By: Rev. Judith VanOsdol, Director for Evangelical Mission
Stewardship is an ethic that embodies the responsible planning and careful management of resources entrusted to one’s care. In other words, stewardship means to administer and care for what does not, finally, belong to us.
Although we say, “my family, my home, my church….” all these (along with all things, including our own lives) belong to God. Stewardship (including our relationship with money and “stuff”) is a deeply spiritual issue. A careful study of our budget and checkbook will reveal what our “mission statement” really is!
Stewardship starts with a joyful attitude of gratitude and thanksgiving for all the gifts God has entrusted to our care. God is able to do amazing things through our giving. We make a difference when we walk together!
If you have experienced an impact through work with your Bishop, Dean, synod staff, call process, candidacy, conflict and healing team, mission teams, Congregational Vitality Assessment (CVA), etc., this is your mission support returning to your congregation! Over 90 congregations in Upstate New York are using the CVA for mission planning and health.
Lutheran Disaster Relief is another example of your mission support that has had a powerful impact in our Synod. Last summer you helped make a difference in the lives of 53 children impacted by natural disaster in their lives. Camp Noah provided a safe place for these children to have fun and process their experience of trauma and flooding in their homes.
Your mission support also helps to change lives throughout the world, supporting leadership training, education, new and renewing congregations, outdoor and campus ministry, hunger and poverty relief, global mission, malaria prevention and disaster response. Since 2009, malaria in Africa has been reduced by over a half a million cases, saving countless lives. Your mission support is directly addressing the Ebola outbreak. See our Presiding Bishop’s letter on the life giving work we are doing together as the church.
Thank you for your generous giving of Synodical mission support that makes possible our shared mission in Christ Jesus. Please prayerfully consider an increase in giving by your congregation-either in an estimated amount or in percentage giving of your mission budget. You might consider moving toward a tithe (10% of the congregation’s mission budget) or even beyond a tithe.
We trust in God’s amazing grace-that God will continue to bless and guide us on our shared faith journey. Your congregation’s continuing mission support furthers God’s mission across our Synod and throughout the World. It is God’s work-through our hands.
The Synod Challenge letter has been sent out to all congregations. The electronic form for the Statement of Intent, along with a letter from our presiding Bishop is available to download. Please return your completed Statement of Intent for Mission Support for 2015 to the Synod Office, either electronically or by regular mail as soon as possible to 5811 Heritage Landing Drive, First Floor, East Syracuse, NY 13057.