Holy Transfiguration Stewards

Holy Transfiguration

Orthodox Christian Church

November 16th, 2023

The feast of the Holy Apostle and Evangelist Matthew

Dear Good and Faithful Stewards,

This is the time of the year when many organizations will ask you to show your generosity. They are likely asking for more monetary donations. This is the time of year when our parish is sending out its pledge cards to the faithful supporters of this parish. We are asking for you to be generous in your support and commitment to the Church.

On Sunday November 12th, we heard the words of St. Paul: “He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully.” (2 Cor. 9) The full passage, 2 Corinthians 9:6-11, is a passage on generosity.

Brethren, the point is this: he who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must do as he has made up his mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that you may always have enough of everything and may provide in abundance for every good work. As it is written, "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever." He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your resources and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You will be enriched in every way for great generosity, which through us will produce thanksgiving to God.

St. Paul is challenging the Church in Corinth to be generous. His call to show generosity is also a call to them to show proper stewardship of the things that God has given to them. His call to the Ancient Christians of Corinth is also a call to us, the Ancient Christians of today.

This call to show generosity is not going to include any mention of tithing, though an income chart is included with the pledge card for your convenience. There is no set amount that will deem you righteous, or good and faithful in your stewardship. St. John Chrysostom writes that it is “not by the measure of what is given, but by the extent of the sacrifice of him that gives” that makes something generous. Scraps are still scraps; a sacrifice is still a sacrifice, regardless of the amount.

Within the Orthodox Faith, there are no “minimums”. We act from an eternal love that flows from God through us into the world. There are no limits to that love and there are no points to reach where you can say that “I have done enough, there is no need for any more”. We preach the maximum. Life itself is a sacrifice; a way to achieve unity with God, Who is the source of love. The Orthodox Faith is a process of growing in Love for God and Love for others. How much do we love?

Love is not something we do out of habit. Love is not a due we owe or a tax we pay. No one sends off their check to the IRS with love. Love is a reality. St. Paul proclaims that reality.

If we as a parish sow sparingly, then we operate at a minimum, we spend time fundraising for the parish to function, we have little time for the important things of the parish like nurturing the Faith and worshiping together as the Body of Christ.

If we as a parish sow bountifully through our committed stewardship then we meet our operational needs ourselves and fundraising activities are opportunities to provide for others who are in need. Our activities as a parish are not self-serving; our works all become works of generosity that increase thanksgiving in others. Those in need thank God that He sent such generous people into their lives. A generous parish has the time, resources and purpose to offer thanksgiving back to God. The activities of a generous parish support our faith and lead us towards the worship of the One who is so generous with us.

Here, the word “generous” has nothing to do with an amount. It really means “to be sincere”. St. Paul calls the Church, calls us to be generous, to be sincere. We are to live and support our parish in a manner that reflects the Truth of what we believe. We believe as Orthodox Christians in a loving God who came into the world: we believe that the Church offers a new way of life: we believe that there is a Kingdom where we are gathered together and with God in thanksgiving. How sincere are we in what we believe?

Look at the world and the people who live in it as though there is nothing else. They spend their money on things, so many things that they do not have space in their houses. In fact, so many things that there is a shortage of storage places available for rent to store all the things that cannot fit in their houses. They buy large, expensive vehicles. They spend money on experiences, vacations, sporting events, a night out, fine dining. These types of things will not exist as part of their life after a day, an hour, a minute. They will only be a memory or a picture on social media. If people live their lives in such perishable ways, they are living for the day; certainly not for tomorrow. People live as though they will die tomorrow so they better enjoy the day. These people are sincere in what they believe and their spending proves it.

What about us, the faithful supporters of this parish? Are we sincere in how we live as Orthodox Christians? Do we live what we believe? How do we compare in sincerity to those who live for today? Do we show in the ways we live in the world that we are called to make manifest in us and among us the eternal Kingdom of Christ? Do we influence others to respond with generosity to God and also live the life of an Orthodox Christian? This is the time of thanksgiving. A generous parish filled with generous Orthodox Christians creates thanksgiving every day.

Will you be a generous Orthodox Christian? Help us become a more generous parish that creates greater levels of thanksgiving to God, as we live our faith and nurture our faith by sharing the fruits of our faith with others.

With sincerity, thank you!

 

MEMBERSHIP
To be a member in good standing you must be a pledging steward who is up to date, you must be a frequent communicant at the Holy Chalice, and not have any canonical impediments that effect your relationship with the church.

As of Sunday January 28th, these Faithful members of our parish have returned their stewardship pledge and committed to support the operations of our parish in 2024. Let us all join together to grow the Faith and minister to the people of North Iowa.

Stewardship pledges as of 1/28/2024 total $56,182

Help us reach our goal of $80,000

 

Jamie & Nancy Zanios

Amber & Jacob Gray

James & Jean Marinos

Leah Osborne

Bessie Schisel

Myrna Barlas

Nick Pappas

Joyce Fountas

George & Cindy Fountas

Calliope Bitker

Mary Alukos

Jim Pattas

Mr. & Mrs. Zacharias Alukos

Maria & P.K. O'Handley

Renata & Andrei Vaschevici

Charles Bertelson

Fr. Nichalas March and family

Kimberly Robbins

Valentina Cernetchi

Louisa Montealvo

Nick Vlantes

Tim & Laurie Lichman

Dale and Kathy Snyder

Elaine Pappajohn

Jared Lichman

Leo Andolino

Mike Pappas & Deb Smith

John Pappas

Sarah & Nader Rabie

 

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