Consistent with its mission statement, the Stewardship Commission of the Diocese presented a proposal to the XXII Sobor/Council in Johnstown October of last year. The mission statement says: Orthodox Christian Stewardship is a Christ-centered lifestyle, which acknowledges accountability, reverence, and responsibility before God. Orthodox Christian Stewardship is a call to all of the faithful to share willingly and cheerfully the gifts that God has bestowed on them including sharing these gifts for God’s work in His Church.
That unanimously approved Stewardship Commission final proposal states:
6. That the parish council of every parish in the Diocese develop a plan for the growth of the stewardship of time, talent, and treasure in its parish using the guidance and materials of the Diocesan stewardship commission; and, further, that it report its plan to the Diocesan Stewardship Commission by the beginning of the Church Year 2014.
The Diocesan Stewardship Commission has been collecting data from around the Diocese by means of the Parish Stewardship Surveys that have been returned to the Commission by the appointed Parish Stewardship Coordinators. The Coordinators were to have been appointed by the beginning of Great Lent in 2014, and the Surveys returned by May 1, 2014. As of June 10, 2014, of our 82 parishes and missions, 60 Parish Stewardship Coordinators have been named, and we have received 38 surveys.
While in the process of review of current stewardship practices to be included in the Parish Stewardship Survey, the parish council is now to develop a plan for the growth of the stewardship of time, talent and treasure in its parish. While the review of current practices and the development of a plan seem to be two different things, they can be easily combined. The Stewardship Commission offers its help to individual parishes, deaneries or other groups who may be interested in receiving assistance throughout this whole process. The plan from each parish is asked to be in the hands of the Commission by September 1/14, 2014. It need not be a complete, finished, detailed plan, but it should be something of a start that can be modified in the future as necessary.
Parish councils are urged to study thoroughly and make use of the materials already produced by the Stewardship Commission and made available to all parishes through the Diocesan website or as hard copies of the materials that were distributed at the Sobor. The Commission is ready to answer requests to serve as individual counsel to parish councils or parish groups, to be speakers at stewardship-centered events, or to provide any kind of resource that may be needed by the parish councils as they work toward new stewardship goals. Already, several such contacts with the Commission have been made and events have taken place both at the parish and deanery level. Further resource material is being prepared based on the needs and assessment of parish needs.
The operative word now is develop. This is a work that we have all decided that we will do. Each parish will develop a plan of action for the growth of the stewardship of time, talent and treasure in the parish.
May God grant us the gift of the Holy Spirit to enable us to carry out that which we have committed ourselves to do!