As we begin the transition to a new phase of ministry at Manakin and prepare for the November 8 Annual Meeting of the congregation, it seems to be an appropriate time to discuss Stewardship.
Most of us are familiar with the three Ts used to describe Stewardship—offering our Time, our Talents and our Treasure in support of the mission of the church. Too often we focus on the “T” in Treasure as it is associated with the annual stewardship drive or as we Episcopalians say—“The Every Member Canvass.” It is good to emphasize the importance of that drive as it is the main factor in preparing our yearly operating budget. For the last few years, we have met or exceeded our current year pledge goals and have operated with balanced budgets.
But of more importance are the contributions given by our members of their Time and Talent. These become even more important during a period of transition. These two vital areas impact all the programs of the church and make us who we are—they are the true image of the Parish to our members, to the Community and to those who visit us. They provide every member the opportunity to be involved and gain a sense of self-fulfillment.
The list of the areas for contribution is too long for this letter, risks overlooking important areas and risks failing to give credit where credit is due. However, a few examples are: Altar Guild, Acolytes, Choir, Church School, Coffee Hour, Eucharistic Ministers, EfM, Lay Readers, Men and Women of the Church, Outreach, Ushers, and Stephen Ministers. Support of all these areas becomes more important when we are in flux and run the risk of becoming disengaged during the search process. Our Parish Leadership will be working during the coming months to strengthen our committees and focus on growth rather than maintenance of a status quo.
One area in which Manakin is fortunate is that it has a good start at building a financially strong and stable Church through the Manakin Foundation – with assets set aside from operating surpluses in the past and assets received from others as exemplified by the Denny Trust. There is the opportunity to grow this endowment through estate gifts that do not have a current cost. This is an area in which we have been notified of several commitments from current parishioners and which we hope to expand with an ongoing program to let our members know how they can include the Foundation in their estate plans.
Our goal is to have programs and human and financial assets in place so we can develop a leadership team to work with a new rector to ensure the long-term future growth of Manakin Episcopal Church. We appreciate everyone’s gifts of Time, Talent and Treasure. Your service and commitment to our Parish is truly appreciated and makes a difference in our ministry to each other and the Community.