It seems that the churches around here seem to use the period before Thanksgiving to start their giving campaigns (or stewardship campaigns or whatever they may call it). I didn't have the Monday morning lie-in I was hoping for because I had to cover for a sick co-worker to prepare stewardship materials for a congregational dinner for the Presbyterians. (I just barely got the job done in time for the dinner...) My Catholic parish is also in the midst of their giving campaign—in fact, I think we're to make our pledges of Time, Talent, and Treasure within the next couple of weeks. The Episcopal church for which I play the occasional service and sing with the Compline choir is in the midst of their capital campaign. Even SQPN, the Catholic New Media organisation with whom I podcast, is currently carrying out their annual giving campaign.
I suppose this a good time for it. Americans will be celebrating Thanksgiving in a couple of weeks. It's a time for us to stop and reflect on all the things for which we are thankful. Even though the economy has been sluggish, people are still being generous.
This is amazing... I'm at the annual congregational dinner as I write this, and the people broke out into song, singing Amazing Grace from memory. They're also harmonising as well. And here I am, thinking, "I wish Catholics can do that." (Catholics don't really have much of a tradition of congregational singing, and most of what you hear in the American Catholic churches today is not, in my opinion, conducive to good congregational singing. But that's a topic for another post.)
Anyway, back to the theme of generosity. There is a passage from Luke where a poor widow gave money to the temple: "This poor widow put in more than all the rest... she, from her poverty, has offered her whole livelihood" (Lk. 21:3-4). She probably needed that money for basic living expenses and the like, but she gave it to the church. I don't think they ask you to give until it hurts (although in some traditions, they ask that you give at least 10% of your total income) but they do ask for prayerful consideration.
What do we have to be thankful for? It's a good question to ask any time of the year.
Sent from my iPhone