Our Parish Stewardship Program
In February, 2007, a handful of parish members participated in a Diocese of Delaware stewardship consultation. The outcome of this experience resulted in a basic change in focus for St. Peter’s stewardship program. Much of our new approach was modeled after information contained in a book written by David Ponting entitled “From Scarcity to Abundance.” Before 2007, our focus on stewardship occurred in the Fall with a focus on the annual budget. Our new focus was on a year-round program whose focus is on the theme “All we do, with all we have, all of the time.” We emphasize the importance for each of us to move from a mindset of “scarcity” (a fear that we’ll never have enough or that we’ll somehow lose what we have) to a mindset of “abundance” fully recognizing and then responding to our overwhelmingly generous God.
The basic principles of our stewardship program taken from “From Scarcity to Abundance
Our understanding of the call to be stewards of the gifts of God originates in the Book of Genesis. The Genesis story teaches us that everything comes from God and everything belongs to God. We are offered a role in God’s creation to be managers or stewards of that creation. Any understanding of stewardship must begin with awareness that God is the “Great Giver.” None of us can ever “out give” God. We are created in the image of God, we are meant to be givers.
We need to fully come to grips with the knowledge that God gives us what we need. That enough is enough. That the abundance of this earth is not to be hoarded but shared.
The biblical standard for personal financial stewardship is the tithe. The biblical tithe is the standard for all Anglicans. Any theological framework for stewardship must be founded in the knowledge that stewardship programs are guided by grace, not guilt. The story of God’s abundant care for us is a story of grace.
Desired outcomes of our stewardship program:
- Members of the parish will model behaviors of faithful stewardship in “All they do, with all they have, all of the time.”
- The leadership of the parish will explore and encourage faithful stewardship year-round through learning, worship, and personal faith formation, especially as it relates to Christian stewardship.
- Members will participate generously in parish and community life through personal involvement, prayer, a steadily growing level of financial support, and a lifestyle of justice and compassion for all creation.
- The leadership of the parish will communicate a clear vision and opportunities for mission and ministry in the church and the wider community.
- Members will be assisted in discerning their spiritual gifts and encouraged to commit their time to the greatest effect and benefit to the individual and parish.
- The leadership of the parish will practice good stewardship by receiving financial and in-kind gifts graciously, using them prudently and to maximum effect according to the directions of givers, and account for their use with transparency and openness.