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What is Stewardship? A steward is defined as a disciple of Jesus who “receives God’s gifts gratefully, cultivates them responsibly, shares them lovingly in justice with others and returns them with increase to the Lord.” In essence, we have been given many gifts from God, and are asked to care for them for the next generation.
It is not just supporting the church in its many charitable works. It is not just giving in response to a need or request. It is not just putting your donation in the basket on Sunday. All of these things can be a part of Stewardship, but it is more. Stewardship is a sustained commitment, just as a farmer must continuously care for his fields. In this case, it is about deciding how we care for what we have been given, and how we pass it on. More to the point, it is the act of deciding what we need to give and then acting on that decision by making a commitment is the form of a written pledge. It is not about how much we pledge, even though that is the decision we have to make, but about the choice to make that decision and the willingness to put that decision is a written commitment.
Why choose Stewardship? It is the opportunity to move to the next level in our path to follow the example Christ set for us. As children we learn that we often get more joy from giving then receiving. We give because of our love Christ and one another. Stewardship allows us to focus on our need to give to fulfill thatlove. It is a conscious choice to recognize our need to give to others. Choosing Stewardship is challenging. It forces us to look at ourselves and consider our own needs versus the needs of others and decide what level of sacrifice we are willing to make. Stewardship is a pro-active choice to love our God and all our brothers and sisters.
Why now? As we have grown as a community, both in size and involvement in the work of our church. In the past, we have focused on time and talent and we have all benefited from those efforts. As we embark on our new commitment with the new parish of Our Lady of Refuge, we need to focus on our treasure. Stewardship is the answer. It allows us all to focus on and plan to give what we need to give.
How do we act on our choice to be Stewards? For some of us it may only be the formality a written pledge, as we have already made a conscious decision of what we aregoing to going to give. However, I expect for many it will mean that as an individual, couple or family considering what amount we need to give to experience that joy of giving that comes the sacrifice made for another. It is important to remember that the amount of the gift is an individual choice. For some of us, current circumstances may mean an appropriate gift is one of prayer for others and for others, what at first may surprising. An appropriate gift may be more than they have given before.
We are asking everyone to choose Stewardship. Why? Stewardship is a planned forward looking act. As it enables you plan your financial decision, so it helps us to know what we can plan on to help us make our commitments to others. Don’t try to do more than you can. Our goal is for everyone to make a pledge, regardless of the amount. Your pledge will become your Sunday offering. It is not in addition to anything else. It is our intention, if the pledges allow it, toeventually discontinue the second collection.
 From Bishops Letter on Stewardship, 1992.