Stewardship resources from the national PCUSA
Along with Maria Studer, Marilyn Rodahan, Carol Teta, Stella LaMassa, Phil Machmer, and Sharon Slade, I attended a second lunch at Sweet Hollow Presbyterian Church on March 26 with a representative of the Presbyterian Foundation. The lunch was also attended by people from several other PCUSA congregations on Long Island. We received information about the “life cycle” of congregations and trends in giving among Presbyterians and church people in general. The leader shared many ideas and strategies for improved stewardship programs.
One idea I liked: to present the annual budget to the congregation as a “narrative” explaining which mission goals were supported by which line item expenses. For example: meeting space for x number of “anonymous” groups, playing space for y number of athletic teams, z number of boy scouts, x number of pre-school children, and weekly worship will be supported by $_____ in heating costs.
The next lunch, third in a series of four, will take place on May 28, also at Sweet Hollow Church. For those of you who can get away for a Tuesday lunch, these are good chances to see what resources of knowledge and techniques the Presbyterian Foundation can offer to us. For example, they provide a service that could equip us to accept on-line gifts through the Foundation. They can also be helpful in setting up a wills and bequests initiative.
Moral support for those who worship
The right to worship as each individual and every religious body sees fit is a founding principle of our great nation. In recent years, acts of violence motivated by insanity and/or political extremism have been directed at worshippers of many faiths, including our own. Such incidents have created an atmosphere of unease and fear that must be addressed by active expressions of solidarity and caring.
In response to the recent terrible shooting incident at a mosque in New Zealand, I received an invitation from Rabbi Howard Nacht of Temple B’nai Torah to join the “Wantagh Interfaith Clergy Council” in a show of support and concern for Muslim worshipers at the Islamic Center in Westbury. I accepted the invitation and a small delegation from Wantagh joined a crowd of maybe 70 or 80 people who gathered outside the Center before their 1 p.m. worship service on Friday March 22. The crowd was made up mostly of people from Long Island Jewish congregations, but also included Episcopalian priests, Lutheran pastors and other clergy and laity. Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and County District Attorney Madeline Singas were also present. The Nassau police provided security. We carried signs with sentiments such as “We Stand Together with the Muslim Community.” We greeted worshippers as they arrived and some people made statements to the press.
Let us pray for an end to the long series of violent incidents, and when called on, let us show our support for those who seek only to worship in peace.