During September we have focused on Stewardship: an opportunity to reflect on our resources of time, treasure and talent; to take stock of how we use these resources in the service of ourselves and in the service of others. For most of us the bulk of our financial resources are used in sustaining our families, and a disproportionate amount of our time and talent in furthering our professional lives in the work place. The challenge of Christian Stewardship is to reprioritise the manner in which we use these resources: most of us need to allocate a greater proportion of our time to our families, a greater portion of our talent to the benefit of the wider community; and we need to direct our finances towards the eradication of personal and family debt.
As Christians a proportion of these resources need to be directed towards the Church. We often confuse Christian giving with one of the Old Testament forms of taxation known as the Tithe. Christian Stewardship needs to be based on the New Testament principles of thanksgiving, generosity, and the service of others. Christian Stewardship is a call to advance the reign of God in our society through the wise and selfless use of our resources. The Church is uniquely placed to be a vehicle through which we can do this. As Christians committed to these principles, we need to ensure the Church is abundantly resourced to facilitate our involvement in the extension of God’s reign in the greater breadth of Creation.
The vision of the Anglican community in Southern Africa is to be “Anchored in the love of Christ, Committed to God's Mission, Transformed by the Holy Spirit.” How does your stewardship of your time, talents and treasure exercised through the Anglican Church in Garsfontein (Corpus Christi) resource this vision, and effect the Anglican mission: to honour God in worship that feeds and empowers us for faithful witness and service; to embody and proclaim the message of God’s redemptive hope and healing for people and creation; to grow communities of faith that form, inform, and transform those who fellow Christ? When last did you audit your resources? As an Anglican in Southern Africa, are your resources aligned to the vision and mission of our Church?
We will be celebrating Christian Stewardship at Corpus Christi on Sunday 16 October 2011. You are asked to affirm your commitment to the mission of the Anglican Church, and indicate the manner in which you will allocate your resources to this mission, on this day.
October ‘s focus is on leadership, and at a special Vestry meeting on Sunday 23 October 2011 we will elect our parish leadership for 2012. This will be the election of Churchwardens, Council and Synod representatives. Areas of responsibility on Council in which leadership is required are: worship, evangelism, education, social responsibility, pastoral care, community needs, Christian stewardship, ecumenism, finance and property. Nomination forms are available: please prayerfully consider offering yourself for election and/or nominating fellow-parishioners.
What are some of the qualities we are looking for in Churchwardens and Councillors? The Christian Leadership and Management manual put together by Hope Africa (2008:9-17) offers the following definitions of good, effective Christian leaders: a good leader will be a person of spiritual commitment and personal faith, a fervent listener to God through the mechanisms of daily scripture reading and prayer, a person of integrity and example, and have a servant spirit with all ambition surrendered to God; an effective leader will be willing to pay the price, see the big picture and know the source of their strength; a good leader is also one who shares power.
This is quite a daunting definition, but Council is a place where we draw out and develop these principles of leadership in each other. It is important to remember that all of us can develop leadership skills, and leadership is not reserved to specific people: leadership is a God given gift to everyone. Perfection is not required, commitment and availability are, and a willingness to offer your time and skill to the growth of our Church.