"Now you are the body of Christ, and individually members of it" (1 Corinthians 12:27)
To be a member of the Church is not the same as being a member of a club or civic group. The church is the "Body of Christ" (1 Corinthians 12). Therefore, to be a member of the Church is to be a part of the living body of Christ.
Just as every member has a different function in the human body, so do we each have a specific function or calling in His Church. God did not create each of us to do the same thing.
Stewardship is our response to God's grace and moves us from grace to gratitude. Just as we love because God first loved us (I John 4:14), we give question of the Psalmist "What shall I give to the Lord in return for all His benefits towards me?" (Ps 116:2), is answered in every liturgy when the celebrant calls us to offer ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.
What is the Purpose of the St. George Stewardship program?
The purpose of the St. George Stewardship program is to help our faithful understand the need for their commitment of time, talents and treasures to the Church. All that happens in our Church happens by the Grace of God and your support. Our financial goal this year is to fulfill the operating budget of our Church through the contributions of our parishioners. The breakdown of expenses of our Church in 2010 is itemized in the pie chart below. You can see why St. George depends so much on you. Your increased contribution to our Church will help us achieve even more in the year 2011.
2010 Operating Expenses of St. George (excluding major capital projects)
An average pledge of $830 per family is needed in order to cover our annual operating expenses.
Below is a breakdown of the 2010 operating income for our Church.
2010 Operating Income of St. George
Stewardship is a major portion of our operating budget.
Each year, the burden of our Church grows. It is our obligation as Greek Orthodox Christians to pledge our support to our community. For those who have not pledged in the past, there is no better time to start your financial commitment to the Church.
What we have acheived together
As you complete your 2011 pledge card, please remember the ministries of St. George your contribution is used for:
- Our youth programs are among the best
- The sick and elderly are visited and comforted
- Our Greek School is the best in our regions
- We have a wonderful place to worship that we all can call home
Evaluate Your Life
Are you a contributing member of the body of Christ? Are you actively serving God and sharing Him with others? Are you contributing to peace and unity within His body? Do you worship regularly? Take a moment to evaluate your life in light of these prinicples.
We are called to apply our gifts, training, abilities, education and skills to the tasks that God places before us. If we do this humbly and prayerfully, the body of Christ will function to its full potential.
The New Testament's motivation for giving is grace; giving is an act of worship in response to the generosityu of God. You are to give, Pauls says, "as God has prospered yuo." II Corinthians 8 and 9 teaches clearly, "He who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. God blesses those who give with generosity."
Giving is a way to thank God for His grace and generosity. The question is not, "How much do I give to stay in the club?" or "What are the dues?" but "How can I thank God for my many blessings?"
Stewardship: A Way of Life
As Orthodox Christians, we are called to a new way of seeing things - a new way of life. Our stewardship is obedience to the greatest commandment to "love the Lord with all your heart, soul, mind and strength." We are called to bring others to commit their lives to Jesus Christ in such a way that leads to the joy of knowing Him personally and profoundly.
As Orthodox Christians, we see the world as God's gift, as a sacrament of God's presence and a means of communion with Him. And so we are able to offer the world back to God in thanksgiving as we say in every Divine Liturgy "Thine own of Thine own we offer to thee..."
It is right to praise the, to give thanks unto thee and worship thee in every place of thy dominion; for thou art God inconceivable, invisible, incomprehensible, ever existing and eternally the same. For all these things we give thanks unto thee, and to thine Only begotten Son, and thy Holy Spirit; for all things of which we know, and of which we know not, and for all the benefits bestowed upon us both seen and unseen."
From the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysosom