Stewardship

Our theme for the 
2021 Stewardship Campaign
is 
"Growing Our Faith Through Generosity"

Stewardship is often defined as faithfully using whatever God gives us for His glory. We are all responsible to manage our time, one of our most valuable assets, our natural talents and spiritual gifts, and give of our treasure to be used to glorify God. Exactly how we each respond to giving of our time, talent and treasure is very personal. We hope during the fall you will prayerfully consider your commitment to St. John's and pledge to support our vibrant faith community. 
 
Our annual pledge drive runs through the month of November. You will be receiving a mailing in the near future with a pledge card. Please contact any member of the stewardship committee or the Parish office if you have any questions.

 


Making it Stick

In a recent Sunday School class, we did a version of trick-or-treating. It was a lot of fun. But, before kids went outside to collect candy, they each decorated their own white paper bag with handles. Each student was given their own colored pencils and markers.  However, Halloween stickers were on pages that could not be evenly distributed and there was clearly a limited supply. The way our students approached the situation was interesting:
  • Nobody hoarded stickers and they immediately started sharing
  • When a particular sticker was in short supply, someone offered their drawing talent to others
  • When a student showed up late, classmates offered to share stickers with the newcomer
  • One student even drew an outline around a ghost sticker that was already on their bag so they could peel the sticker off and give it to a classmate – now that’s clever!
Kids really like stickers. They’re kid currency. Our students were giving generously to their classmates. Some of these students had just met for the first time.
 
Clearly, many of our kids know how to share. Maybe they don’t do it all the time, but they step-up and see the reward. Do we lose this generosity over time, or do we increase it? Do we model generous behaviors as adults that we wish for our kids? Are we appropriately aware of the abundance we have relative to others? Are we sharing what we have, or waiting for someone else to take the lead?

Time and Talent

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10
 
What will be your good works in the coming year? How will you serve God in His church? How will you serve God’s people? Most of us have a good idea of our own interests and abilities. When we attend our annual meeting in January, notice the many service opportunities submitted in the reports. After prayerful consideration and with God’s guidance, volunteer to help with one or two. It’s a great way to serve God while making new friends and adding meaning to your life!
 
“So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.” Galatians 6:10

Treasure

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Matthew 6:19-21
 
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” These are some of the most powerful words in the Bible. When we consider what we value most, is it our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? If so, it will be our pleasure to pledge generously to His church to further His kingdom on earth. We accomplish this by providing a comfortable, safe space to gather for worship, Christian education and mutual encouragement. We offer outreach opportunities to extend God’s love and care to the wider community. And we demonstrate thanksgiving by returning to God the first fruits of our labor, or tithing, which provides money for salaries, maintenance, and support for those in need.
 
“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”
2 Corinthians 9:6-7

St. John’s -
A Testimony

by Bernie Harper

Fern and I moved to Naperville twelve years ago and started going to St. John’s immediately. (We had attended St John’s Episcopal Church in Fort Smith for most of the 40 years we lived there, so it was a logical choice). We have been involved in a lot of activities - ORB, vestry, choir, Righteous Brothers, Farmers Market and attended and enjoyed most of the events that have been scheduled. We look forward to increased activity in the future.
 
Your church pledge is much more about your relationship with God than a measure of your pleasure or displeasure with the church, and we have been faithful and increasing members over the years, and we will continue to be.
We do hope and pray for new leadership and a return to the activities we used to enjoy. As the pledge letter says this year, commitments from the members gives a strong signal to rector candidates. 

What is a Pledge -
Why Should You
Consider Making That Commitment?

What is a pledge? I checked various places for definitions and synonyms. The one I thought best describes what we mean when we talk about pledging was vouchsafe. You have seen this word in the Bible, liturgical texts, and heard it in our worship services. Vouchsafe means to give, promise, or offer something to someone who you trust. We can all say giving our treasure to St. John’s provides financial support to someone we trust.
 
When pledging, I immediately think of our country’s Pledge of Allegiance. The words in that pledge serve to honor our past, encourage us to live confidently in the present, and provide our hope for the future. The same is true for the responsible use of your treasure when contributing to St. John’s.
 
  • We learn from our past and build on that experience.
  • We live in the present and care for our physical plant, our human resources and our ministries.
  • We create hope for the future in the confident expectation that God will lead us to demonstrate good stewardship by leaving a legacy for those who follow.
Why do we come to you every year in the fall to ask for your commitment? There is a very practical reason. Our church fiscal year is Jan-Dec. The Vestry and our ministry leaders budget for the coming year in Oct-Dec. As you do with your home or business, we are in a much better position to allocate our resources when we are confident of the expected income.
 
We have struggled through a 20 month period of restrictions, closures, and uncertainty. With God’s help we have survived these challenges. We now look forward to a new beginning. 2022 will be a transition year for us with our efforts to call a new Rector, absorb staff changes, and adapt to the ever changing guidelines for our worship services. I am confident that we will continue to grow and thrive in the post-pandemic world. We have challenging work to do. The Lord is with us and will lead us where we need to go.    
 
The Stewardship Committee and your fellow parishioners make these requests:
  • If you have never pledged to St. John’s before, consider committing some of the treasure God has given you to support the many ministries at St. John’s.
  • If you are giving through a pledge, direct debit or other means, consider increasing your annual gift for 2022. 
Most of us are in a position to give of our treasure for the benefit of the ministries provided by St. John’s. Take this time to prayerfully reflect on how you benefit and how the broader community benefits from our many ministries. Then make the commitment to provide the financial support for our exciting future in 2022 and beyond.  

Growing Our Faith Through Generosity

A Daughter of the King recently passed away unexpectedly. Her name was Helen Schelfo, a longtime member of Christ Church in Denver, Colorado. I didn’t know Helen but was struck by her favorite quote from St. Therese de Lisieux: “Our Lord does not so much look at the greatness of our actions, or even their difficulty, (so much as) the love with which we do them.”
 
This recalled this year’s Stewardship theme, “Growing our Faith through Generosity.” When we speak of giving generously of ourselves -- time, talent and treasure -- it is tempting to feel a bit deprived. What will we need to give up in order to more fully support the work of St. John’s to spread God’s kingdom on earth? Time to relax and take it easy? Using our talents to “get ahead” in the world? Money for a newer car, a bigger house, a better vacation?
 
What does the Bible tell us? “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it – the world, and all who live in it.” Psalm 24:1 In other words, this is God’s world, and each of us, and all that we possess, belong to God. From this perspective giving generously to God our Creator seems the obvious choice. In fact, it is impossible to measure our “deprivation” against all that God has given us – which is everything. Without Him, we would have nothing, even our very existence!
 
Giving generously is an outward sign of our inward faith. And everyone is blessed with the ability to give more generously in some areas of our life. Let’s pray about this. In examining your budget of time, talent and treasure, where can you afford to be more generous with God? What are your needs vs your wants, and what portion are you prepared to give lovingly and generously back to God? Do you feel good about your commitment? Do you feel relieved? If so, this is what you are being called to give.
 
In conclusion, let’s turn to the Bible for affirmation: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:23-24 “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Corinthians 9:6
 
Go in peace to love and serve the Lord! Thanks be to God!

Stewardship Homily

THEME OF THIS YEAR’S STEWARDSHIP CAMPAIGN
GROWING OUR FAITH THROUGH GENEROSITY
10/24/21 GOSPEL LESSON FROM MARK:

BARTIMAEUS HAD HIS SIGHT RESTORED. GO,” SAID JESUS, “YOUR FAITH HAS HEALED YOU.” (OUR OWN EXAMPLES)

BY DEFINITION, FAITH IS COMPLETE TRUST OR CONFIDENCE IN SOMEONE/SOMETHING

Hebrews 11:1: "Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

DO YOU TRUST GOD? DO YOU HAVE FAITH THAT GOD HAS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE, AND THAT YOU CAN COMPLETE THAT PLAN WITH HIS HELP? DO YOU HAVE FAITH THAT GOD WILL SUPPORT YOU IN ALL THINGS?

MATTHEW 17 & LUKE 17 MAKE CLEAR THAT IF WE EVEN HAVE THE FAITH OF A MUSTARD SEED, WE CAN DEPEND UPON GOD’S STRENGHTH & POWER IN TIMES OF NEED.

WE, THE PEOPLE OF ST. JOHN’S, NOW FIND OURSELVES IN A TIME OF NEED!

  1. WE NEED TO RESTORE OUR SENSE OF COMMUNITY BY VOLUNTEERING OUR TIME AND TALENT:

SERVE AT THE ALTAR: LECTOR, LEM, ACOLYTE, COMPLINE READER, JOIN THE ALTAR GUILD OR HEALING PRAYER TEAM!

DO YOU LOVE TO SING OR PLAY AN INSTRUMENT? JOIN THE CHOIR OR BELL CHOIR – RETURNING SOON!

CAN YOU LEAD? CHRISTIAN EDUCATION, BIBLE STUDIES, & THE STEWARDSHIP COMMITTEE NEED YOUR HELP!

IS SERVING OTHERS YOUR PASSION? CONSIDER DOK, BOS, ECW, THE OUTREACH BOARD, TRINITY SANDWICH BOARD, HESED HOUSE, CHRISTMAS BASKET PROGRAM, FARMERS’ MARKET, MISSION TRIP, WELCOME CENTER HOSTS & USHERS.

DO YOU ENJOY WORKING WITH YOUR HANDS? WE NEED GOD’S GARDENERS, KNITTERS, CLEAN-UP TEAMS (INDOORS & OUTDOORS) & RIGHTEOUS BROS. à PANCAKE BREAKFASTS!

  1. WE NEED TO FILL MANY POSITIONS:

AN OUTSTANDING NEW PASTOR TO INSPIRE AND LEAD US, A CHRISTIAN EDUCATION DIRECTOR, A CHOIR DIRECTOR, AN OFFICE ASSISTANT, A SEXTON, AND MAYBE EVEN A YOUTH MINISTER. CAN WE AFFORD TO MAKE OUR DREAMS A REALITY?

THE DEFINITION OF GENEROSITY IS: THE SPIRIT AND ACTION OF GIVING FREELY AND FREQUENTLY TO OTHERS

FROM THE BIBLE WE KNOW THAT GENEROSITY IS A STATE OF THE HEART, NOT OF ONE’S WALLET. WE KNOW THAT GOD IS THE PROVIDER OF ALL THINGS. HE IS GRACIOUS AND LOVES TO BLESS HIS CHILDREN. WHEN WE HAVE FAITH IN HIS PROVISION, WE GIVE GENEROUSLY. WE ARE GENEROUS, BECAUSE GOD IS GENEROUS WITH US.

TREASURE! DO YOU TITHE? AVG. NAPERVILLE FAMILY INCOME = $126,000/YEAR à $1,050/ MONTH BELONGS TO GOD!

INCREASE GIVING 10% EACH YEAR?

DE-CLUTTER & GIVE GENEROUSLY TO PENNYWISE SHOP! CLOTHES, SHOES, HANDBAGS, BOOKS, COLLECTIBLES, GAMES, PUZZLES, TOYS & MORE!

THANK YOU FOR ALL YOU DO. LET’S WORK TOGETHER TO GIVE GENEROUSLY OF OUR TIME, TALENT & TREASURE SO WE CAN RETURN TO GOD A GENEROUS PORTION OF WHAT HE HAS GIVEN US! MAY GOD BLESS YOU. AMEN!


Following The Rules

In Paul’s guidance to the Corinthians (2 Corinthians 8:7) he noted, “Since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you, see that you also excel in this grace of giving”. 
 
Paul was ensuring that those who received his message were spiritually grounded in the reasons for giving. Interestingly, he was also concerned that the procedure for collecting and distributing these funds were correct. Paul made described how the money should be collected (1 Cor. 16:1–4) and ensured accountability by sending money to Jerusalem by authorized representatives (2 Cor. 8:16–24).
 
Excellence in giving means following the rules. Fortunately, some of the rules in our U.S. tax code are specifically designed to enable charitable giving in a way that benefits both the donor and the recipient.
 
Use Qualified Charitable Distributions
  • A QCD is a direct transfer of funds from your IRA, payable directly to a qualified charity.
  • The QCD tax benefit applies to owners and beneficiaries of individual retirement accounts who are 70½ or older. Amounts distributed as a QCD can be counted toward satisfying your Required Minimum Distribution (RMD; for non-Roth accounts) for the year, up to $100,000. Your qualified charitable distributions can satisfy all or part of the required minimum distribution from your IRA.
A QCD provides a different tax benefit than an itemized deduction because money given as a QCD is excluded from your income, whereas an itemized deduction does not reduce Adjusted Gross Income. So, the QCD benefit is in addition to the standard deduction.
 
Donate Appreciated Securities
  • If you donate the stock directly to a charity, there’s no capital gains tax to pay.
  • Donating appreciated stock offers several benefits – chief among them, the ability to make a larger value donation than giving cash after liquidating. That can increase the value of your donation by up to 20% for long-term gains. You avoid capital gains tax on the appreciated amount that you would have incurred had you sold the stock, plus you are still eligible to deduct the full fair-market value of the asset you donated from your income taxes, up to the overall amount allowed by the IRS.
These are just two methods, in addition to using life insurance, donor advised funds, and other mechanisms to maximize the benefits of your charitable giving. Consultation with a financial and/or tax advisor is recommended before implementing these strategies, but St. John’s routinely receives donations of these types from numerous individuals and estates. Can you also benefit from these rules?

 

WAVES VS CURRENTS
Are you Riding the Waves
or a Current?

Ocean waves rise and fall in an instant. They are as fickle as the wind that forms them. In a similar way, our careers, financial metrics, fortunes, and political campaigns rise and fade quickly. They toss us about and are fleeting.  Ocean currents are predictable and steady. They move massive amounts of water and energy around the planet. They are persistent and can carry messages in bottles or travelers for long distances.

We can choose to hitch our rides, spend our lives, and put our resources into things that are fleeting or those that persist. Nothing is more persistent or reliable than God’s faithfulness.

During our Stewardship Campaign, we invite you to hear God’s call to commit your resources to his work, which is steady as a current and outlasts any waves of this world. 

If you have not returned your pledge, we ask that you do so as soon as possible as this will help our Budget Committee plan for the new year.


What Motivates your Giving, 
the Present or the Future?

Giving for the present day is a good motivator, but it also risks losing sight of the real reasons behind our generosity. Calculating tax credits, determining worthiness of receiving organizations, fretting about how recipients spend what we give them, and focusing on near-term budget impacts from the pandemic are symptoms of giving that are focused on the present. Giving for the long-term does not care about these short-term issues. Giving for the future is characterized by considering the legacy and impact that we leave behind after we are gone. It is about sustaining a community of believers that lasts from generation to generation. It is about where we are going, not where we happen to be now.    

During our stewardship campaign, we invite you to hear God’s call to commit your resources to his work, giving to the future in a spirit of optimism that comes only from faith in God. If you have not returned your pledge, we ask that you do so as soon as possible as this will help our Budget Committee plan for the new year.


A Note to Share

If you are like me, I desire to be well known by God, I want to be on His “A” team, His go-to guy. But I would also like to audit the reports he receives in case there is something in there that I don’t really want Him to know. I’m not sure being fully known by God is particularly advantageous to my well-being. I understand that He has forgiven me and continues to do so. For that I am grateful. I guess I keep Him busy. But where I grow a bit uncertain is how he feels about what I do with my time and my money. To what extent is enough, enough? I don’t have the answer, but I wonder if you struggle with this at times like I do.

The Stewardship Committee has been reminding us to pray about and then send in our annual commitment (pledge) to St. John’s. Earlier the committee’s focus was on time and talent and now it is time we focus on treasure. Will God be pleased with my response? Do I need to reconsider the adequacy of my commitment? Or is enough, enough? Let me know if you have figured this out and may God bless us all for our effort.

Dick Barr

Stewardship Committee


A HEARTFELT THANK YOU
from the Stewardship Committee

This congregation is amazing! In the midst of all that is going on in our world – maybe because of it, the response to our postcard reminder message was wonderful. The financial commitments for 2021 show that our people love God, love our neighbors, and love each other. A big thank you to all who have made a 2021 commitment. If you have not yet responded to the request for your financial commitment for 2021, please do so as soon as you can. If you have questions, please contact Mary Beth in the Parish Office, Mike Demyanovich, our treasurer, or any member of the Stewardship Committee.    

We hope everyone has an enjoyable Thanksgiving and a blessed Advent season.


What is Stewardship?

Stewardship is about our faithfulness to God. All that we have is provided by God. What resources has God given us to do the meaningful work that advances God's mission in the world? We need to be good stewards of what God has placed under our care including relationships, financial resources, and spiritual gifts. 

In the coming weeks we hope to highlight the abundance of time and talent all of you contribute to the St. John's community in the many ministries as well as understand how we all can joyously share in a portion of the treasure we have received to support the programs and people doing God's work. 

Let us first get to know the stewardship committee. All are welcome to join! If you are interested in joining us, please contact the Parish Office, .


Meet the Stewardship Committee

Dick Barr has been a member of St. John's for over 30 years. He has served in many ministries and currently is on the Vestry. He is a LEM and LEV and runs the Annual Golf Outing. He enjoys anything golf and is a member of the PGA.

Andy Cooper has been a member of St. John's for 13 years and is a former Vestry member and warden. He serves as a Sunday school teacher and spearheaded the recent Capital Campaign. He enjoys running and family time. 

Sarah Dore has been a member of St. John's for over 30 years. She started God's Gardeners and has been a Vestry member and warden as well as a LEM.  Sara is active in DAR, the Naperville Women's Club and the Chicago Sinfonietta.

Birnie Harper has been a member of St. John's for 11 years. He is involved in the Farmer's Market, Outreach Board, Righteous Brothers and Wednesday Morning Bible study. He enjoys reading, cooking, yard work and watching movies and sports.

Deb Oleskowicz has been a member of St. John's for 30 years. She has served on the Vestry, as a Sunday school teacher, Pennywise volunteer, and Outreach Board member. She enjoys gardening, biking, kayaking, hiking and traveling.

Randy Russell is a former Vestry member and warden. He serves as an usher, lay reader, and is a member of the Brotherhood of St. Andrew, Men's Bible Study and Welcome Center staff. He is a representative for the Boy Scout Troop 133 and enjoys wine, traveling, college basketball and golf.


Show Us Your Light

Hello from the Stewardship Committee! We hope you are all doing well. As we live through Covid-19, we would love to hear for you! What are you doing while staying at home? How is the ministry you are involved in been working? What has your faith journey been like during this time? How are you acting as a good steward?  Please us us a short 1 minute video from you phone to,  that we can share.  

     
                              Aylish                              Bernie                                Deb
 
    
                                               Michelle                               Randy
 

Bringing the Stewardship Campaign to Life

Recently the Stewardship Committee recorded panel discussions with parishioners to have some thoughtful conversation about St. John’s. We hoped to capture diverse personal and positive experiences to bring the Stewardship Campaign to life. We will continue to share clips of these panel discussions in our E-News, St. John’s Facebook page and our website to promote our “Faith-Filled Generosity” campaign. Below are the short, video clips responding to the questions posed. 

What Do You Love About St. John's?



Dianne

Kevin

Mark & Suzanne

How Has Your Faith and Relationship to St. John's Sustained You?

Beth Dianne Pat & Sandy

Why Do You Give to St. John's?

Beth Dianne Kevin

Our Love for St. John’s and Being Good Stewards of their Gifts of Time, Talent, and Treasure

Michelle Steve

Garden Group Ministry

Gardens are a great example that we reap what we sow. Take a walk around St. John’s and see the beauty of the many varieties of flowers and plants volunteers work so hard taking care of. 

The Gardening Group Ministry has been a part of St. John’s for many years cultivating and caring for the landscape around the church. Some individuals share their expertise on what and where to plant, while others spend countless hours watering and weeding to keep the gardens beautiful. The group is now working on sustainable gardens requiring little or no care.

If you are interested in being a part of this rewarding ministry please contact the Parish Office, parishlife@ stjohns-episcopal.com

                                                               -

Then the Lord took the man and put him
into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it.                                                                               
Genesis 2:15


TENS

Miracles: transformational moments
By J. Davey Gerhard

The Gospels of August 2020 contain two transformational stories in the ministry of Jesus that weave the strongest threads in our Christian tapestry. What do these stories have in common? Radical hospitality and abundance. Together these two hallmarks of Christian values form our view of the Kingdom of Heaven and inform how we relate to our neighbors. August is a month of Faith-Filled Generosity. 

The first of these transformational moments occurs beside the Sea of Galilee, where Jesus spends a long day healing and teaching a great crowd. Do you, like me, wonder what he was teaching? Was he empowering them to free themselves from the oppression of worry and to focus on loving their neighbor? Was he reminding them that they were perfectly created children of God? Did he cure all kinds of diseases that day: emotional pain, disease, spiritual bleakness? Whatever it was, it lasted late into the day, and, in yet another act of compassion, the Savior did not want them to leave before they had their fill of teaching, of healing, and of nourishment. 

Scholars debate the actual miracle that occurred next. Did Jesus make a feast from a few scraps of food? Or did he unlock the sharing and compassion of the crowd, so that their own pocketful of food created a feast when combined with their neighbors’ pocketful? Debating this miracle, to me, seems like counting angels on the head of a pin – the truth is that people were fed, a problem that needed a solution was solved, love happened here.

Scraps of food also feature in the second of August’s transformational Gospel passages, as we learn about Jesus’ conflicted relationship with the Syrophoenician Woman. Jesus does not appear in this story as the virtuous, blameless hero — quite the opposite. If a passerby had filmed this on their phone and uploaded the scene to Twitter, would we have canceled Jesus for the racist and dismissive way he treats this woman who is outside the fold of the chosen people of God? When Jesus demands to be fed before tending to a sick child, and then compares the child to a dog, some might have backed down. Who is to argue with a man rumored throughout the countryside to be the Son of God? 

When the Syrophoenician Woman advocates for her child, and stands up to Jesus, two transformative miracles occur. The first is that the child is healed. The second, the transformation that echoes throughout the rest of history, is that Jesus himself is changed. From this moment he realizes his ministry is to heal all who come to him: Galilean, Samaritan, Phoenician, Jew, Pagan, regardless of religion or culture. We are the inheritors of this grace, of this generosity. When we share our gifts with the world, extending hospitality and creating abundance, it’s nothing short of a miracle. Amen.

J. Davey Gerhard is the Executive Director of The Episcopal Network for Stewardship, and lives and teaches his faith in San Francisco, California.