We all have a money story, whether we recognize it or not. Perhaps we are always hopeful that we will always have enough, or the next windfall is just around the corner. Perhaps our story is one of fear or shame. Or a story that the church is dying and no longer relevant. Or a story that our actions won’t have an impact. Or a story that we don’t have enough. We live our lives and make our financial decisions from these stories.
We all have a money story, and congregations have money stories as well. Several years ago, we discerned a new vision for St. Dunstan’s Church: On earth as in heaven, all are welcome, all are fed, and all are loved.
As we lived into this vision, we became The Church that Feeds People. In our wonderfully successful capital campaign, we brought all of this together to Imagine the Ways that God might be calling us to live into our vision, and in doing so, we changed our story.
These guiding statements of identity and vision express the particular money story of St. Dunstan’s Church. We see that story playing out in our worship, in our ministries, and in the capital projects, from the new organ, to the expanded feeding program, to the improved accessibility of our building.
And yet, every good story has struggle. In our individual and congregational money stories there are both hopes and fears, abundance and scarcity, successes and failures. This year’s stewardship campaign invites us to discover and tell our money stories in light of God’s money story of liberation and justice.
God’s Money Story
Our annual stewardship campaign will ask: Where might God be speaking a new narrative into the limited money stories we have told ourselves? This is a great time to ask this question. We are living with both the abundance and success of the Imagine the Ways Capital Campaign, and the unprecedented pressures of the pandemic shutdown.
In good times or bad, to speak of money is to invite tension into the room. We so quickly want to avoid it. But it’s time we reframe this. Money and possessions are one of the most common topics in scripture, and Jesus talked about money more than faith and prayer. Our money story, therefore, is a spiritual story. Thinking about God’s money story will be liberating, inviting, and transformative.
Many Ways to Participate
Study Journal and Class
This week we are mailing copies of a Stewardship Study Journal to each household in our congregation. If you are not a pledging member, or regular contributor, and you would like to receive the mailing, please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. This journal will be used in the Our Money Story class on Wednesday evenings on Zoom. Click here for more information about the class. You can also use the journal as a personal study guide as we go through the stewardship program. The journals include poetry, art, scripture and lessons to reflect on our relationship with God and money.
Our Sunday worship will use readings, prayers, poetry and art to explore and celebrate Our Money Story. We are departing from the usual cycle of readings for these four weeks to emphasize the campaign themes.
Morning Prayer and Compline
We will be using prayers and poetry from the Our Money Story campaign in our Morning Prayer and Compline services on Mondays and Tuesdays during the campaign.
And, of course, you can participate in the stewardship program right here through the articles, art and poetry we will share. Here is a poem on the first week’s theme of remember.
My grandfather pressed a nickel into my hand—
One of those small silver circles
That countries are built on
And people live and die for.
I cupped my eight-year-old palm around it
As if that gift could become a part of me.
And once I had blessed it,
And once I had tossed it,
And once wishes had been made on heads and tails,
It was time to let it go.
I laid that cool silver circle
That countries are built on
And people live and die for
On the railroad tracks.
And after the train passed,
I marveled at how something so small
Could endure so much
And still be here at all.
But I guess you could say the same for me.
Poem by Sarah Are