All Saints/Stewardship Sunday

This Sunday we will have the unique opportunity to celebrate All Saints Sunday and Stewardship Sunday. Most of the time we honor the saints on one Sunday and take another Sunday to encourage people to be good stewards of the gifts they have been given. When the Board of Stewardship was planning the Stewardship campaign, it seemed natural to me to combine these two Sundays. 

On All Saints Sunday, it has been the tradition of First Cong during worship, to list and recognize the members of the church who have died in the last year. Over the last several years, we have offered people the opportunity to celebrate the lives of saints who have been influential people, or mentors in their lives. This year we will have an opportunity to light a candle to honor a saint that has played a significant role in our life. 

What we have not done in the past, is recognize the saints of First Congregational who, by their good stewardship, have provided a home for First Congregational since 1930. Our church sits on a prominent corner in Madison, we provide services around the community that were started many years ago, and First Congregational has a reputation of living out a call to justice in the community. All of this is possible, not because of something that was done last year, or even the year before. This building and the actions of this church community were started by the saints. 

The beginning quote from Diana Butler Bass should remind us of the work and stewardship done by the saints of this community. The theme of the Stewardship campaign is 20/20 Vision. We have been preceded by members of this church community in having 20/20 Vision. This community didn’t stand back waiting for others to act. This has been a community that regularly checked their vision and readjusted their lenses. Who would have thought that during the depression era, a building like our current home could have been built? We often times get frustrated with having to maintain this building, but that really seems to be nearsighted, since every program of the church begins in the building. Maybe, during our Stewardship campaign we might consider testing both our nearsightedness and our farsightedness. What is our vision for the church today and in the future? How do we accomplish either part of the vision without pledges? How might a check of our vision provide for the ministry and mission of the church?

It can seem like a challenge for the church to talk about money, because for some reason it makes us uneasy. To quote Historic Christ Church in Alexandria, Virginia, “But ask them to pray and plan carefully about a pledge to the general operations of the church and they get squeamish. Some even say “I’d rather volunteer than give money.” This is strange because it is pledging that makes all those serving opportunities possible. Without money, how can we expect anything to get done? Pledges belong in the same ensemble of church practices as prayer, study, worship, service – the gift of time and talent – each being essential to the ministry of our church. But unless you pledge…none of this is possible.”

As we come together this Sunday to celebrate All Saints Sunday, to honor and give thanks for those who have given so much to First Congregational, let us also be aware that it is now our responsibility to maintain and carry on the wonderful vision of our ancestors, not looking back, but looking forward. We too, can be visionaries!  We too, can be a cornerstone of the church’s work today and into the future! We too, can be willing to have our vision checked and adjusted!

~ Eldonna Hazen

 

Posted on October 28, 2014 at 10:21 am in Featured Content.

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