Respond with Time, Talent, and Treasure

Respond with Time, Talent, and Treasure

A Weekly Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, November 12, 2017

By: Jane duFrane and Fay Lohr, Stewardship co-chairs

We love witnessing how our gifts open the way at St. Mary’s to life-transforming ministries at our church, and in our local community, state, and around the globe. Over the past six weeks you have heard from different parishioners about their Stewardship journeys and what St. Mary’s means to them and their families.

Since the beginning of this year, your gifts have opened the way by accompanying parishioners on a retreat to the Society of St. John the Evangelist; sponsoring youth weekends at Shrine Mont Retreat Center; sending staff, parishioners, and youth on four different mission trips around the world; hosting a CARITAS shelter for homeless families; mailing hundreds of cards to families with new babies, ill family members, familial losses, and birthdays through our pastoral care teams; offering a fantastic Vacation Bible School; and collecting food for over 50 families through Goochland Free Clinic and Family Services. That names only some of the vibrant ministries here at St. Mary’s.

These ministries – and many more – are profoundly relevant to those in our congregation, the community that surrounds us, and to God, who opens our hearts, hands, and souls to do His work with those known and unknown. Our ministries open boxes of food, windows of hope, and minds of creative and joyous wonder. Our ministries open up each of us to our own gifts, some yet unknown, and to paths not seen before.

“A Gift Opens the Way” is a call to action for each of us: to worship together and open ourselves to the Word of God, know the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives, and respond to the nudges of the Holy Spirit. It is a call to respond with the time, talent, and treasure that God has given you.

Our mission at St. Mary’s calls us toward intentional generosity, including financial commitments. Some members tithe, giving ten percent of their income to the church; some members give proportionally, committing a certain percentage to our ministries; others give as they are able. What is important is that you open your heart to God, beginning as you are able, to support and sustain our life of ministry at St. Mary’s and in God’s Kingdom.

Your commitment to our Annual Giving Campaign is an essential gift that fuels St. Mary’s transformational ministries in Richmond and beyond. Your gift opens the way!

A Wonderful Place for Life

A Weekly Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, November 5, 2017

By: Amelia McDaniel

Teaching our children about God’s call to share our time, talent, and treasure in our community is a never-ending process. It is something that we as adults continue to grow into as well. We want our children to understand the importance of not only monetary donations to the church but also how they use their time and talents in the world to help others in God’s name.

In the past, the children made contributions to the church in their Sunday School classrooms or in the plate as it was passed in church. This year we are trying something new. At the offertory the children are invited to come forward to place their own offerings in plates that are held by young ushers. They can bring forward a monetary donation that will go into the general fund of the church. They may also bring forward a card that is found in the boxes where the worship bags are contained. On these cards, they can draw or write about a way they made an offering of time or talent during the week. A time they helped a friend. A time they shared their snack or lunch with another. A donation of cans to the food bank. We want them to grow to understand that all of what we do can be an offering to God.

This week’s video reflection is by one of our young students, Rainey Trice. Please check out St. Mary’s YouTube channel to watch the video. Her words are a powerful reminder about the impact that belonging to the St. Mary’s community can have on all our lives. Her sense of commitment to our community is an inspiration for those of all ages. As she reminds us at the end, St. Mary’s is a wonderful place for life. That could not happen without the generosity of all.

Finding a Church Home

A Weekly Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, October 29, 2017

By: Bill Huffman

Marilyn and I returned to Richmond in 2012, after a 13 year absence, to be close to family. We purchased a home in Randolph Square where we joyfully hear St. Mary’s bells every hour, and since we were Episcopalians, it seemed right that we should visit St. Mary’s. We were attracted by the history of Little St. Mary’s, the simplistic beauty of New St. Mary’s, and the peaceful serenity of the church grounds. It’s been the last two years that we became active members. For me, the men’s spiritual practice with Bob is one of the most meaningful hours of my week. I also attend the lectionary Bible study led by Frank Eakin, which is an enlightening and thoughtful discussion of each Sunday’s Bible readings. Marilyn joined the altar guild and enjoyed several of Weezie’s tours at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Together, we participated in book studies and CARITAS, enjoyed Choral Evensongs and Lessons and Carols at Christmas and, most recently, Faith & Film with Andrew. Through all of this we’ve met many wonderful people. We were looking for a church home, and we found one at St. Mary’s.

Thinking about this reflection made me realize how significant St. Mary’s has become to us in a short time. Several years ago, Weezie led a book study of Being Christian by Rowan Williams. In my favorite chapter titled “Eucharist”, Williams writes “…when we gather as God’s guest at God’s table, the Church becomes what it is meant to be – a community of strangers who have become guests together and are listening together to the invitation of God.” So, in my prayers during Holy Communion each Sunday, I thank God for his invitation and his welcome and I thank Him for St. Mary’s Church.

Writing this also made me realize how much all of us have to celebrate. St. Mary’s has undergone a significant amount of change over the last few years and has remained a strong and vibrant church. We learned last week that there will be more change in the coming months. As Al Rider stated so well in his letter “…it is our sense of humility, love of place, simplicity, tradition, community, and willingness to embrace change that has guided us…Over time there are changing faces in the pews and at the Altar, but we remain the same place. And it is a good place.” St. Mary’s offers each of us a “good place” to grow spiritually and strengthen our faith.

St. Mary’s is indeed a good and special place. Let us all commit to St. Mary’s future with our gifts of time, talent, and treasure.

Joyfully from your Heart

A Weekly Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, October 22, 2017

By: Georga Williams

St. Mary’s was my old church but now it is our new church. Danny and I are delighted to be back. What took us so long? We raised our young family in another Episcopal church closer to our home. When they became adults they chose to go to other churches. Our daughter and her family chose St. Mary’s. Two nieces, two nephews and their families plus Danny’s sister and brother-in-law are here, too. We come to church on Sundays and see family. And it is a happy place to worship with them and old friends.

My father, mother, sister, brother and I were members here in the 50’s. I met Danny at a St. Mary’s Young Peoples’ Service League progressive dinner. Nine years later we were married by Rector Stanley Ashton in 1961. My father’s and mother’s funerals were conducted here by the Rev. Holt Souder and the Rev. John Miller respectively. And our daughter was baptized here. You get the idea….we have come home again.

This is a bright, sunny, friendly, happy place. We love it. I have enjoyed meeting and interacting with the parishioners, and joining the altar guild and a pastoral care team. To continue to be a vital place, churches must ask their congregations for funds. It should be all of our pleasure to give to a place that means so much to so many.

Danny and I aim to tithe. We came to this conclusion some years ago and continue to strive to tithe. It is not a burden but a genuine honor to help keep this place functioning to the standards to which we are all accustomed. We all know that we will be asked to give once a year. Do it joyfully from your heart.

I urge you to see this as an opportunity to prove to yourself that you have done your best to support this special place, St. Mary’s.

The Welcoming Spirit of St. Mary’s

A Weekly Stewardship Reflection, Sunday, October 15, 2017

By: Patsy Simril

Thankfulness is what I feel about St. Mary’s. As newcomers, we would like to thank the clergy, staff, and congregation for the warm welcome we have received. We came from an Episcopal church in Spartanburg, South Carolina, which pulled us in and showed us the value and joy in participating in our church community. It was one of the greatest blessings we had in our former home. Less than two years ago when we transferred to St. Mary’s, you pulled us in and put us to work. Consequently, we are feeling welcomed and appreciated in our new church home. Keep doing this. You are good at it and it is powerful!

A welcoming spirit is one of the most attractive attributes anyone or any church can have. We all know the insecurity of being “new,” and we remember the names of those who include and encourage us, whether it is at school, work, or at church. It is the foundation of trust, and I believe that love does not grow without it. Already, we feel safe here.

St. Mary’s has a bright, open, positive feel to it, and it is not just because of your beautiful sanctuary.  The people I meet (please wear your nametag) seem relaxed and happy in their faith. This happy faith spills over in their generosity of time, talent, and treasure, all of which contribute to this great community of faith. Each is important and vital to the health of our church. The more time I spend with God in His community, the more I want to use whatever talents I have to enrich our community. I can’t help but feel thankful to have a loving place to worship, create friendships, and strengthen my faith. All this leads my heart to want to share my treasures.

Geoff, Henry, and I look forward to getting to know all of you better as we continue our spiritual journey at St. Mary’s.