‘Tis the season for Nor’easters, and who knows what else (Bomb cyclones are a thing now? Who knew?). And that means it’s a good time to consider some practical advice from Ross Wisnewski, member of the diocesan Stewardship Teaching Team and St. Mary's Church in Sparta, about how we might view "bad" weather (and resulting building challenges) through the lens of "good” Stewardship. Ross wrote this in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida earlier this season...
"Even if your church, like mine, was fortunate enough to have weathered Ida without major incident, now is a great time to walk around your church grounds and buildings with a clipboard and a camera, taking note of items that might need attention.
Perhaps your gutters are clogged, or some windows need caulking, maybe your parking lot floods because storm drains are clogged, or maybe certain rooms have that damp, musty smell. Where are there safety hazards like frayed rugs or electrical cords running across the floor? Think in terms of preventive maintenance – what can be done now that would better protect your property in the future?
For any projects requiring specialized services, gather a list of qualified providers, check their references, and then get estimates from them. Be prepared to set work order priorities, and to make recommendations for when and in what order projects might be implemented.
While you’re thinking ahead, it is a wonderful time to propose a multi-year budget process so planned maintenance can be systematically scheduled over a number of years."
Every Church Needs a Wish List
A related good discipline is to pull together a parish Wish List, a list of things above and beyond annually budgeted items that various church ministries wish for to help them further God's work.
Every church should have an active Wish List, especially at end of year when parishioners might want to make a special "tangible" gift. A good Wish List has been thought through with ministry impact considered and costs broken out.
Your Wish List can include items from Buildings and Grounds projects, or from other ministries like your Music Program or Formation or Outreach. People love to give tangible, one-time gifts, and a Wish List can be appealing to pledgers and non-pledgers alike.
More Stewardship Tools – Project Resource Materials
Although the live Project Resource classes have ended, remember that materials are still available to any church in the Diocese. You'll find links to all the recordings, slides, notes, as well as letter templates and other materials in the virtual binder: Click here to take a look.
And don't forget TENS, The Episcopal Network for Stewardship
And remember that the Diocese is a member of TENS, (The Episcopal Network for Stewardship, www.tens.org) and that all parishes have full membership access as well. The password to access campaign materials is: James1:17. Take a look!
Hope these Stewardship tips are helpful! For more, make sure to subscribe to Stewardship Matters by sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org,