Three Points of Gratitude by Pat Cook

When St. Stephen’s invited Pat Cook to share thoughts about Stewardship season and its theme of gratitude, he offered us three thoughts and told us to choose which we preferred. We couldn’t choose. So we are sharing them all.  

One: 

One of my very favorite scriptures is Hebrews 11:1 “Now Faith is being sure of what we hope for and confident of what we do not see.”  I have wrestled with this one for more years than I can count, much to my joy.   When you wrestle with a scripture verse, it seems to open, slowly, like a flower, yielding layer upon layer of insights that God uses to improve our lives, if we allow it.  I’m so grateful for the resource of God’s word that brings light into my life and St. Stephen’s which constantly reminds me of the relationship I have to my God.

Two: 

Faith is like the turtle in the story of the race between the tortoise and the hare.  All races are won one step at a time.  St. Stephen’s is not a place to rush things.  It’s called a place of faith because you set your own pace, proceed in your walk with God without fear of failure.  I can take little steps and learn, then move to the next step.  There is such a rich environment of faith, undisguised and unashamed Christianity, taking sure steps forward in your Christian walk is the most natural thing there is.

Three: 

Christianity is about transformation.  No one follows Christ to stay the same.  I’m so grateful that as I look back at the six years I’ve been at St. Stephen’s, I know I’ve changed.   This gentle ministry softly embraced me, surrounded me with thoughtful teachings, prodded me to extend my world view, and been faithful to the ministry of Jesus Christ.  I think this is Christianity as Christ saw it and I know because I see the changes in me I would not have made on my own.

I am grateful to listen

by Jennifer Brevorka

I am grateful to St. Stephen's for the opportunity to listen.  So often in our daily lives--or at least mine--we am consumed by talking to others or trying to get "tasks" done.  Attendance at church and maintaining a friendship with St. Stephen's clergy and staff allows me to express myself. But more importantly, these acts allow me to sit back and hear insights on God, my life, spirituality, careers, and our community.  By attending church and participating in parish life, I have the opportunity to listen to sermons by Ryan, Lisa, and Sarah, and these homilies often drive home a message about the Gospel that resonates with the ups and downs in my life. I am grateful to listen to Lisa's wisdom when I have grabbed coffee or lunch with her.  I am grateful to Sarah for her updates--thoughtful and gender-inclusive--on what is transpiring at a national level within the Episcopal church. And, I am grateful to hear from fellow parish members as I listen to others share their wishes for prayers, healing, and gratitude. By listening to others, I get to help friends by offering my prayers.  I celebrate with pew mates by hearing about life milestones. And, I have the opportunity to offer thanks for a myriad of accomplishments by myself and others. Thanks St. Stephen's for letting me listen, which helps me spiritually and guides my soul.

How grateful I am for St. Stephen’s!

Cassandra Khatri, chair of the 2019 Stewardship Committee at St. Stephens

Sunday marked the beginning of our 2019 Stewardship season which extends until November 4. As parishioners and members of this church community, stewardship provides us with an opportunity to practice faithful purposeful, in passing on the gifts that God has given us, to support the work of our church.

Our theme this year is "Overflowing in thanks to God" and we are guided through our season by 2 Corinthians 9:10-5


10 Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness.11 You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
12 This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of the Lord’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. 13 Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, others will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. 14 And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. 15 Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

Throughout the next four weeks, you will hear about Stewardship at Sunday services, in social media, and in your mailbox. We hope you will be moved to pledge towards the church’s operating needs in 2019.  If you are ready, you can pledge here.

You will hear stories from some of your fellow parishioners about the sense of gratitude that our church has given them in support of growth in themselves, in their faith, in support of our community, and in support of our social, familial, and civic institutions. It is our hope that these stories will give you insight into the work of our church and inspire you to give to our parish so that this work might continue.

If you are considering giving for the first time, welcome! We are grateful for your willingness to give of yourselves. If you are looking to continue pledging, I encourage you to consider your giving to our church from last year and prayerfully consider your willingness and ability to give in 2019. You can pick up a Stewardship packet at church on Sunday, or read it here. You will find a copy of the Narrative Budget, a document that frames Stewardship and our parish's work through the Holy Currencies of wellness, truth, time and place, money, and relationships, as well as a pledge card that you should feel free to fill out and return at any time or follow the instructions on it to give online.

I encourage you to check social media over the next month, where we will post snapshots and blogs on the topic of gratitude from our parishioners.

If you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. I look forward to hearing from you. I am excited to journey through this season with all of you.

Thank you,

Cassandra