Stewardship in the New Year
At last month’s General Assembly, the 2018 parish budget was presented and unanimously approved by parishioners. The budget, a financial roadmap for the new year, is not imposed on our parish from an outside source, but from our own parish families. The important difference should be obvious: all of us who accept St. Haralambos Church as our Church Home, need to accept the responsibility of meeting the budget we all approved.
The unanimous approval of the assembly gave the “Amen” for us to move into the new year with a tightened financial belt, while at the same time striving to expand our parish ministries. This two-fold approach goes to the very foundation of parish life: on the one hand being fiscally prudent so as not to place too heavy a financial burden on our parishioners, and on the other, to realize that even in uncertain financial times, the mission and ministry of the Church does not stop.
We realize that because the Church is both a divine and human institution, we do not work by or for ourselves, but under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Our goal is not just to make sure we stay within the restrictions of a balanced budget, but to look with open eyes and hearts to the spiritual needs of our neighbor, which are not always satisfied by dollars and cents.
We are asking all parish families to continue to give from their hearts to the ongoing ministries of St. Haralambos Church through their Stewardship pledges. This giving is not compulsory, but must only come from the heart, willingly and cheerfully.
The Church never intends to tax its members and provide services in return. Quite the contrary, what the Church offers, though its regular schedule of worship and sacraments, education, fellowship and ministries, are benefits both priceless and intangible.
The support of time, talent and treasures of parishioners should be in grateful recognition of this, along with an awareness that everything we have in life comes from God’s love and mercy. If we cannot cheerfully return back to God, through our stewardship in the Church, a portion of His blessings, then we haven’t yet come to a mature understanding and appreciation of what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
Stewardship Sunday is Dec. 24. This is a day for each of us to happily offer not just a pledge card to help support the parish budget, but to acknowledge ourselves as God’s servants, working together with our God-given talents, abilities, cheerful attitudes and encouraging spirits to build up St. Haralambos Church, and glorify our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
A very merry Christmas to all, and a healthy and happy New Year!