My beloved spiritual children in Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ,
Christ is Risen! Truly He is Risen!
STEWARDSHIP- A WAY OF LIFE
"Stewards of the Faith. All Things are Possible to the One Who Believes in Christ."
The Church belongs to each of us. It is our second home. It is a place to come together to learn the teachings of Jesus Christ and enjoy Orthodox Christian fellowship. In order to sustain a place of worship, we are obliged to fulfill certain needs, both functional and financial. The Church requires the time, talents and treasures of all members of the church to function successfully.
Orthodox Christian Stewardship is a way of life, which acknowledges accountability, reverence, and responsibility before God. Stewardship begins when we believe in God, To Whom we give our live, loyalty and trust and act on those beliefs. As stewards, we affirm that every aspect of our lives comes as a gift from Him. Stewardship calls on the faithful to cheerfully offer back to God a portion of the gifts with which they have been blessed.
An Orthodox Christian Steward is an active participant in the life of the Church. The parish encourages all who accept the Orthodox Christian Faith to become practicing stewards. Each year the Steward is expected to carefully review his or her personal circumstances and make a commitment of Time, Talent and Treasure to the support the parish and her ministries.
In order to be a "member in good standing" of Saint Andrew, each person or family must make a financial commitment (pledge) to the church on an annual basis. Your pledge amount should be prayerfully considered remembering that yes it does go to operating expenses of our church first, as it should.
Stewardship, therefore, also includes volunteering to serve on church committees, helping to organize and execute church functions, singing in the Chorus, teaching in the parish Church School, assisting working at the only major fundraising event of the parish, the annual parish festival. It is engagement in the total life of the church.
What makes you a parishioner in good standing? "Any person, 18 years of age or older, who was baptized according to the holy rites of the Orthodox Church, or who was received into the Church through baptism or Chrismation, who lives according to the faith and holy canons of the Church, who has met his or her stewardship obligation (part of which to meet his or her stewardship financial obligation to the Parish) and abides by the regulations of the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America and the by-laws of the parish.
To be in good standing you must practice your Orthodox Christian faith and be committed to Christ Our Lord and His Holy Church:
(1) by frequent worshiping
(2) by pledging to the church and fulfilling your stewardship, and
(3) living by the Holy Canons of the Church.
In other words, you should be active in the life of Saint Andrew.
The Parish Dependency on the Annual Parish Festival
For 44 years the parish of Saint Andrew has dependent on the success of the annual Greek festival to meet its financial obligations and operating cost for the year. By strengthening the Parish Stewardship it will eliminate this dependency on the Greek Festival revenue and other fundraisers to meet operating needs. Funds raised from these events may then be used for the upgrades to our Parish facility, and philanthropic efforts.
I would even go as far as to say any kind of dependency becomes eventually an addiction. Unfortunately, festivals have become truly an addiction for most of the Greek Orthodox parishes throughout the Archdiocese. One of our parishioners had said that by having and depending on people outside the church to fund the operating expenses of the church that we become "a welfare church." The responsibility of having a church falls squarely on the shoulders of every Orthodox Christian and family.
I find it most alarming when it is reported by the Stewardship Committed how very few young adults over the age of 18 are contributing anything to their church. Stewardship does not require a minimum and therefore everyone 18 years and older can afford to give something towards the parish church. These same young adults will want the church in the near future for a wedding, a baptism of their children and in case someone needs a priest to have a priest to serve their other needs. Must they wait until that day comes around to give something to the parish? When they spend thousands of dollars for their personal needs.
In other religions when the young people reach the age of 18 they are required to serve on missions for two years in far away countries. If they have a profession then to offer their professional expertise or skills, i.e., electrician, plumbing, teaching, etc, free of charge to their local parish.
Complacency of the members of the local parish is destructive and dangerous. If you say that you love Saint Andrew and have been served by Saint Andrew all of your life than it is only right that you support Saint Andrew spiritually and materially. Remember what Saint John the Evangelist and Theologian said: "My little children, let us not love in words or in tongue, but in deed and in truth" (1 John 3:18).
In Christ's Service,