Here's a complete resource for a congregation to begin using an asset-based approach to financial stewardship. "This simple program can help your congregation fund God’s mission in a fresh and exciting manner." Available for free PDF download. From ELCA Stewardship.
Gleanings: Sept.25 - Oct. 1, 2006
A weekly assortment of articles in the popular press dealing with stewardship issues
Catholics a part of maturing earth stewardship movement, Catholic Sentinel, OR, Sept. 22. While the state’s largest ecumenical organization is stepping up education and statements on the key environmental issue, the Archdiocese of Portland has received an “eco-justice” grant from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. The money is going to help more than 30 Catholic parishes in western Oregon show the recent film about global warming, An Inconvenient Truth.
New Christian leaders bring compassion to evangelicalism, Bradenton Herald, United States , Sept. 25. "As Christians, our faith in Jesus Christ compels us to love our neighbors and to be stewards of God's creation. The good news is that with God's help, we can stop global warming, for our kids, for our world and for our Lord."
Workers suffer loss of power, see wages, benefits dip, Asheville Citizen-Times, NC, Sept. 3. The minimum wage has been stuck at $5.15 an hour since 1997, and its buying power is at a 50-year low, according to a recent New York Times story by Steven Greenhouse and David Leonhardt. Benefits from pensions to health care are in retreat. And, according to the Times, the median hourly wage for American workers has declined 2 percent since 2003, after factoring in inflation.
On Labor Day, labor increases, Duluth News Tribune, MN, Sept. 4. "When you're earning $10 an hour or less, how the hell do you take care of a family and pay for a house working one job?" said Alan Netland, president of the Duluth AFL-CIO Central Labor Body, "You know, most people want a house and a family."
Labor Day 2006, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sept. 4. Another report indicates that 37 million Americans live below the government's poverty line. Companies continue to eliminate pension programs, chipping away at retirees' hard-earned nest eggs. Health-care costs keep rising for the insured, while an estimated 46.6 million Americans have no health insurance.
No celebration for workers this Labor Day, Commentary, Scripps News, DC, Sept 3. You can prove anything with statistics, no matter the source. What IS real is that the majority of America's non-supervisory workers know their take-home pay is inadequate, that 47 million Americans can't afford health insurance, that without two incomes, most households would be in serious financial jeopardy, that many big companies have no loyalty to workers and that, since 2000, the rich are richer and the middle class is wasting away.
Unease in working America DesMoinesRegister.com, Des Moines, IA, Sept. 4. In years past, working families could make up for falling wages by working harder, longer or by holding down two jobs. But this strategy no longer works. Between 2000 and 2005, inflation-adjusted median incomes for all households actually dropped by 2.7 percent, according to the Census Bureau, and for working-age households (those headed by someone under age 65), median incomes dropped by 5.4 percent.
For many workers in America, there's not a lot to celebrate Daily Press, Hampton Roads, VA, Sept. 4. The gap between rich and poor is widening. The inequality between wages at the bottom and those at the top has grown in the last three decades. Inequality itself isn't so bad when there's the hope of mobility, but that hope has been tarnished, and so certain segments of the population are stuck on the bottom rungs of the economy and society.
Scripture inspires campaign to increase pay for workers, The Tennessean, TN, Sept. 2. The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said in 1965, "Give somebody a job and pay them some money so they can live and educate their children and buy a home and have the basic necessities of life. And no matter what the job is, it takes on dignity."
Pastoral perks can be unethical, even illegal, Texas church finds, Associated Baptist Press, FL, Aug. 21. Frank Harber, pastor of First Baptist Church of Colleyville, Texas, resigned Aug. 18 amid allegations he benefited from an improper real estate deal. But his is only the latest case illustrating the fine line between ethical and non-ethical benefits that pastors receive from often well-meaning parishioners. Historically, many pastors have received, in good conscience, payments of food, housing, furniture and services. Most people agree these in-kind donations -- even small luxuries like rounds of golf and free suits -- help support the pastor and his ministry.
Church, businesses to offer recycling, Community Press, KY, Aug. 21 - "Instead of paying to have our recyclables carted off, we found someone to pay us to give them our papers. Besides, who wouldn't like to save a tree? Our school children will help keep their school open by tossing into a container those papers in their classrooms that would just go to make a landfill bigger," said Father Rob Waller.
St. Thomas More checks its books, Darien Times, CT, Aug 17, In light of the recent audit results for St. John Parish that outlined the financial misconduct of the church’s former pastor, the Rev. Michael Jude Fay, which resulted in a loss to the parish of an estimated $1.4 million, the diocese of Bridgeport is seeking to implement more stringent financial guidelines.
Churches turn away from games of chance, Santa Fe New Mexican, NM, Jul 27. "Stewardship then becomes the main resource for funding church ministries,'' the statement said. ``When parishes and parishioners embrace the stewardship ideal, specific fundraisers such as raffles, etc. may no longer be needed.''
New programs emerging to train church leaders in management Florida Catholic, FL, Aug. 1. "What we're really about is stewardship," said Charles E. Zech, an economics professor at Villanova's business school and director of its Center for the Study of Church Management, who organized the summer institute<
Weekend of work, Anderson Herald Bulletin,, IN. In just one weekend, the youth of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Alexandria managed to complete five large projects to help out the elderly members of their parish.
Learn to make your own bio-diesel, Newport News Times, OR. July 28. Atonement Lutheran Church will hold the last of their "Earth Care 2006" family fair events from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 5. This last family fair will revolve around the theme of "Alternative Energies" and a class on making bio-diesel tops the list of offerings.
Income for ELCA Congregations Almost $2.7 Billion in 2005, Worldwide Faith News (press release), NY , Aug. 1. Total receipts amounted to $2,676,901,588 -- up 2.94 percent or almost $76 million from the previous year. The 2005 increase was more than the 1.79 percent growth experienced in 2004 and the 2.45 percent growth in 2003. In the 2002-2005 period, congregation receipts grew nearly $226 million.
African United Methodists count on radio to reach masses, Worldwide Faith News, N.Y. "Eighty-five percent of the population, particularly the rural population, does not have any means of getting information except through radio," said the Rev. Webster Mutamba, a communications consultant and pastor in the church's Zimbabwe Area. Without it, he said, "there is no hope for the church."
Bend church worker stabbed; suspect flees, KTVZ, OR, July 18. A worker at the First Lutheran Church in downtown Bend was stabbed in the abdomen Tuesday morning by a kitchen intruder who demanded money, then ran away, police said. Officers searching the area quickly found and arrested a suspect in the case. Anna Munson-Lund, 40, of Bend, was rushed to St. Charles Medical Center-Bend and underwent emergency surgery, but police said the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening