Good morning. My name is Lynn Renner and I’ve been a member of First Congregational United Church of Christ for about 7 ½ years and I love my church family. John Greenauer has asked me to speak about Stewardship and why I give to support this church. A few years ago, Ed Frank also asked me to do the same, and I think he regretted it when I stood up here and confessed that when the plate is passed, I put nothing in it. I continue to put nothing in it. In fact, you may have noticed, I sing in the choir. When the plate is passed through the choir, I feel this sense of guilt and wonder if anyone is noticing that I don’t put anything in. Sometimes I want to just “fake it” and pass my hand over the top. So – I’m here today to advocate the we stop passing the plate. I think that the practice is now antiquated and we should be progressive and stop using it – especially if it makes me feel guilty, right?
But what are we “putting in the plate” anyways? Stewardship is about giving of our time, talent and resources to support the work of our church – us – but also to provide the fundamental financial support to exist. I try to provide singing, sometimes I teach a Middle School class or be worship leader and even dance once in a while. But I am WELL aware that money is needed and so, I pledge to provide financial resources, because I can, and I instruct my bank to mail a check to my church every two weeks. That is how I ensure my support is consistent.
But I think the bigger question is “what exactly am I trying to support”? A building? Well …. Salaries? Yep. Supplies? Sure. But more importantly, I believe NOW more than ever, this world NEEDS US. I have a great sense of urgency about this. This world needs what we have to offer – what we can teach and try to model: compassion, kindness, strength, acceptance, love, grace, passion for justice, patience, caring, joy, forgiveness and fierceness. We offer “A Heart” – because this is how WE interpret how to be Christians. To Love One Another and Love All Creation.
A Heart. How do we beat? How do we pulse the blood through the body of this world? (I’m medical as you can see.) A Heart. We start with our own heart and we come here to be nourished. Sometimes I feel anemic and need some iron in my blood and sometimes Jennifer gets the paddles and shocks us. KA-BOOM! We expand our heart to our family, our community, our nation and our world and planet. A Heart. That is what I am supporting with my contributions.
So I’m giving my time, talent and resources to support A Heart in this world. One that needs to urgently beat louder and stronger than ever.
I started out speaking to you about advocating for no more passing of the plate and to just send our money through the simplicity of a bank transfer – which does ensure no missed donations. But, I’m human, so I get to change my mind. I DO want the plate passed and I want to encourage MORE contributions in the plate – not just for the direct functioning of this church BUT for the special givings we donate to every month that you can find listed on the back of the bulletin. Organizations such as the Retired Pastors Fund, Triple Point Youth Group for LBGTQ, Neighbor’s in Need, Winter Hospitality Overflow shelter, Martha’s Pantry and more. These sound like places with heart that could use support, right?
So – please prayerfully consider what resources you have to contribute to our much needed HEART in the world. Because we all know, without A Heart, we’re dead. So let’s not let that happen.
Submitted by Lynn Renner
Presented on Dec. 11, 2016 at church service.