The following is an excerpt from Cheryl Stuart’s Report to the Assembly:
Usually as I prepare this report I get an idea of what I want to say; and I read, and I pray, and I jot down notes, and things come into focus. And I was pretty sure early on that I was going to lift up two key things: the need to deepen our faith as it relates to stewardship, and second, the long awaited—too long awaited—social statement on women and justice.
I know some of you will tune out at the word stewardship because you think all it means is an ask for money. Let’s instead remember that we are called to steward this whole earth—sea and sky and plants and animals—all that God made. Stewardship, I suggest, is really just one aspect of servanthood. How can we serve our neighbor by being stewards of what we are given? That includes abundant natural resources; our finances; our health; our giftedness. We haven’t intentionally focused on this broad view of serving God and neighbor by being good stewards in this synod in many years. But starting under the leadership of our interim Bishop Lohrmann, our interim DEM John Mocko, and taking shape under Bp. Suarez, we will be doing that in the coming 12 months or so. That said, let’s not shy away from the fact that yes, stewardship is also about money. After all, Funding the Mission is Part of the Mission. Let me say that again: funding the mission is part of the mission. Inviting people to give back to God that which God has first provided—including money; inviting them into a deeper faith journey that will allow them to be a part of the life giving and lifesaving work that the church does in communities throughout the state, the country and the world—that IS part of the mission. So I ask you to please be open to the stirring of the Spirit, calling each of us, and each of our congregations and communities, to live into lives of comprehensive stewardship and servanthood.