Adult Forum with Annie Campbell

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Adult Forum with Annie Campbell, part 1

 

Annie is one of the founding members of Richmond Hill, a professional storyteller, retreat leader, and recently retired from 40 years of teaching. We are excited that she came to share with us about the role of spiritual formation in the lives of both children and adults. This is part one from Sunday, October 20, 2019.

We Found Our Church Home

Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, October 20, 2019

By: Harry Baldwin

Home is a comforting and peaceful place after returning from a trip. There is a deep sense of serenity and solace gained by being among familiar belongings. Home is a place where we can be ourselves, and be loved, respected, and cared for by those who mean the most to us.

My wife, Jeannie, and I returned home to Richmond after being in Alexandria for twelve years. We sought and found a new home to house our cherished items, to get a great night’s sleep, and to share good times with family and friends. We also sought a new church, a new parish home. It was logical to check out St. Mary’s and we soon knew we had found our church home.

St. Mary’s meets precisely our needs – to be ourselves among fellow parishioners, to be loved, respected and cared for by clergy and lay members. We come to be fed weekly at God’s table with divine nourishment, to be forgiven as only God can do, and to be with family. We are very comfortable and at peace in our St. Mary’s home.

The campus and church buildings are beautiful and meet the needs of young and old alike. What really makes St. Mary’s the wonderful, peaceful, and comforting home is the living presence of the Holy Spirit. God is exceptionally good to me, to Jeannie, to each of us. Everything I have, possess, and need is provided by God. I owe all to him.

Stewardship time is an opportunity to reflect and respond to God’s generosity and kindness. This opportunity affords us the specific time to evaluate what time, talents, and treasures can be returned to God. Like every other home, there are expenses of brick and mortar as well as personal needs. Clergy and staff must be compensated for their compassionate work. Most importantly, we want – not need – to show God our sincere gratitude for everything he has given to us. I personally receive far more from God in my parish home than I could ever give.

The biblical guidance for our stewardship effort this year is “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” I ask you to consider how much our St. Mary’s church home means to you and to share your time, talents, and financial gifts for God’s work in this place. I urge you to increase your pledge or to give for the first time. To continue to invest in St. Mary’s will enhance the place where we are loved, respected, and cared for by God, fellow parishioners and staff. May the Holy Spirit continue to grace and bless our St. Mary’s home.

A Growing Appreciation of my Blessings

Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, October 13, 2019

By: Danny Williams

As our stewardship campaign gets underway, the focus falls on the needs of the church, for they are many and growing. But perhaps an even more important element in this exercise is our need to give. I see stewardship as one of the very most important missions of the church; a lesson, that if learned, will contribute more to peace of mind· than just about anything. An end to feeling guilty about spending on other things; an end to feelings of resentment at requests for donations; a joy at pleasing the asker and being able to do your part for whatever the enterprise might be. All within the framework of a stewardship standard that you have decided is right for you. We all know successful people who are generous. I have come to believe that they are successful because they are generous, not the other way around.

In 1981 when I turned 44, I decided that I would try to give away ten percent of my income. I included all giving in my objective. Not just church, but schools, hospitals, museums, the United Way, and the guy at the stoplight. This might fall short of the biblical tithe of returning to God a tenth of what he gives you. I suppose a strict interpretation would call for the whole ten percent going to the church. But it was a standard that seemed achievable for Georga and me and it made room for plenty of new giving. Now at age 81, I look back on this decision as a primary reason for the wonderful easy life that I am so grateful for. A good theme for living, if not for a stewardship campaign might be Ecclesiasties 11:1- “Cast your bread upon the waters for after many days you will find it again.” That’s exactly how it has played out for me. I found that with the rearrangement of my priorities, many of my other hopes and aspirations no longer seemed so important. A growing appreciation of my existing blessings took their place.

So as you consider your support for St. Mary’s in 2020, please also consider the broader benefits that stewardship brings. I believe you will be glad you did.