October 2019 Newsletter (PDF)
From the Interim Priest
St. Francis of Assisi, whose feast day is October 4th, grew up in a wealthy home but renounced all material things, including money, as he decided to follow Jesus. He and his followers lived off charity from the villagers where ever they happened to be. Francis did not want to be distracted by material things. One evening when he was carving his begging bowl, the only possession he owned, he realized that he was thinking about it rather than about Jesus so he immediately threw the bowl into the fire.
The irony of Francis and his vow of poverty is that all kinds of people where so impressed with his sanctity, they gave so much to Francis that the Franciscan Order became very wealthy. This caused significant conflict between his followers, some who wanted complete poverty and those who wanted to use their wealth to further God’s work.
I have never met anyone who has chosen complete poverty. I have known individuals who have lost everything and seen how hard that can be. Likewise, I have never been part of a church that did not have expenses. While we could live more frugally, virtually all of the parishioners that I know appreciate heat, lights, buildings and staff, including professionally trained clergy. It is true that these things can distract us from the way of Jesus but they can also assist us in proclaiming the Good News of God in Christ and joining God in God’s mission. The reality is that these things cost money.
Here at St. Stephen’s we have been blessed by many benefactors, however, the day to day expenses must be raised from those who call St. Stephen’s their church home.
This month we will be holding our annual stewardship drive where the members of the church are asked to make a pledge to the support of St. Stephen’s in 2020. It is a year in which we anticipate calling a new Rector as well as continuing the ministries that have made us what we are. I encourage all of us to support the work of Christ at St. Stephen’s and to make a generous pledge to God’s work here.