Stewardship 2022: Every Perfect Gift
“Praise God from whom all blessings flow
Praise him all creatures here below
Praise him above ye heavenly host
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.”
The Doxology, Hymn 380, vs 3
Dear friends in Christ:
A little over two years ago when I became your Provisional Priest-in-Charge I asked people what their favorite parts of the Sunday services were. Almost every person answered “The Doxology.” What is it about this short hymn of praise that people sing every week that is so loved? I believe it is the expression of our deepest desire to praise God. This praise is reflected in this year’s Stewardship theme: “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above.”
In the beloved Doxology we thank God as the source of all our blessings. In fact, all creatures above and on this earth join in thanksgiving to God. Such praise also keeps us grounded when things are not going so well, reminding us beyond a shadow of a doubt, that especially when times are tough, as they are during a pandemic, we do well to stop and give thanks to God for our blessings every day.
In these times of uncertainty, challenge and change it is a blessing beyond measure that we can count our blessings, and “name them one by one.” Like the Doxology, “Count Your Blessings” is a song of thankfulness. Today, we sometimes say “count your blessings,” when a friend or loved one is struggling. However, that was not the intention of its author, Rev. Rev. Johnson Oatman Jr. Rev. Oatman wrote the hymn in 1897 as a reminder to take our challenges and concerns to God in prayer. Like our theme for this year, “Count Your blessings” reminds us that our blessings originate with God, and not with ourselves. As we read in The Letter to the Ephesians (1:3). “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.”
This year's Stewardship campaign, “Every Perfect Gift,” underscores that true religion, religion itself, is a gift from God. A gift—not an obligation or a measuring stick. True religion comes directly from God to humanity. And that religion is not for the cutting off or the dividing of the world; it is to bring light into the world.
You are a treasured member of Saint Ann’s. Thank you for bringing your gifts of light, service, kindness, generosity, love, wisdom and leadership to our congregation and all the communities we are honored to support. Thank you for sharing your time, your skills, your financial resources and joy with us here at Saint Ann’s and in the world we are called, in Christ’s name, to serve.
The Rev. Dr. Anita Louise Schell
Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Ann’s:
Today, amid all the newspapers, advertisements, and requests from non-profits flooding your mail and demanding your attention, comes this, a letter from Saint Ann’s, with a different request:
Take this packet and open it in a quiet space, maybe outdoors in the beauty of nature. Focus for just a minute or two on the watercolor painted by our own Sue Joffray. Allow it to act as your inspiration, to connect your mind to these few simple words:
“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…”
James 1:17 NRSV
This quotation is the theme for our stewardship program this year. What does this challenging quotation mean to you, both as a giver or as one who receives? Once you give “that perfect gift” to someone, whether to your family, neighbors, the church, or even to the world, you have shown your love and concern. Your gift affects others in ways you may not recognize or fully appreciate. God has enabled you to be generous; you’ve passed this gift along as a reflection of his creation.
What does this quotation mean to you? To us, as parishioners? As we reflect on last year, what gifts has God given us and our loved ones? What gifts or talents from God have we shared with our neighbors? How has Saint Ann’s helped us to develop and grow in our spiritual lives during this challenging year?
Despite everything we have faced in the months since March 2020, we are grateful to our faith community for its active role in sustaining us. Even amid our deepest sorrows and feelings of isolation, we have felt God’s presence, not just physical, not just centered on ourselves. This is the impact of God’s perfect gift.
When a person or family makes a gift or makes an intention to give this year through a pledge, that decision recognizes God’s bounty. We invite you to use this opportunity to pass this “perfect gift” to others.
In the spirit of generosity and love,
The Stewardship Committee:
June Davison, Eleanor Perkins, Liz Jacobowitz, Michael Duffy, Charlie Brinley, Linda Jennings, Bob Jennings, chair
Mac Mummert, Liz Zeman and Mother Anita, ex officio
Altar Flower Memorials
Please consider remembering, honoring or giving thanks for an event, anniversary or loved one in your life by sponsoring the Altar Flowers for a Sunday service.
Click here for the form to mail in with your check.