Category : Stewardship

Bishop Graham Dudley responds to climate concerns raised by World Economic Forum

“It is significant that the threats posed by climate change have been recognised by the world’s top economic experts.

“While this report serves to strengthen calls for urgent action to protect and sustain God’s creation, it also highlights the peril of inactivity and delay, which particularly places the economically poorest people in our world at risk of devastating consequences.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Climate Change, Weather, CoE Bishops, Energy, Natural Resources, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(ITV) Community spirit strong as thousands raised to replace stolen lead from church tower

Parishioners of a church in the New Forest have raised thousands of pounds to replace lead stolen from its bell tower.

Thieves scaled 35 feet to the top of St George’s Church in Damerham to steal the lead which had inscriptions etched into it dating back to the 18th Century.

The church says the generosity and goodwill of parishioners has more than outweighed the upset of the theft.

Read it all and consider watching the video also.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

John Stott on the Call to be Stewards of Time

Certainly wise people know that time is a precious commodity. All of us have the same amount of time at our disposal, with sixty minutes in every hour and twentyfour hours in every day. None of us can stretch time. But wise people use it to the fullest possible advantage. They know that time is passing, and also that the days are evil. So they seize each fleeting opportunity while it is there. For once it has passed, even the wisest people cannot recover it. Somebody once advertised as follows: ‘LOST, yesterday, somewhere between sunrise and sunset, two golden hours, each set withsixty diamond minutes. No reward offered, for they are gone for ever’[Horace Mann]. By contrast, Jonathan Edwards, the philosopher-theologian who became God’s instrument in the ‘Great Awakening’ in America in 1734–5, wrote in the seventieth of his famous Resolutions just before his twentieth birthday: ‘Resolved: Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.’ He was a wiseman, for the first sign of wisdom which Paul gives here is a disciplined use of time.

–John Stott, The Message of Ephesians (Bible Speaks Today) [Downer’s Grove, Ill. IVP Academic, 1984), p.117, to be quoted in my adult ed class

Posted in Evangelicals, Stewardship, Theology, Theology: Scripture

(LA Times) America’s love-hate relationship with Marie Kondo and our clutter

The tenets of “Marie Kondo-ing” your home are simple: Hold every item you own. If it sparks joy, keep it. If not, get rid of it.

If social media is any indication, the message has resonated. Since the show launched, America has collectively emptied its closets onto the bed. More than 94,000 Instagram posts are tagged #mariekondo, and she’s been mentioned on Twitter more than 80,000 times since Jan. 1. Two-thirds of the people talking about Marie Kondo on Twitter are female, according to a data analysis from the social media analytics firm Brandwatch, and the majority are having a positive reaction to the show.

It’s not surprising that the show is appealing to people, said Katie Kilroy-Marac, an assistant professor of anthropology at University of Toronto.

“This is a golden age of consumers” in America, said Kilroy-Marac, who studies material culture and ethical consumerism and has done research on hoarding. Collectively, she says, we’ve reached a breaking point: “We’re literally suffocating in our things.”

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Entertainment, Stewardship

(Manchester Evening News) A Cheshire church is offering couples the chance to get wed for just £1,000

It is likely to be the happiest day of your life, but it also guaranteed to be the most expensive.

The average wedding in the UK now costs £30,355, an all-time high, with couples across the UK willing to splurge saying ‘I do’.

Now a church in Cheshire is offering couples the chance to have a wedding for just a fraction of the usual cost.

St John’s Church in Hartford, near Northwich, is recognising the huge expense couples face as they enter married life and offering an affordable alternative.

Dubbed ‘A Grand Wedding’, for just £1,000, a handful of lucky couples will be be given use of the venue, organist, a two-tier personalised wedding cake, invitation and service stationary, a photographer and flowers.

Also included in the package is a catered reception in the church centre for up to 30 guests including a two course meal, with the option to add a further 20 guests for an additional amount.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Marriage & Family, Parish Ministry, Personal Finance & Investing, Stewardship

(NYT) How to Keep Baby Jesus in the Manger? Bolts, Cameras and Tethers

Away in a manger on Bethlehem’s public square, a woman approached a statue of the baby Jesus one dark, December night. Then she stole it.

The theft, from a Nativity scene outside City Hall, raised alarm in this eastern Pennsylvania city that shares a name with the real Jesus Christ’s birthplace.

When the missing baby Jesus was found, it had been damaged, and Bethlehem’s police chief had to glue its leg back on. Then the city took action, positioning a concealed security camera exclusively on baby Jesus and assigning police officers to monitor the footage. In the two years since, the statue has been left at peace, asleep on the hay as the camera, nicknamed the “Jesus cam” by some residents, rolls.

“If anybody looks real close, they’ll see a crack in his leg,” said Lynn Cunningham, a leader of the local chamber of commerce.

Read it all.

Posted in Christmas, Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(CC) Katie Hays–When our church started receiving offerings through Venmo

…recently a twentysomething in my church wanted to send five bucks to pay the church for something small. I think we were collecting money for a birthday card. But PayPal takes a chunky fee for every transaction, even for nonprofits, so that’s not very efficient. “I wish I could just Venmo it to you,” the twenty­something said. And I said, as I often do, “Huh?”

After Venmo was explained to me, I handed over my laptop and said, “Make it so.” Fifteen minutes later, Galileo Church had dozens of “friends” on Venmo and had received its first gift— and we had “liked” it and commented by giving our thanks.

Venmo is a social media app. It’s for friends to share money with friends, electronically zapping it from one bank account to another. And depending on your privacy settings, anybody who is your friend can see all your Venmo transactions in a continuous feed.

Let’s say you and a friend are studying together, and you decide to split a pizza; your friend pays and you send your friend a few dollars for your half, along with emojis of pizza and books, at 11 p.m. Now anyone who is friends with either of you knows that you had a late-night cram session and got hungry, and pizza was the remedy. (They won’t see the amount you sent or spent.) They can “like” the transaction and comment: “Finals! Ugh!” or “Good work, you two!”

So what happens when the church goes Venmo? We got new givers almost immediately.

Read it all.

Posted in --Social Networking, Blogging & the Internet, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology, Stewardship

(NYT) Bakers From Baghdad, Who Fled Violence Against Christians, Pursue a Sweet Dream

The marriage of Nael and Manar al-Najjar was forged in sugar.

Mr. Najjar grew up working in his family’s Baghdad sweet shop. When he proposed, three months after meeting his future wife at a family wedding, he traveled six hours to her hometown, carrying 15 boxes of confections: baklava, kenafeh and Turkish delights.

The couple settled in Baghdad, opened a bakery and started a family. As Catholics, though, they faced discrimination and threats of violence. When those threats turned deadly, they fled and sought asylum in America.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Iraq, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

The New TEC Diocese in South Carolina Press Release on Yesterday’s Court Proceedings in Orangeburg

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Ethics / Moral Theology, History, Law & Legal Issues, Stewardship, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(CEN) New Report suggests training for the C of E ministry is only for the wealthy

Don’t become an ordinand unless you are well-off, that was the message of a new report released by the Church of England.

The Living Ministry research follows cohorts of 85 ordinands and clergy through their ministry over a decade.

According to the report, non-residential ordinands who started training in retirement, maintaining their pension drawings or those who retain an adequate salary even after a reduction in working hours to fit in training,report the best financial wellbeing.

This is the same for those whose main household income is their partner’s (about two thirds are reliant to some extent on income from their partner).

One male participant reported:“I think actually [the Church has]probably got it bang on that that is what you need to live on, because I can live on that, but it is so tight that anything extra that comes up, you’ve got no way of doing anything.”

Read it all (subscription may be required).

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(NBC) A Wonderful story about the Power of Generosity

When Kolbie Sanders called off her wedding weeks before the big day, she decided to make someone else’s dream come true, giving away her wedding venue to a complete stranger in need.

Watch it all.

Posted in Marriage & Family, Stewardship

(SBS) Melbourne Anglican budget hit by redress

The Anglican Diocese of Melbourne expects to pay up to $21 million over the next decade to people sexually abused as children by clergy but it’s confident it will be able to honour the redress payments.

Melbourne Archbishop Philip Freier says the diocese’s budget will be significantly affected by the cost of redress.

The diocese’s redress liability has been estimated at between $12.2 million and $21 million.

Addressing the annual Melbourne synod or parliament on Wednesday night, Archbishop Freier said the Anglican diocese’s budget situation was tight.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Stewardship

(ABC Aus.) Grave concerns for small town cemetery caught up in Diocese of Tasmania Anglican property sell-off

A small town is fearful that graves at its local cemetery will be damaged or destroyed if the Anglican Church sells it off, but the church says it is the responsibility of government to protect cemeteries.

Richard Condie, Anglican Bishop of Tasmania, has responded to fears in the community about grave tampering, if cemeteries are sold along with churches as part of the plan to help fund Tasmania’s $8.6 million contribution to the national redress scheme for victims of child sexual abuse by clergy.

The concerns have been voiced by parishioners across the state following the announcement that nearly eighty church-owned properties could potentially be sold to help raise the money.

A recent meeting of the newly formed protest group, Save our Community Souls in Campbell Town, in the northern midlands, heard claims of graves illegally moved by developers to make way for sewer lines.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Death / Burial / Funerals, Stewardship

In the Midst of a Campaign of Disinformation, the Diocese of South Carolina releases a Factsheet on the Current Lawsuits

Read it carefully and read it all and you can find more material and many more links to even further information there.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ethics / Moral Theology, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, TEC Bishops, Theology

In 2009 an Anglican church was expelled from their building in Central NY under TEC Bishop Skip Adams and it became an Islamic Center for 1/3 the price the parish was willing to pay

Former Bishop of South Carolina, C. Fitzsimons Allison, has written about this matter here and described it as follows:

…nothing in the behavior of TEC suggests their goals with departing parishes and Dioceses have changed over time. They continue to litigate in the Diocese of Quincy, Illinois despite having lost at the highest level in the state courts there. In the Diocese of San Joaquin, California, after spending $15 million to recover the parish properties, only 21 have been declared “viable” with the other 25 reported as going up for sale. In Bishop Adams’ former diocese, the people of Good Shepherd, Binghamton, NY were denied the purchase of their former church, seeing it sold for 1/3 their offer to become a mosque instead. The pattern of behavior is clear. For TEC, “reconciliation” has meant, “surrender, return the property and we’ll forgive you so you can rejoin us”. That is not a viable way forward.

Posted in Ecumenical Relations, Islam, Law & Legal Issues, Life Ethics, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Stewardship, TEC Bishops

(Inews) Church of England seeks law to protect cash-strapped cathedrals from being sold

The Church of England is to seek legal protection against being forced to sell its cash-strapped ancient cathedrals in the event that any them become bankrupt. A meeting of the General Synod, the church’s parliament, this week set in train the passing of a new law which would prevent creditors from seeking the sale of a cathedral’s land or buildings in the event that it falls insolvent.

The financial health of some of the CofE’s 42 cathedrals, among which figure some of the greatest treasures of British architecture, has made recent headlines as a number of institutions struggle to secure sufficient income….

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

Church of England funds ambitious growth programme

More than a hundred new churches are to be created in a £27 million drive by the Church of England to revive the Christian faith in coastal areas, market towns and outer urban housing estates, it was announced today.

New Christian communities in areas including the Kent coast, housing estates in Plymouth and market towns in Cambridgeshire are to be set up by the Church of England as part of its Renewal and Reform programme.

The plans have been backed by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby as a ‘wonderful example’ of how churches are seeking to be faithful to God and to serve their communities.

He said: “The Church of England exists to share the good news of Jesus through our words and our actions. Across the country, churches are bursting with life – which in part is shown through how they love and serve their communities. I’m especially pleased about these grants because they demonstrate our commitment to following Jesus to the places of greatest need in our society….”

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Church of England (CoE), Evangelism and Church Growth, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Telegraph) Church of England sees fall in planned donations for first time in 50 years as millennials fail to engage

The Church of England has seen a fall in planned donations for first time in 50 years as it says millennials are not taking up the mantle of previous generations.

Money given through direct debits and standing orders has fallen for the first time since records began in 1964, it was revealed on Monday.

John Spence, chair of the Archbishops’ Council Finance Committee, told its governing body, the General Synod, that in 2016 income coming from planned giving fell by 0.4 per cent.

Figures for 2015 show that a total of £337.5m was given to the church this way, suggesting that there was a fall of around £1.35m in 2016.

The donations formed around a third of the money collected by parishes in 2015, which Mr Spence said rose by 1.8 per cent overall because of other sources of funds.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Young Adults

A Prayer for Stewardship to Begin the Day from the Pastor’s Prayerbook

Almighty God, the source of all that we can have, and all that we can hope for,

Grant that we may be worthy custodians of the earth in which we dwell.

Make us creative so that we will not burden others;

Make us conservative so that we will not squander what comes our way;

Make us perceptive so that we may properly weigh our necessities against the needs of others;

Make us generous so that we may give freely of what we have that others can enjoy a portion of our fortune.

Remove from us all trust in anything but thee;

Strengthen us in the knowledge that thou wilt always provide all that we really need;

And finally, by thy Grace, instill in us that perfect desire to be thy servants and ultimately to be with thee in thy Heavenly Kingdom,

Who reignest forever and ever, Jesus Christ, our Lord.

–Robert W. Rodenmayer, ed., The Pastor’s Prayerbook: Selected and arranged for various occasions (New York: Oxford University Press, 1960)

Posted in Spirituality/Prayer, Stewardship

(Church Times) Bp Philip North–The spreadsheet or the cross — time to choose

The first Christians dealt with their wealth in so daring and counter-cultural a way that it proved powerfully attractive (Acts 2.44). Property and income was pooled so that there was no distinction between rich and poor, slave and free.

Yet this was no crypto-Marxist, hippy commune. Resources were shared because this was a community founded on the sacrificial love of the cross. Those dependent on Christ’s sacrifice knew that they were dependent also on each other. Those whose lives had been saved by the freely offered love of the cross could live only to the same values of generosity, gift, and grace.
It is interesting to see how far we have fallen. Anglican leaders (me included) love to rail against social inequality and the ever growing divide between rich and poor. Yet any analysis of the data shows that, across our own diocesan structures, we graphically model the inequality we so freely condemn.

The heart of the issue is that each diocese is its own independent charity, and that some have inherited vast historical assets, whereas others have not. While direct comparison is difficult because of the different accounting methods employed by different dioceses, the broad picture is so striking as to be unarguable.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Stewardship

(NBC) Former medical debt collectors using expertise to help the neediest patients

Craig Antico co-founded RIP Medical Debt, a non-profit that buys up batches of overdue medical bills, erasing $120 million in debt for 60,000 patients so far.

Posted in Charities/Non-Profit Organizations, Health & Medicine, Personal Finance & Investing, Stewardship

(ACNS) Church in Wales sets aside £10 million evangelism fund “to inspire new Welsh revival”

The Church in Wales has announced a new £10 million GBP scheme to help its six dioceses fund new evangelism projects. The Church in Wales’ first ever Evangelism Fund will be launched this weekend with the aim of engaging “Welsh society with the claims of the Christian faith in vibrant and exciting ways.” The fund will provide grants of between £250,000 and £3 million, for diocesan projects that “will focus on people rather than buildings,” the Church in Wales said.

The fund will be managed by a committee with expertise in church growth and business ventures; and is being launched on Pentecost Sunday (20 May). Pentecost is traditionally regarded as the Church’s birthday, when Christians focus on sharing their faith and growth. This year, as in 2016 and 2017, it will come at the end of Thy Kingdom Come – a 10-day global wave of prayer focused on the church’s evangelism and witness.

“We are putting our money where our mouth is,” the Archbishop of Wales John Davies said. “We have long talked about growing the church and now we want to invest in projects across the country to enable that to happen. It is a radical answer to the decline we are experiencing in many places, and £10 million is a transforming amount.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of Wales, Evangelism and Church Growth, Stewardship

(ACNS) Anglican Church of Burundi helps improve rice growing techniques

The Anglican Church of Burundi has been training farmers to improve rice yields as part of efforts to combat food insecurity in the country. The two-year project has been run in partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development, the overseas development agency of the US-based Episcopal Church. Growing rice has been the main activity for people living along side Lake Tanganyika for many years; but the lack of improved techniques and seeds has caused low production and farmers could not expect to gain much from it.

Through the project, farmers have been trained and equipped with agricultural techniques and materials to improve rice production. “Already the farmers are seeing changes in agricultural production and consequently in their daily lives,” the province said in its newsletter.

“Our situation has improved since we no longer cultivate the rice just for consumption,” farmer Esperance Ndayishimiye, said. “I’m now able to meet easily my family’s needs. I pay school fees for my children. I have bought lands and built houses.” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Burundi, Burundi, Dieting/Food/Nutrition, Energy, Natural Resources, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Stewardship

(BBC) Coventry Cathedral scraps entrance fees

Coventry Cathedral which is built next to the bombed ruins of the old site has scrapped its entrance fees due to “generous donations”.

Charges including £6 adult entrance fees were introduced in 2010 because donations were “simply not enough”.

The announcement was made at the diocese’s Centenary Festival earlier.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the cathedral and the diocese were working together to “make sure the day-to-day costs are met”.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Post-Gazette) Religious institutions wait to see what tax reform does to their place in people’s budgets

The conventional thinking is that most people who donate to places of worship are not primarily motivated by tax benefits.

For many, giving is a core value based on religious teachings and a sense of gratitude.

This could be the year when those assumptions are put to a test.

The new federal tax law has cut taxes for working American families, but it also could have the unintended consequence of reducing the financial incentive for many people to donate to religious and charitable organizations.

The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy estimates roughly 30 million households earning between $50,000 and $100,000 will be less likely to itemize deductions on their taxes due to the new law. With less incentive to donate, researchers predict the amount those households give will decline.

“Tax incentives do affect how much people give,” said Una Osili, associate dean for research. “If it is more expensive to give, they give less.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Personal Finance & Investing, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Taxes

For those of You closely Following the Diocese of SC Supreme Court Case–TEC and the new TEC Diocese have requested another extension until May 7th

From there:

Apr 26, 2018: Motion to extend the time to file a response is granted and the time is further extended to and including May 7, 2018, for all respondents.

Posted in * South Carolina, Church History, Law & Legal Issues, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Supreme Court

Tasmanian Anglican churches could be sold to fund abuse survivors redress

Tasmania’s Anglican Diocese is proposing to sell more than 120 properties, including churches, halls, houses and vacant land, to fund redress for survivors of child sexual abuse.

The church said it would need to sell just under half of its Tasmanian properties to cover an estimated $8 million of liability in additional payments to survivors.

It has been lobbying for the State Government to sign up to the National Redress Scheme for survivors, due to start on July 1 as a result of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse.

The Tasmanian Diocese also agreed to increase the payment cap for its own Pastoral Support and Assistance Scheme from $75,000 to $150,000 per claim.

Read it all.

Posted in Anglican Church of Australia, Ethics / Moral Theology, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Stewardship

(Church Times) Diocese of Durham to give a multi-million boost to declining churches

A multi-million-pound bid to turn around churches that are in numerical decline is being prepared by the diocese of Durham.

The money will be used to turn churches in strategic locations with small congregations into “resourcing churches”. A strategic development funding bid for an estimated £2.9 million will be submitted to the Church Commissioners this month; an answer is expected in June. In total, the plan has been costed at about £4.5 million.

Canon David Tomlinson, who was appointed Senior Resourcing Church Leader this month, said last week that the funding would enable a “radical” approach to growth, “stepping outside of the norm in the Anglican Church of having a survival mentality”.

The first phase of the strategy entails church-plants in five areas: Bishop Auckland, Darlington, Durham, Gateshead, and Washington. In Stockton, missional communities of about 40 people will be developed. In the second phase, Sunderland, Hartlepool, Easington, and Jarrow will be added to the resource church network.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(Yorkshire Post) Sir Tony Robinson: Why York Minster and Britain’s other great cathedrals are right to charge an entrance fee

These days, cathedrals like York Minster are both a tourist attraction and a place of worship. More than 690,000 people visited in 2017 and, while it’s their entrance fees which keep the place running, finding the balance between commercial and spiritual demands is not always easy.

“I think York gets it right. These places are money pits and without the income they receive from visitors they would begin to crumble. I know that there are some people who would like them to be free to enter, but we do have to be realistic. We no longer live in the 19th century when wages were so low these great big cathedrals could easily afford to have 100 workers on-site without worrying about how they were going to pay the wage bills.

“However, what I particularly loved about York Minster was how every so often the general bustle of the day would stop and within a second it would revert to a place of stillness and a place of prayer.”

England is home to 44 cathedrals and given they have witnessed Henry VIII’s Reformation and Second World War bombing raids as well as the ravages of time, it is a minor miracle that the likes of York Minster have remained standing at all.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Stewardship

(AP) Churches that survived 9/11 give in, install metal detectors

The two stone churches near the foot of Broadway, in the shadow of the World Trade Center, have seen fire and calamity and the sweep of American history, and through it all have kept their doors wide open.

But in a sign of the times, Trinity Church and St. Paul’s Chapel both installed metal detectors this month. Visitors on their way to see Alexander Hamilton’s tomb in Trinity’s historic graveyard, or who want to sit in the pews at St. Paul’s where George Washington prayed and dust-covered rescue workers rested after 9/11 attacks, now have to pass through airport-style security checkpoints.

The metal detectors, installed March 1, will be there “until this world becomes a safer place,” said Trinity’s vicar, the Rev. Phillip Jackson.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Terrorism, Urban/City Life and Issues