April 2016 Edition

Living Water  is the new monthly newsletter of the Northeast Ecumenical Stewardship Council (NESC). With this publication, we hope to further our mission t o assist Christian communities and their lay members and clergy to grow faithful stewards in every generation.  Your feedback is most welcome!
Stepping Into Stewardship

by Rev. Jim Thomas
Associate Conference Minister for Stewardship,
Church Vitality and Finance, Vermont Conference UCC

Earlier this month I spent three days at a conference called Stepping into Stewardship. The conference was a partnership offering of the United Church of Christ and the Christian Church Disciples of Christ. It the first such collaboration of this kind, although the UCC and Disciples have been doing global mission together for 25 years. 
Like mission, these denominations see stewardship as important common ground.
It featured keynote addresses from renowned leaders in various aspects of stewardship. The event also featured addresses by UCC General Minister and President The Rev Dr. John Dorhauer and the Disciples General Minister and President The Rev. Dr. Sharon Watkins. Their participation said something about how central they view good stewardship as key to our future as church.
What we heard challenged us - suggestions that local church pastors could be considered CEOs and visionaries, that pastors should consider financial development as part of their portfolio (or call), and that we need to consider the intersection between giving and technology.
Whew. Too much to impart to you in one article. It was hard to take it in over the three days. But, it was clear to me that we need to take it in and impart what was heard.

Here's one tidbit: my feelings were affirmed many times about the necessity of speaking about stewardship year round. Stewardship needs to be a regular part of our faith development and our church narrative. Doing a three-week campaign can only be about giving money and will not create the communities of faithful stewards that we need. Year round stewardship weaves stewardship into our faith and our faith into our stewardship.
As you consider what it might be like to talk about stewardship in a new way, I'd like to invite you to begin by availing yourself of the excellent resources that are already at hand. Here are a couple to get you started:
Ready to change the narrative about stewardship in your congregation? I am. Look for workshops about this topic at our next event!
Give a Word of Witness

Excerpted from the book Bounty, by Kristine Miller and Scott McKenzie

One of the most powerful tools for growing generosity in the church is telling the story of how the church is transforming people's lives through ministry. People want to know their giving is making a difference in the life of another - so give a word of witness!
Read more  at the Lewis Center for Church Leadership


"Gratitude bestows reverence, allowing us to encounter everyday epiphanies, those transcendent moments of awe that change forever how we experience life and the world.
John Milton
Personal Reflections on Stewardship
Faith statements from members of the NESC

"The call to Christian stewardship is a call to radical generosity, with the understanding that all we have - money, time, and energy - ultimately belongs to God. This awareness helps us to move away from a paralyzing fear of scarcity into God's economy of abundance where we have enough resources for ourselves and others. Generosity flowing out of abundance is best embodied in community, in which we give when we have extra and accept when we have need." 

Christa Lee-Chuvala
Christa Lee-Chuvala is co-Executive Director of the Boston Faith & Justice Network. She is finishing her PhD in Urban Planning at MIT and leads worship at her church in Boston.
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Jim Thomas , Publisher       
Karen Methot,  Editor