From the Vicar
In a recent New York Times op-ed, the writer Jonathan Merritt describes how our increasingly secular culture has made it difficult for us to talk about God, in part, because the use of religious and spiritual words has been in rapid decline since the early 20th century. Not only are words like "salvation" or "sin" becoming more rare in books, public speeches, and newspaper articles, but so are words like “love,” “patience,” “gentleness” and “faithfulness." As a consequence, we no longer know what many of these words mean.
Another word we can add to this list is "stewardship." When I was in my youthful angry atheist phase, I used to bristle at this word. It brought to mind those old public television pledge drives, when all programming halts and familiar faces from the news program or the murder mystery show would appear in a new, more irritating role: that of a fundraiser.
Why, I wondered, did the church have to ask for money? Surely if the church offered a good service, I would tell myself, people would pay for it, as they would any good product. Why bother with a genteel euphemism like "stewardship"?
It was not until much later that I realized the truth. The church does not operate according to the logic of a market economy, whereby one gives money in exchange for a service, like putting money in the offering plate to receive a ticket to heaven.
Instead, the church operates according the logic of a gift economy. God has given us all of these wonderful gifts for our flourishing -- this beautiful Earth, our friends and families, fulfilling vocations, creative pursuits -- and in gratitude, we work to protect and nurture these gifts.
In this way, we can think of the Cathedral's Congregation as a gift that has been given to us, which has helped us to grow and deepen as Christians and as human beings. Our financial pledge, then, is nothing more than our grateful response for this gift. Seen in this light, "stewardship" seems like the perfect word.
The Rev. Steven Lee
From the Wardens
Here are two special invitations for the Congregation of Saint Saviour and friends:
On Saturday, October 20 (that’s tomorrow!) The Right Reverend Clifton Daniel III will be installed by Bishop Dietsche as the 10th Dean of the Cathedral. This Evensong service begins at 5:00 p.m. in the Cathedral and is followed by a reception. All are encouraged to come and celebrate this joyous moment in our life together. “Dean Dan” has been with us for about a year and a half now. His kind presence, his vision for the Cathedral, his warm welcome to those who come each week and those who drop in just once in a while have been felt by everyone. When we list the blessings that we have been given, Dean Dan tops the list.
Sunday, October 21, Stewardship Brunch “Between the Services” Cathedral House, 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Come join us for a sweet beginning to our stewardship campaign—a brunch after the 9:00 a.m. Eucharist and before the 11:00 a.m. service. Father Lee, the wardens and Stewardship Chair Kevin de l’Aigle will be on hand to answer questions. Little Pilgrims will be held in the dining room while the grown-ups drink coffee and enjoy bagels, lox, Danish, etc. and consider the year ahead. What do we hope for our worshipping community? How can an increase in our pledges affect our ability to reach out in love to the needy, support our own Little Pilgrims, and offer opportunities for spiritual growth for all of us?
We look forward to seeing you there.
Tim & Marsh