“Trust the Lord and do good; live in the land, and farm faithfulness.” - Psalm 37:3
Dear Ascension Family,
Our understanding of the word “stewardship” often gets reduced to encompass only matters of money, particularly in the church. In reality, everything we do is stewardship. We are stewards, not only of the money we possess, but of all the gifts God has given us. How we use our time and our talent matters a great deal. Our stewardship, then, is how we manage everything we do with all that we have.
This year’s stewardship campaign is titled Grace in Action. Grace is a simple but powerful word at the heart of our Christian faith. Defined as “undeserved favor,” Grace is something created by God and freely extended to all through Him. By grace, God forgives our sins, enlightens our minds, stirs our hearts, and strengthens our will. And we, in turn, seek to extend the same grace to others.
Many of you have read our Reflections of Grace each Sunday. As part of our stewardship campaign, we launched these on August 7th, and you’ll continue to see them each week through November 6th. They accompany our Sunday bulletins and are also available to read on our website’s Stewardship page. Each week an Ascension member considers the Gospel reading and writes about how it speaks to them. There are questions relating to stewardship at the end of each entry for us to ponder. My hope is that as we read and reflect, our sense of how best to be stewards of our lives at home, at church, and in the community is brought into focus. I also believe these weekly pieces can help us lean into this broader understanding of stewardship.
In a world where personal possessions and autonomy of time matter a great deal, the notion that everything belongs to God can be challenging. Theologian Henri Nouwen wrote, “The Spirit reveals that we belong not to a world of success, fame, or power but to God.” Our actions convey our true beliefs; are we living as though our very lives belong to God?
Ideally, the church helps us fulfill this high calling. A community of faith develops spiritual disciplines that keep God central in our lives. It is also a place where we serve our neighbors together, thus increasing our collective good works and exemplifying the grace we experience in God. Gathering for prayer and service also allows us to serve out of the gifts God has given us, for together we are whole. It is as if we are each a piece of a puzzle: together, the picture of God’s kingdom is clearer and more complete.
The same is true as we pool our monetary resources. Our budget supports our common life in worship and formation. It also allows us to offer outbound ministries to those in need and support a variety of other ministries and partnerships. I often wish to capture the gratitude I hear from those we serve. When I am thanked on our collective behalf, I do my best to impart that it comes from our entire parish community. Our generosity can inspire others to be generous as well, which exemplifies the principles of stewardship and grace.
Please join me in embracing our Grace in Action campaign. Read the reflections each week, discuss the questions with one another, and pray for our church and our community. Discern how you will steward the gifts you’ve been granted in the year ahead and how Ascension can amplify them.
Download cards below, complete & drop off at our Welcome Desk or email to Fr. Paul.