Orthodox Christian Stewardship is a way of life, which acknowledges accountability, reverence, and responsibility before God. A primary goal of Stewardship is to promote spiritual growth and strengthen faith. Becoming a Steward begins when we believe in God, to whom we give our love, loyalty and trust and act on those beliefs. As Stewards, we affirm that every aspect of our lives comes as a gift from Him. Stewardship calls on the faithful to cheerfully offer back to God a portion of the gifts with which they have been blessed.
Copyright © Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
How Much Should We Give?
As a newlywed, becoming a steward of an Orthodox church for the first time in my adult life, I first asked the question: “How much should we give?” When I put the question to the church office administrator, she knew from experience that what I really meant was, “What do most people give?” Giving at my new parish was on a stewardship model, so there was no minimum or membership fee. I wanted to know what the right amount was for the privilege of attending services and having the priest available for our needs, something like a membership fee to other organizations in our life. But, to be honest, I also didn’t want to give “too much.”
That was the beginning of my life as a steward. Throughout the decades since then, my spouse and I have continued to ask the question year after year: How much should we give? The answer has evolved, as we have become more involved in our church and have learned more about our parish’s financial needs. How we give has also changed as our faith has grown. Over time, we became aware that how we handle our finances is an integral part of our spiritual life.
At some point, we decided to start increasing our giving by a percentage each year, with a goal of eventually tithing (which we understood to be giving 10% of our income in parish stewardship). One year stands out in my mind because we had the “How much should we give?” conversation when the primary breadwinner was unemployed. At first, we decided to lower our giving a bit and increase our pledge once a new job was found. However, after some consideration, that didn’t sit right with either of us. Our stewardship is always an act of faith, of trust that God will meet our needs in the coming year. We decided to pledge as we would have if we had been employed. A job soon followed.
By God’s grace, we have arrived at the point where we commit 10% of our gross income to stewardship (including bonuses). Almsgiving and other contributions to church and additional charitable causes are given above and beyond our tithe to our home parish. In our financial planning, we have included plans to continue tithing after retirement, as well. Now, when the time for the new stewardship pledge comes around each year, the decision is very easy. In fact, the answer to “How much should we give?” has taken on a whole new dimension. The answer is not based on how much fellow parishioners give or tied to the church budget. Our gift is very personal, intentional, and proportionate to God’s gifts to our family. Ultimately, through giving back, we are trying to show gratitude to God for those many gifts.
How much should we give? The widow with her two mites gave “all of the living that she had” (Luke 21:4).
All things are possible to the one who believes in Christ. -Mark 9:23
We continue our Stewardship theme with a modified version of “The Ark of the Covenant” for our 2019 campaign. We heard your feedback and made changes that we hope made the process much easier and enjoyable for everyone.
The main purpose of our approach is to create opportunities for each of you to connect with another parishioner and to spend time having a conversation.
As a family, we are becoming increasingly better stewards of our faith, witnesses to the power of faith united, that truly “All things are possible to the one who believes in Christ.”
Stewardship of our faith in Jesus Christ calls us to do those things that protect and strengthen the faith that lies within us. It is about loving and seeing Jesus Christ in others. Stewardship of our faith in Jesus Christ calls us to do those things that reflect our faith to others, living our faith through our actions. Jesus tells us, “By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35 NKJV). There is no better way to share the faith that lies within us than to see Jesus Christ in others and to love and care for them. At St. Mary’s we have many opportunities to love and care for one another through stewardship of our faith: by praying, learning, and engaging in fellowship together. We can reflect our faith and see Jesus in others through the many ministries offered at our parish.
We invite you to make your 2019 financial commitment to St. Mary’s if you have not already filled out a pledge card.
The Stewardship Committee inspires, educates and enables the members of the parish to return a fair portion of God’s blessings of time, talents and financial resources back to the Church so that the work of Christ through St. Mary’s may continue and grow. They set the Stewardship schedule and drive each year, prepare literature and commitment cards, track responses and follow up.
Stewardship Committee Members
|Athena Mihas, Committee Co-Chair||Diakonissa Alexandria Kalina,
|Father George Dokos||Cooper Buss|
|Jessica Buss||James Geogleris|
|Dean George||Naira Istephanous|
|Annette Legeros||Cristina Nicklow|
Your questions and comments are welcome. If you would like to contact the St. Mary’s Stewardship Committee, you may leave a message with the St. Mary’s office staff at 612.825.9595 or email Athena Mihas.