Stewardship Reflection, Friday, November 20
By: Seth Schaeffer, Senior Warden, & Harry Baldwin, Junior Warden
It certainly is fascinating to reflect during a convergence of seasons in this most unique year of 2020. Summer indisputably is over. We are solidly in the midst of our season of thanksgiving. And, here St. Mary’s, we also are coming to the end of our season of stewardship. At this intersection in our spiritual lives, we look back at a year filled with challenges and blessings, but also forward to the coming season of Advent and a bright, promising 2021.
Looking back, our parish family proved time and time again to be a beacon of love and kindness. Examples of St. Mary’s “doing God’s work” in our community abound:
- St. Mary’s youth provided Shalom Farms with much-need help harvesting crops that will be used to feed those in need in our community.
- St. Mary’s filled and delivered over 100 grocery bags of food to Goochland Cares to help provide Thanksgiving meals to those who otherwise would have gone without.
- St. Mary’s housed and fed three meals a day to 30 women through CARITAS.
- St. Mary’s also opened our doors to the Underground Kitchen so that meals could be prepared for shelters, homeless, and first responders.
- St. Mary’s fully furnished a two bedroom apartment at the new CARITAS apartments.
- St. Mary’s provided financial support to outreach partners that included St. Andrew’s School, the Peter Paul Development Center, Crossroads Ministry, Gateway Homes, and the Goochland YMCA.
We also took care of each other. St. Mary’s clergy, staff, and parishioners teamed up to provide online and outdoor services so that we could continue to worship God as a parish family. Parishioners stayed in touch with one another—reaching out to those unable to leave their homes through phone calls, cards, and personal touches. And we’ll always remember the outpouring of love the St. Mary’s family showered on our good friend Gersain upon his retirement and return to Colombia.
None of this was easy. Nothing in 2020 was. It all took great love, commitment, and faith. We are proud to say, however, that when the chips were down, St. Mary’s stepped up—stepped up in a big way. For that we are so extremely grateful.
As we close out this season of stewardship and look to 2021, with all of its uncertain obstacles, we are comforted by that which we know to be certain—the love and commitment of the St. Mary’s family. It will not always be easy, but we have faith that St. Mary’s will continue to provide for our community and each other; and God will provide for all of us. With your pledges, however, we will be able to plan for 2021 with more than faith alone. We therefore ask you to be intentional and honest in your evaluation of your pledge. The stewardship season is a time for sincere prayer and conversation with the Holy Spirit about the giving of time, treasure, and talent to St. Mary’s. This time of prayer with God is private but important.
In Matthew 22:37 we are told, “Hear what our Lord Jesus Christ said: You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
Our first and greatest role at St. Mary’s is to love and serve God with all our hearts. Secondly, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. Even with everything that 2020 has thrown at us, we have continued to honor these commandments. By doing so, we have showed our commitment to do God’s work. Your 2021 pledge will make it possible for us to continue to do God’s work in the coming year as well.
Thank you for all you have done and continue to do for St. Mary’s. Thank you for your dedication and prayers. We know that 2021 will not be without its own challenges, but we believe that it—like 2020—will present our parish with opportunities to once again show who we are as a community of faith. We cannot wait to see St. Mary’s prove us right!
Lord, May the Work We Do BE YOUR WORK.