LOGO angelican
June 2014  
Vol 13 Issue 20

Labyrinth


Practicing Month to Month
 

 

 Dear friends,

 

 June is almost here. Please take a moment to read this newsletter. We are blessed in the next while to have much to celebrate and be thankful for at St. Laurence.  We begin this Friday with the ordination of Carolyn Herold and look forward in June, to a special youth service June 8 and baptisms on  June 22.

 

In addition this coming Sunday, June 1st, we are beginning a period of time when we will look at stewardship as a spiritual practice.  The intent of this is two-fold. First of all, it is integral to all of  our spiritual health and development that we give of our time, treasure and talent to the church and to the world.  Secondly, in order to adequately staff and fund the ministry of St. Laurence the parish council has set a goal of increasing the operating budget by 20%.

 

To this end the spiritual practice newsletters for the next months will all be about stewardship.  We have also planned one after church 'Conversations' and one evening session on stewardship.  The after church session is this Sunday, June 1 and the evening session will be at 7 pm on Tuesday, June 10.  We ask and encourage all parishoners to attend one or both of these sessions.  They will be an opportunity for you to hear from other parishoners about why they give and to prayerfully and privately consider your own giving.    We will be having another two sessions like this in September and will be contacting those who could not attend the June sessions and specifically inviting them to those.  Our goal is to have all parishoners attend at  least one of these four sessions. Please help us meet that goal.  

 

With every blessing,

 

Anna

 

 

 

 


 
 Wayne Stewart Stewardship as a Spiritual Practice

 

Many of you will not be surprised that I am offering some thoughts on what my mother would have called my 'hobby horse' (you may feel that "Wayne is always asking for money "). I am delighted that the focus of our spiritual practice for the next few months will be on stewardship because of its central role in a Christian life.

 

Money is a very important part of stewardship, but only one part. As Bishop McNaughton says, "Christian stewardship is what we do with what we have all of the time." We have been given so much by a loving God and it is important that we decide what to do with those many gifts and that we put our decisions into practice.

 

Spiritual practice leads to spiritual growth, putting us on the path of Jesus, bringing us closer to God. I have come to believe after many years of fits and starts that I am growing in spirit so long as I am giving. In other words, giving is growing and if I stop giving, I stop growing. In this sense, stewardship is foundational to spiritual practice. I believe that I not only have an obligation to personally engage in stewardship, in all of its manifestations, but that I also have an obligation to encourage others to do so, to in turn contribute to their spiritual growth.

 

We hear stories all the time about the rise in spirit gained from helping a person in need and we have personal experiences of that. Often it seems that our spirit soars when, for example, we see a hungry child smile after we have fed them breakfast.

 

My understanding of the importance of giving began in childhood on an Ontario farm. My parents were always helping others, not often with money for it was in short supply in the early 40s. They would give farm produce to neighbours whose crops had failed, help with the harvest after their own crops were in the barn, join a barn raising effort after a lightning strike. It was apparent when they had helped for the mood around the big old kitchen table, while always good, was even better on those days. There was an enhanced level of quiet satisfaction at meal time, almost as if they felt that God was happy at their efforts on that day.

 

The lessons of my early farm life have stayed with me (and many of us will have had similar models in our family home). What I thought as a kid was just the way things worked, I now see as examples of stewardship. My parents were good stewards, in their care of the land they farmed, in helping their neighbours whenever the need arose, in supporting their community and church. Doing what they understood God wanted with what they had all the time, knowing that what they gave was returned manifold, for of that they had lots of direct experience. A neighbouring farmer said it well: "if I can help someone in need, I get much more out of it than they do."

 

Growing through giving has become a fundamental part of my life and a practice that I try always to follow. Like the farmer down the road, I always get back more than I give.

Barbara Brown Taylor, in "An Altar in the World," offers these wise words: "wisdom is not gained by knowing what is right. Wisdom is gained by practicing what is right and noticing what happens.." These words are equally applicable to stewardship.

 

As Anna said in her May 11 sermon, I feel blessed and lucky with the gifts that I have received. I regularly have the "there but for the grace of God" thought when I see homeless people and hear of the many needs of the poor, the addicted, the native, the abused. I also find it interesting and instructional when I feel guilty for having not given enough (I never feel bad when I have given more than I had originally planned). Sometimes the feeling that I could have given more persists for days; I take this as a message from God that "you could have done more, so next time..."

 

What is the proper level of giving? I am not sure that is even the right question for if giving is fundamental to growing, giving must be a first consideration in all circumstances. At the same time, the question of giving level is often front and center. Should we tithe? What does tithe mean in Anglican terms anyway?

 

Bishop McNaughton suggests that the Old Testament writing on tithing is a reminder that God is the source and giver of all wealth (time, talent, treasure, voice).

 

Martha and I try always to be 'tithers' and most years we succeed. We give to those community issues where we understand the need and the impact, including homelessness, poverty and domestic violence and of course our church. Because we get back much more than we give, in the stories of people helped by agencies that we support, from our parish family, we are what Anna has called 'glad givers.'

 

For me, giving is growing. As I give of what God has blessed me with, I grow in spirit. Stewardship, for me, is therefore a foundational spiritual practice, affecting everything I do in my attempts to follow Jesus and get closer to God.

 

We still have too many shoes (back to Anna's sermon) and I sense that God is calling us to do more. As one response to this call, we intend to respond to Anna's sermon call by increasing our annual 'money' contribution to St Laurence.

May we be good stewards in every way, practicing the right things with all that we have all the time. May my experiences be of some help and hope to others who seek the spiritual growth that we all long for and that the church and the world needs of each of us.

June at St. Laurence

 

Friday, May 30

7 pm Ordination of Carolyn Herold at St. Peters (903 75 Ave. SW)

 

Sunday, June 1

10:00 am Service.  MJ Leewis-Kirk to preach about stewardship as a spiritual practice. Following the service please join us for Conversations where Ken and Joan Townend, Gord McDonald and Wayne Stewart will talk about the importance of stewardship in their lives.

 

Thursday, June 5

9:30 am Contemplative Prayer Service. 

 

Sunday, June 8 

10:00 am OneBody Youth Service. St. Martins and Good Shepherd to join us for worship here at St. Laurence. Following the service please join us for a sandwich picnic lunch.

 

Monday, June 9

9:30 - noon Parish Council planning session

 

Tuesday, June 10

7 pm - Stewardship evening with wine and cheese in the Sunshine Room.  All welcome and encouraged to attend.

 

Sunday, June 15

10 am service.   Anna  Greenwood-Lee to preach

 

Monday - Friday, June 16 - 20  Anna at a Clergy Conference in Montreal

 

Thursday, June 19

9:30 am Contemplative Prayer Service.  


Sunday, June 22 
10 am Baptism Service for Justin and Cash Greve.  Last Sunday service in St. Laurence building until August.

 

Sunday, June 29 

10:00 am Combined Service at Good Shepherd (408 38 St. SW)