September 7, 2020
One of our smaller multi-cultural congregations has members mostly on fixed incomes. They constantly fear financial insecurity and the pandemic has now added health concerns. Unable to worship physically together and with limited access to technology, they worry now too about their ability to continue as a congregation. One of our refugee ministries, especially vulnerable to the impact of the pandemic, is funded partially by donations from other congregations. This funding is always inconsistent, but has now significantly reduced.
$70K has been distributed by the Southeastern Synod during this pandemic to help relieve the financial burdens that these two congregations and 17 others are experiencing. These funds have been used to pay salaries, continue community feeding and housing programs, and provide access to health care. In the midst of this pandemic, God’s abundance is experienced through the generosity of those in the wider ELCA who have provided our synod with $30K in grants, and the Synod's Strategic Initiative Fund (SIF) for the other $40K. The SIF has been funded by primarily Holy Closures of congregations in our synod. Thanks be to God!
Twenty-one congregations began a new online stewardship offering called Beginning a Culture of Generosity, a six session ZOOM program led by Pastor Mike Ward, partner at GSB and longtime ELCA pastor and former VP of Advancement at Novus Way. In our first session, we talked about the powerful impact of sharing God’s love through a story (huge!), God’s abundance in all things, whether statements of intent are a thing of the past (No! Commitments are critical), and how a significant part of the year’s giving is done in the last weeks of the calendar year (35%!).
In addition to this course, Pr. Mike Ward will spend Sunday afternoon, October 18 at 3:00pm EDT with the synod as part of our October Faith Formation Days. His presentation is entitled With Glad and Generous Hearts: a Look at Stewardship of Self, Congregation, and Church. All are welcome to attend! Register at https://www.elca-ses.org/newsdetail/october-2020-faith-formation-days-for-laity-14163488
The 2020 Stewardship Kaleidoscope is virtual this year and provides Real Tools for Real Ministry! The mission is to ignite generosity, give practical tools for cultivating generosity, expand the leadership capacity of those who lead stewardship initiatives, and cultivate adaptive approaches for funding Christ’s mission. Hear from leading thinkers exploring the opportunities for growth in stewardship even in the midst of profound social change, including Eric Barreto, Bonnie Ives Marden, and Bruce Reyes-Chow. All are welcome to attend. More information is available at https://www.elca-ses.org/newsdetail/stewardship-kaleidoscope-2020-14213380
Need some new resources for your stewardship program? Check out the following