During the Kaleidoscope Summer Training Institute 2015, the Rev. David Andrews, rector the Episcopal Church of St. Andrew and St. Matthew, were introduced to the first version of the Holy Currencies: Stewardship program. That fall, he began introducing the Holy Currencies concept and processes to the congregation through the weekly e-newsletter, sermon and workshop. In the September newsletter, he wrote:
I am excited to present to the entire parish a new approach to Stewardship that we will begin on Wednesday evening, September 23rd. Beginning that evening, we will meet for six Wednesday evenings (9/23, 9/30, 10/7, 10/21, 10/28 and 11/4) from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. We will share a meal and some time for fellowship and then we will study six different blessings. This program was developed by the Rev. Eric Law who . . . uses material from his groundbreaking book, Holy Currencies: 6 Blessings for Sustainable Missional Ministries. It is important for folks who participate to read this book in preparation for each Wednesday evening session.
The six currencies or blessings we will review and experience through small group exercise and theological reflection will be: Currency of Time and Place, Currency of Relationship, Currency of Truth, Currency of Wellness, Currency of Gracious Leadership and Currency of Money. I strongly believe in this approach, as it is a path for each of us to experience Stewardship as more than pledging money to SsAM. We will reflect on topics that impact what we pledge and how we are to be the Body of Christ at this time in our history. This program will engage our hearts and minds and lead us to increase our lives as stewards of all God has given us, for which we are thankful, but for which we often take for granted.
On Stewardship Sunday November 15, 2015, the day when church members are asked to pledge their time, talent and treasure for 2016. David reconnected the guiding principles of the parish through the lens of Holy Currencies. For example:
We will be mission driven in our work and life together so that we go forth into the world as representatives of Christ (relationships, time, wellness, gracious leadership)
We will include individuals from all walks of life, all cultures and all races in the life of the community (relationships, truth, wellness)
We will be advocates for social justice (truth, time, and wellness)
We will share authority and ministry with the congregation in the design and implementation of worship and Christian formation, education, services, activities and program (gracious leadership, relationships, truth, time and place, money, wellness)
We will use all our resources in ways that strengthen both our faith community and the surrounding community (place, relationships, money)
We will confront issues and conflicts openly, honestly, and with care for each other and the community (truth, wellness, relationships, gracious leadership, time and place)
We will honor and celebrate our historic roots and differences in ways that move us toward our Vision (truth, relationships, and gracious leadership)
Having fully explored the six currencies for six weeks before hand, congregation members responded generously when the time comes for them to offer their currencies of money in exchange for the development of the other currencies that empowered their mission.
On December 10, David wrote an email to me saying “. . . we are almost done with stewardship 2016 and to date we have received 131 pledges for $417,824 compared to a year ago when we had 124 pledges for 347,000, and we still have 30 folks yet to hear from, plus new members.”
On January 11, he wrote, “Thanks to the stewardship program from HC we exceeded our goal for this year and our projected deficit will be only 18,000.00 without taking any monies from the principle of the endowment. To put this is perspective: when I arrived at SsAM six years ago our deficit was $140,000.00. The Holy Spirit is at work here.”
On January 15, he wrote, “. . . this past week [our] vestry adopted a balanced budget for 2016. . . .A good week indeed.”
Based on experiences like David’s and others, of the early draft of the curriculum, we have designed a full curriculum called Stewardship365. To learn more about this program, come to our Training Institute on May 3-7, 2016 at the Barbara Harris Conference Center, in Greenfield, New Hampshire. This will be a 3-day intensive training for participants to fully experience the model, processes and activities involved in this new approach to Stewardship. If you are not able to join us on this event, we have scheduled a second one in August 4-6, 2016 at West Linn Lutheran Church in West Linn, Oregon. Go to our website to register: www.kscopeinstitute.org
Stewardship365: Holy Currencies
Stewardship365 is an on-line curriculum that empowers local congregations to expand their vision of stewardship beyond money to include the currencies of relationship, truth, wellness, gracious leadership, time and place. Through this process, they will create a year-around stewardship movement enabling the congregation to shift from maintenance to mission, from scarcity to abundance and from fear to grace.
Outline of the course:
- A church team begins the course by participating in an in-person Regional Orientation. (4-6 hours). (We require a minimum of 5 congregations in the same geographical area to sign up for the course.)
- The church team then signs onto six 1-hour webinars over the next 3-6 month period covering the six holy currencies. The webinars will be offered on 6 Wednesday May-July, 2016, at noon and at 3 pm pacific time. The dates are: May 25, June 1, June 13, June 27, July, 6, and July 13.
- In between webinars, the church team completes 5 homework assignments engaging more members of the congregation in the process.
- The regional congregation teams then participate in an in-person training session to launch their stewardship movements. (4-6 hours)
Tuition: Between $500 and $3,000 per congregation. The fee covers the regional in-person orientation and final launching sessions and printed material for a team of 5 members.
If you and your congregation leaders want to participate in this first-time presentation of the course, please contact the Kaleidoscope Institute (firstname.lastname@example.org) and we can assist you in finding more churches in your area that might also be interested. Once we have 5 church groups sign on, we will send a KI Associate to do the in-person orientation and the same associate will also serve as a coach for your church team as we move through the on-line portion of the course.
Reflection Questions for Second Sunday of Easter (Year C )
Upcoming Opportunities to Study with The Sustainist and learn more about Holy Conferencing:
May 4-7, 2016
July 18-22, 2016
August 4-6, 2016
Eric H. F. Law
For competent leadership in a diverse changing world