Normally during the month of May, we hold a stewardship campaign. This Church has pledged to visit the subject for one month a year to ensure the future stability of this church no matter how difficult it is to talk about. We will talk about stewardship and what it means to us at St Mary’s and about how we as stewards of this beautiful church can help maintain its existence by giving our time talents and money. By helping St Marys we are also providing help for the C of E through our Common Fund for clergy Stipends and mission work. As usual, it’s a difficult subject to talk about and also a difficult thing to listen to.
We are happy to talk about giving our time and talents but talking about money is uncomfortable, to say the least.
As I always say St Marys have a truly dedicated church family who are amazing at keeping this wonderful building in beautiful order and our monetary giving is allowing us to pay our bills and ensure our common Fund is paid. So thank you for your truly amazing support which enables us to keep St Mary’s doors open not just for Sunday services but for Weddings Funerals etc. Our fundraising through our coffee Mornings Jumbles fetes etc is second to none. Our dedicated band of helpers work tirelessly to ensure that these take place. They raise a great amount of money but they are also wonderful community events where we can spend time together as a church family so thank you again. I have spoken to people who assume that the Church is funded by The Cof E. Contrary to this belief we only receive money from our collections and fundraising and donations. And we along with the other churches in the diocese help to fund the rest of the Church of England through our Common Fund then we have to pay utility bills supplies etc. Our CF is currently over £24000. However, due to our financial position, we can only contribute around £10000 each year. If we do have funds left at the end of the year we do pay more. The Fund is used to pay Clergy stipends, training and housing. At this point, I would like to say that Amatu does not receive a stipend if he did we would have to raise around £80000 for the Common fund. Therefore if you take all our bills and add them together we need to raise over a £80 a day to ensure St Marys can meet its commitments and stay open not just on Sundays that is £80 for 365 days a year.
So a steward is a person who is a manager or someone in charge of someone else’s property. In the beginning of the book of Genesis God creates everything and puts Adam in the garden to work it and take care of it. Man was created to work and that work is the stewardship of all of the creation that god has given us. This is the fundamental principle of biblical stewardship. God owns everything, we are simply managers or administrators acting on his behalf. Stewardship involves responsible management of all that god has given us our time talents and treasure.
Each one of us has talents and we should share them with others. We are all different and have different talents. Search out your special talent and share it with others.
Being grateful for these gifts god has given us is expressed in prayer worship and offering like we have done today and we should eagerly share our gifts out of love for god and one another.
We shouldn’t just use the Campaign as a method to raise funds. We should use it to thank god for all his blessings on us. If we are then able to share those things then that is great.
We are all born into his world with nothing and leave with nothing all our possessions are on loan to us. As Christians, stewardship makes us more like Christ who came into the world not to be served but to serve others.
As always I apologise to you if this has embarrassed anyone or made them feel uncomfortable. This is never my intention. My goal this morning is just to raise awareness of the plight of St Marys and any other Churches. We must raise this issue once a year and I am happy to do that although for me it’s not easy to do. I am not qualified in any way to talk about this but St Marys Church is as much my home as the home where I live and the church family are my family and I love them. It would be nice to see this church standing for our grandchildren and their families. So I will agree to talk about stewardship. Next week we will talk about the specified commitments of the Church and the ways in which we can help.
Thanks for listening