This Week at OSH July 25, 2019
Members and Friends—
A few days ago, the following article showed up in an email from The Presbyterian Foundation: "Is the Church a Business?" It is a question that has come up in a variety of ways throughout my ministry. In particular when Sessions are grappling with budgets. As long as churches have buildings and staff there will be bills to pay and to do that there must be income. And as much as we might wish to make mission giving a priority the truth is that supporting the basic infrastructure takes nearly all the income of many churches. And that shows little sign of changing in the 'traditional' church. That means we sometimes lose sight of our calling as followers after Jesus.
The church unlike a business doesn't have a product to sell. Likewise, individual contributions to a church aren't paying for a product. Instead as the article reminds us "Christian stewardship. . .[is] sharing and investing in gratitude for all that God does in our lives. The word gratitude caught my attention as I have been reading Braiding Sweetgrass. The author is a Native American botanist. Gift, gratitude, and reciprocity are terms that run through the book. Near the end she says:
"The practice of gratitude. . .celebrates cultures of regenerative reciprocity, where wealth is understood to be having enough to share and riches are counted in mutually beneficial relationships.
When you joined the church, if you are a member, you made a commitment of gratitude to be expressed in your gifts of time, talent and treasure. But aren't those the commitments we are called to make to any relationship that matters to us. When we commit some of our treasure, in church-talk make a financial pledge, we are saying that the relationship we have with this particular band of followers and with our God is one we celebrate and treasure. We are saying that we are blessed to have enough to share in the work of this community.
One of the church treasurers I worked with early in my ministry put it this way. "No matter what, the first check I write each month is to the church." "Why," I asked him? "Because I am so grateful for all that I have and blessed to be able to share it with others." That says it all.
At its regularly scheduled meeting on July 22nd the Session devoted time to discuss the broad financial picture of Old South Haven. It also received the mid-year report of the Financial Secretary and the June report of the Treasurer. Members of Session are going to individually take time to reflect on information provided prior to continuing their discussion at their next meeting. In addition, the Session received the reports of the Clerk and Pastor and voted to move the September communion to the third Sunday as Pastor Karen will be away the first two Sundays.
As we enter the summer months please remember to keep your pledge up to date.
Sunday, July 28 10:00 am Worship
Sunday, August 4 10:00 am Worship