September 3, 2014

September 2014 Editor's Letter: Sharing Our Gifts

When you think about stewardship, do you associate it with giving or with sharing?

To me, giving suggests a transaction, a handing off, while sharing implies relationship, a connection. God invites us into relationship – with God and with each other – and encourages us to open our eyes and to see what God is showing, telling, and teaching us.

This month our Vestry Papers articles share stories of the ways congregations or individuals are responding to God’s invitation. As contributor Demi Prentiss observes, “Our response can open the door to God’s multiplying our gifts, allowing them to bear life-giving fruit in the lives of others, in ways we may never have the privilege of seeing.”

Our September stories include:

Attitude of Gratitude” by Demi Prentiss invites us to consider stewardship as how we respond to what God is trying to show us and tell us and teach us. How can we adopt the practice of an “attitude for gratitude” to help us focus more clearly on the gifts God has given us?

Across our church, congregations are learning to do more with less. In “Become What You Receive,” Greg Syler continues the story of the ways St. George’s Valley Lee is re-learning how to be church, how to become the literal Body of Christ.

Peggy Dahlberg’s “From Outreach to Relationship” shares the story, not only of what happened when Christ Church Cranbrook made the decision to focus their outreach efforts more narrowly, but also how the congregation’s commitment to this approach has helped it thrive through several changes of clergy leadership.

In “Do Not Give Money to God,” Sandra Swan challenges us to change our thinking about why and how we give. This fall, at St. Paul’s in Greenville, North Carolina, members are being asked to put the emphasis on doing, rather than giving, a formula Sandra maintains helps transform “money into ministry.”

Each Vestry Papers article includes a practical application related to the article that you might try at an upcoming vestry meeting. You’ll also find a list of the resources mentioned in the article as well as additional information related to the topic. If you have a resource you’d like to share, please email me with the link or add it to the site using the Your Turn feature. If you’re a subscriber, click on the Make a Submission button. Not a subscriber? It’s easy – and free – just click here.

And, please remember to share this issue of Vestry Papers with others in your congregation, along with an invitation to subscribe to ECF Vital Practices and Vestry Papers. Subscriptions are free; visit and click on the Subscribe tab on the upper right hand corner of this page. New subscribers are asked to fill out a short registration form to have Vestry Papers and ECF Vital Practices content delivered twice a month to your email inbox.