Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above..." James 1:17

As schools start in September, and here on the Island things begin to be a bit quieter, it Is also time that we begin our stewardship discernment, both on an Individual and on a community basis. How can I use my talent, time, and treasure In my own life to grow more open to grace and freedom. How can we as a community put our resources and gifts at the service of the Gospel? For this year's discernment we have chosen the theme, "Every Perfect Gift."
What is the best gift you have ever received?
At different times In our lives we have all probably been asked this question by many people in different contexts. Possible answers to a parent or a teacher could be a new bike, a trip to see my cousins, or, my first "Leading Edge" brand computer. Later it could have been my education, a chance to study abroad, a fellowship to work In Uganda, a trip to Canada In my college years with my Mom and Dad.
Every Perfect Gift
What did these perfect gifts give me, aside from the pleasure of the possession or the experience? They each taught me about living in the moment, appreciating what I had riding my bike In St. James' Park with my friends, or marveling at Niagara Falls with my Mom and Dad. They also taught me generosity, for the delight I had in experiencing the gifts called me to share such moments and experiences with others. This is the relationship between receiving and generosity, and it’s a pattern, that, once it takes root in us, continues in perpetuity. The more we practice generosity, the more abundance we recognize around us.
Every Generous Act
At St. Mary's, in pre-pandemic days, when we could pass the plate, It was our long practice, (a holdover from Morning Prayer), to sing the Doxology as our gifts — the elements of the Eucharist and our offerings — are brought to the altar for blessing. “Praise God, from whom all blessings flow,” it begins; and these words remind us of the font from which springs all generosity, all love, all gift. We are called in that moment to reflect on this cycle of abundance sparked with the first light and made manifest in the Creation, in the calling of prophets, and in the gift of God’s own son on Earth. As we share our gifts through the Eucharist and through our service to the world, we participate in the ongoing creation of abundance and generosity.

What is the best gift you have ever received?
The theme and image for Every Perfect Gift are wrapped in the metaphor of the butterfly and chrysalis. Of all the metaphors of gift that could be used, why did we decide on this one?
To the ancient Greeks, the butterfly represented the image of rebirth and freedom. The word they used for butterfly was psyche, and if you are thinking that sounds familiar, you are correct! It also means spirit. The humble and beautiful butterfly contains the philosophical and spiritual idea of the soul breaking free from its shell — free to discover, to inspire, to create, to communicate, to share.
These are also spiritual gifts, gifts that when we free ourselves to serve in the world, we need and share with others; and they are gifts of our stewardship. As we share our time, talent, and treasure with our church and with the world, we unleash those same gifts in our communities: discovery, inspiration, creativity, communication, sharing. Through the ministries that are enabled by our gifts, the inspiration we show to our neighbors to unlock their generosity in the world, and the stories we tell about ourselves and our experiences, we participate with God in an abundant vision for the world. Every perfect gift comes from God above.

Fr. Charlie
P.O Box 1660, 26 St. Mary's Road , Shelter Island, NY 11964
(631) 749-0770