No snow days for stewardship
In a recent column I
was musing on running on empty. It is clear that God does not run on
empty from the amount of snow that came when the heavens opened last
weekend. Here in New England we were hit particularly hard.
But for churches
that run on empty it can be a real problem to have so much snow and
either no worship or six people attending -- as some of my colleagues
treasurers worry about such days. Unlike schools, churches don't get to
make up snow days, and any lost income is often lost, indeed.
Some have suggested
that this is because we have a mentality in church that our offering is
like paying for a performance, and if the performance didn't happen,
then we don't have to pay.
I have not found
this to be true. At least not among people who belong or regularly
attend church. Some people in our congregation drop off their offering
on Wednesday if they know they are going to be away on Sunday. I
remember hearing a father with four kids talk about trying to catch up
offering after being away for several weeks.
We really do intend
to give the money, but just like the church we are all trying to do as
much as possible with what we have, and so when the money sits in our
checking accounts it looks like it is there and available for other
Some of us have
discovered Simply Giving. The funds transfer program run by Thrivent
provides a way to have our money make it to church even when we can't.
I am sure other denominations have similar programs. Twice a month my
offering goes from my checking account to the church's checking
account. I know it will happen and it keeps me better at my finances.
We can do it that
way or we can simply make sure that the money gets there some other
way. God has made sure that I got what I needed during the storm. I
was warm and dry and fed and cared for. I give thanks to God for that.
So on my part I want to make sure that the work that the church does to
be there for others continues to happen as well.
When people were out
preparing for the storms and the lines at the grocery stores were long,
it would have been interesting if there was also a line at the church to
drop off an offering before the snow hit.
2004, The Rev. Dana Reardon. All rights reserved. Used by permission. Email her at
The Rev. Dana Reardon is pastor at St.
Paul Evangelical Lutheran Church, Warwick, RI. A lifelong Lutheran, she
came to ordained ministry after 21 years in nursing, mostly in pediatric
intensive care. She graduated from Lutheran Theological Seminary at
Philadelphia in 1998 and served 4 ½ years in Upstate New York before
becoming a New Englander. She is still trying to understand the
accent. While in the Upstate New York Synod she chaired the Stewardship
Team. That began her fascination with what makes stewards -- and more,
what makes for generosity.
has three amazing daughters: Pastor Reardon says much of what she knows of
life she learned from them.