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Our Stewardship MILE - (M)

This last Sunday we celebrated All Saints Sunday and read the names of people in the church who died in the last year. I officiated at the memorial services for many of the people whose names were read. When I meet with families and friends to prepare for the service, or when church people would tell me stories about people who recently passed, I am often struck by the collective impact these saint’s had in the community.

I hear things like,

  • He was an usher at first service for years. We could always count on him to be there with a greeting every Sunday morning.
  • She had such a beautiful singing voice and she shared it at church and in the community.
  • He was always there with a helping hand. We only had to ask and he would show up.
  • She was a talented musician who played at church and was a part of the Olympia Symphony.
  • She was an amazing gardener and she always shared the fruit from her trees with the neighborhood.
  • He was so generous. He supported this church for years.
  • She loved to grow flowers and she shared her beautiful arrangements with everyone.
  • She was so much fun! She made everyone around her happier. 

What I notice when I hear these remembrances is that each one embodies the unique gifts and talents God gave to each person combined with a spirit of sharing those gifts in order to bless others. These saints were a faithful presence in the church and community. This is what it looks like to Walk in Faith! 

Our new sermon series, and stewardship campaign this year, is centered on this theme. What does it mean to trust God with our gifts and to walk with God throughout the days and years of our lives? When we do this, like the saints of the church, we bless others, have an impact on the community, and are remembered for how our unique and special gifts make the world a better place. 

Our first Sunday in the series will focus on Ministry That Matters. We are following our Bishop's priorities for all churches in the Greater Northwest Area which he has acronymed as MILE. M stands for ministry that matters and he prioritizes those ministries as ministries related to housing and health. When we think of health, we can think of it in broad terms to mean physical health, mental health, and community health. Pursuing community health in all its forms sounds like a faith walk following in the footsteps of Jesus! When I look at the descriptions of our saints above, all of their gifts contribute to health - the health of people, the health of the church, and the health of the community.  

Housing certainly means physical shelter. The Bishop is inviting churches to consider how we can be a part of ending the housing crisis in our neighborhoods so no one goes unsheltered. But housing can also mean helping people find home, stability, structure, family, a caring community of people, a place to rest. That sounds like church to me.
Our church saints walked in faith during their time. It is now our time to walk in faith, to engage in ministry that matters and to trust that God is at work in our lives, our church, and the wider community. 

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