone made a pledge for ten cents. One dime per year – that was all they could promise. I have no idea if that was really all they could afford. What moved me was that such a tiny pledge seemed to me to be more than a monetary contribution: it represented a desire to be connected—the same desire I felt toward the Detroit cathedral I continued to call my home.
So I made my tiny pledge. I don’t know whether it made any difference to the cathedral, but it strengthened my connection to this church while I was so far away. Now that you have all welcomed me home, I’m renewing that pledge, and returning to choir and lectoring. As we give together of our “time, treasure, and talent,” we further God’s work of making this cathedral church a sign of God’s welcoming all people home.
Stewardship. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as, “the careful and responsible management of something entrusted to one’s care. “It’s not hard to see how this definition is similar to my own personal definition of the word and how it relates to our life at the Cathedral. We are called as children of God, to be good stewards; to care for the sick, to visit the imprisoned, and to feed the hungry. These are our gifts. This is how we can be good stewards and respond to the needs of our world and those entrusted to our care. With our many, and deeply loved ministries offered at this Cathedral, it is important that we support and uplift them as much as possible and I am always proud to be able to be part of that work through my planned giving. My planned giving to the Cathedral Church of St. Paul is just one way that I can celebrate, give thanks, and offer God my gifts for the needs of this world and the ministries of this Cathedral.
C.S. Lewis wrote “Every faculty you have, your power of thinking or of moving your limbs from moment to moment, is given you by God. If you devoted every moment of your whole life exclusively to His service, you could not give Him anything that was not in a sense His own.” Many Christians today unfortunately view stewardship only as asking members only for monetary support for church budgets, building programs, etc. It is necessary to have the financial resources to support these essential components, and we MUST give of ourselves to support the operation, programs and ministries of the church, but it is also essential to look deeper into what is God’s meaning of stewardship. For a start, try Psalm 24 – The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. It is pretty clear: the world is God’s garden and we are in it. God has entrusted us; WE are responsible as Stewards, as servants of the Lord. We will be called to give an account of our stewardship of our time, money, abilities, information, wisdom, relationships, and authority. As we prepare to pledge our time, talents and resources to God and the church, I ask you to join Joan and me in praying for God’s guidance in sharing the riches so graciously bestowed upon us. We have all been blessed with a loving, caring and talented parish family. By working in God’s garden, taking care to do good works, giving back to God what is truly his; we will be faithful Stewards of his kingdom and WILL, as promised, be rewarded with God’s joy. Peace in Christ –
Gary W. Wood