I have recently been visiting parishes to talk about stewardship. What—not in the fall? Don’t parishes deal with stewardship in a fall revenue canvass? Why talk about stewardship in Lent?
First, stewardship is something to do year round, not just during a fall canvass. If we care about God’s environment, do we limit our care to a few weeks in the fall?
Second, Lent is a good time to talk about stewardship. Lent is a time to prayerfully reflect and consider our relationship with God as disciples of Jesus Christ. Is it not then, also a good time to prayerfully think about our relationships with money, with each other, and with those who need our help?
Many parishes offer a Lenten study, often of a recently released book. Would a Lenten study about stewardship not be equally appropriate? Or, better yet, why not run a stewardship campaign during Lent?
Canonically each parish is required to conduct an annual revenue canvass—a stewardship campaign. The Canons specify that the annual revenue canvass is to be completed by November 30th each year. The Canons do not, however, specify when in the year a campaign is to be carried out, only the latest date by which it must be completed. So why not conduct it in Lent?
With respect to most fall stewardship campaigns, my sense is that they are hijacked by asking parishioners to give to meet the budget rather than asking them to give to satisfy their spiritual need to give. Instead of asking ourselves “How much does the church need to meet its budget?” we need to ask “What percentage of my income do I want to give back to God?”
If you have questions or want to learn more about stewardship, or about a planned gift, please contact me, in confidence and without obligation, at the following:
Planned Giving Officer
The Diocese of Edmonton
10035 – 103 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 0X5
Toll Free: 1–877–494–8890