The Episcopal Church Office of Stewardship has developed a six-week series of readings, reflections and questions called âFeasting on Gratitudeâ to assist in discerning the practice of intentional and proportional giving to oneâs faith community.
âFeasting on Gratitudeâ invites individuals and congregations to reflect and discuss stewardship principles and practices, based on the Sunday gospel readings from Matthew for October 2 through November 6, which is All Saints Sunday.
âThe month of October is when most congregations across the country embark on their annual giving campaign,â noted the Rev. Laurel Johnston, Episcopal Church Officer for Stewardship. âThe purpose of an annual giving campaign is not only to raise support for the life-giving ministries of the congregation, but to also help members of the faith community explore intentional and proportional giving as a spiritual practice that reflects gratitude and generosity for all that has been given.â
Prepared by six Episcopalians from across the country, âFeasting on Gratitudeâ is designed to complement and support a congregationâs annual giving campaign. The contributing writers explore stewardship, giving, gratitude and generosity in connection with the Gospel lection for each Sunday.
For example, the reading for October 2, Matthew 21:33-46, relates the parable of the landowner who plants a vineyard. In his reflection, Bishop Gregory Rickel of the Diocese of Olympia writes, âAll we have been given in this life is on loan at best. It is not ours, we will never truly own it. We have it, for whatever reason, in order to care for it as best we can.â Among the reflection questions for that week are: How can you live into the claim that we are not âownersâ of anything, we are simply called to steward what has been entrusted to us? How does the practice of giving bear fruit in your life and in your community?
Of the series, Johnston explained, âWe know it is not always easy to be grateful. Work and life pressures abound and anxious worry often wins over trustful surrender. Gratitude is not always the obvious choice, it needs to be cultivated, nurtured and tended to with inner attentiveness. Cultivating gratitude turns what we have into enough and more, turning a meal into a feast, a house into home, a stranger into a friend.â
âFeasting for Gratitudeâ is ideal for personal use as well as clergy, lay leaders and those leading congregational stewardship efforts. Resources in English and Spanish are available at http://www.episcopalchurch.org/feastingongratitude
In addition to Rickel, contributing writers are: the Rev. Richard Aguilar, Diocese of Southeast Florida; the Rev. Jennifer Baskerville-Burrows, Diocese of Central New York; Gary A Chubb, Diocese of Kansas; Bowie Snodgrass of the Diocese of New York; and Bishop Eugene Sutton, Diocese of Maryland.
Episcopal Church Weekly Bulletin inserts here: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/126259_ENG_HTM.htm
(August 28 features the Stewardship Reflection Series)
Episcopal Church Office of Stewardship: www.episcopalchurch.org/stewardship
The Episcopal Church welcomes all who worship Jesus Christ in 109 dioceses and three regional areas in 16 nations. The Episcopal Church is a member province of the worldwide Anglican Communion.