Managing Assets to be Stewards of Humanity
There were others who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards and our houses that we might get grain during the famine.” Nehemiah 5:3
On Ascension Day, May 18, 2023, the New York Episcopal Federal Credit Union (NYEFCU) celebrated the launch of its first branch office at St. James Fordham in the Bronx. The Rt. Rev. Andres ML Dietsche, Bishop of New York, and Bishop Coadjutor-Elect Matthew Heyd state that this “marked a milestone in enhancing financial inclusivity for . . . marginalized and unbanked populations and signified a new chapter in the church’s mission to promote justice and compassion in the world.” Miguel Escobar, author of “The Unjust Steward” and Executive Director of Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary, says, “The Bible teaches that we all have a moral imperative to help liberate people from poverty and economic bondage. We can use money as a tool for justice, and thus fulfill our calling to be faithful servants of God, not servants of wealth.”
In this video, Dr. Sandra Montes, Dean of Chapel at Union Theological Seminary, and member of the capital campaign group for the NYEFCU, hosts a panel discussion about the credit union, the theology of money in our Christian tradition and our traditional cultures, and diocesan hopes for the impact this initiative will have. Participants include:
- The Rev. Canon Steven Lee, who serves as Canon Pastor of the Cathedral Church of Saint John the Divine and Vicar of its Congregation of Saint Saviour. Originally from Marin County, California, Steven worked as a derivatives trader for a Swiss bank after graduating from Yale University with a degree in Classics. He has a Master of Divinity from General Theological Seminary. His wife, Emma Presler, works at the Museum of Modern Art, and they have three sons.
- The Rt. Rev. Matthew Heyd, the bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese of New York, who will become the seventeenth bishop of New York in 2024. He has also served as the rector of Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City and director of Faith in Action at Trinity Church Wall Street, and he helped launch Episcopal Charities in the Diocese of New York. Matt holds a Master of Arts in religion summa cum laude from Yale University and a Master of Sacred Theology from The General Theological Seminary. His spouse Ann Thornton is Vice Provost and University Librarian at Columbia University. They have a sixteen-year-old daughter and an eleven-year-old son.
- Miguel Escobar, the executive director of the Episcopal Divinity School at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. Previously, he was the managing program director for leadership resources and communications and marketing at the Episcopal Church Foundation. From 2007 to 2010, Escobar served as communications assistant to the Most Rev. Katharine Jefferts Schori, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church. He graduated in 2007 with a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary. Miguel is the author of “The Unjust Steward: Wealth, Poverty, and the Church Today,” available here.
Joining or Supporting the NYEFCU
Later in 2023, the NYEFCU expects to be able to open new accounts for all those living in New York State who are interested. The credit union will focus on the specific financial needs of low- to moderate-income members by offering services such as basic savings and lending facilities, direct deposit, online access, cashier’s checks, and money orders. Any congregation interested in pledging capital to support the NYEFCU or any people interested in knowing how to establish individual accounts, should contact Mr. Stephen Breed, Interim Chief Operating Officer of the NYEFCU at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more about the credit union, visit www.nyefcu.org.
- Credit Unions for Economic Justice by Jennifer Miramontes, Vestry Papers, March 2020
- Why Credit Unions Might be a Better Choice for your Parish by Bruce Adams, an ECF Vital Practices blog, July 19, 2023
- Questioning Stewardship by Miguel Escobar, Vestry Papers, September 2022
- A Native Sense of Stewardship by Forrest Cuch and Michael Carney, Vestry Papers, September 2020