Stewardship Speech 2020
15 November 2020 - Val Dzwonczyk
I am the new Stewardship Chairperson and I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today about Stewardship. Thanks be to God that we have re-opened the doors of our beloved Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church and we are weathering the storm of the COVID19 pandemic! Much has changed since our 2020 Stewardship Drive began in September 2019! Our church services, Sunday School, church social activities, meetings, events, coffee hours and fundraising events have changed becoming either virtual, modified, postponed, cancelled or eliminated! Throughout all of this turmoil, our Saint Demetrios Church has been there for us as a beacon of light in these stormy seas; first with virtual services and now with both physical and virtual services. Now, as we re-start our church services and activities and re-build our own lives, we must give thanks to God for all his blessings both known and unknown, seen and unseen! Stewardship is the Christian way of returning to God His blessings so that we may continue to support God’s house!
When Father Lou asked me to consider being the Stewardship Chairperson, I reflected on the gospel reading in Luke 8. 5-15 on the sowing of the seeds. Seeds were sown on the path, on the rocks, in the thorns and in the good soil. The seed along the path was trodden under foot, and the birds devoured it. The seed on the rock withered away because it had no moisture. The seed among the thorns, grew with the thorns and was choked. The seed that fell into the good soil, grew and yielded a hundredfold. The seed is the word of God. “And as for the good soil, they are those who, hearing the word, hold it fast in an honest and good heart, and bring forth fruit with patience.
“Father Lou mentioned during his sermon on the sowing of the seeds that we, our church family, everyone here today, everyone viewing on social media and those who are not here today, are the seeds planted in the good soil. Each person in our church family works towards their salvation through faith and good works. Our beloved Saint Demetrios Church provides the good soil for our faith through worship at our church services and for good works through our participation and support of the myriad of philanthropic activities and programs throughout the year. We have everything in our church to work towards our salvation. We are so blessed at Saint Demetrios!
The pandemic has affected all of us in many ways however now is the time to rebuild! Stewardship is a three- legged stool consisting of time, talent and treasure. Although the time and talent given by our stewards are critically important, we also need treasure to sustain our Church Family. We have depended upon stewardship, the festival and the play to meet the financial needs of our parish. Due to the pandemic, we had a downsized festival and the status of the play depends upon circumstances beyond our control. We can no longer depend on the festival and the play to help fund our operating budget. Although the pandemic has greatly affected our church, our expenses remained constant. It is our responsibility to fulfill the needs of our Church Community and to demonstrate our Orthodox faith through Christian Stewardship. Fortunately, we are a large parish with over 430 pledging stewards. A small weekly pledge increase would greatly help our financial situation. We realize that the pandemic has affected our parishioners in many different ways. We ask that you prayerfully consider increasing your pledge. An increase of $3-$5 per week would greatly help offset the proceeds that we depended upon for the festival and the play. Will you help?
We have come a long way on our stewardship journey. When we look up, we see how far we must go to achieve our resource goals. When we look back, we see how far we have come! Please speak to family members and friends who are not with us today about increasing their pledge! We are all in this together! Let us not procrastinate, let us make this commitment today! Let us know if you need another stewardship card. Consider signing up for the Network for Good, a program for using a credit card to fulfill your stewardship pledge. God loves a cheerful giver!
I leave you today with the words of Saint John Chrysostom, “The church is your hope, the church is your salvation, the church is your refuge.”