June 20 - 26, 2005
Six months later, awash in relief
When she heard about the Tsunami that pounded
nations of the Indian Ocean on the day after Christmas, Mary Zimmerman
wondered what she could do to help.
But rather than sit and wring her hands, Zimmerman
got busy baking pies and selling them for $6 each at her church, St. Mary's
Catholic Church of Winona, Minn. She has sold 400 pies so far and raised
enough money to build two houses in Sri Lanka.
"I feel that God was very good to give me
this little job," Zimmerman said
in a news
report. "I feel honored to have been chosen to do this for God and the
people over there."
Her can-do attitude exemplifies how Christians have
responded to their neighbors in need, raising millions to help the Tsunami
victims get back on their feet. Now six months later, the disaster no longer
makes daily headlines but Christians are still at work. Items in this week's
provide some details of how.
For example, Lutheran World Relief and Episcopal
Relief have each geared up for the long-term recovery efforts. Meanwhile,
congregations still continue to pass-the-hat, such as Oakland Christian Church
in Chuckatuck, Va., which gave a check for $10,147 to the Red Cross for
Getting people excited about ministry from which
they themselves do not benefit is one important way to deepen discipleship,
develop generous hearts and open people to the Good News. When Christians take
a genuine interest in the welfare of their brothers and sisters, they begin to
live out Jesus' teaching that we should love our neighbors as ourselves. And
that provides a solid foundation for stewardship.
Mary Zimmerman baked pies. What will you do?
Oakland Christian Church raised money. What will
your congregation do?
-Rob Blezard, editor and webmaster
(P.S.: To learn where to donate to Tsunami relief,
New This Week:
Resource set: Generations of
Here is the 2005-2006
collection of stewardship resources for congregations prepared by the
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada. As with their previous years
offerings, the set includes stories, Bible studies, Children's sermon ideas,
small-group activities and other practical, hands-on ideas for promoting
stewardship in a local church.
Click here for the Resource set. From the
ELCIC stewardship office.
our hearts and pocketbooks
"We always expect
pastors to make sacrifices and to be willing to live frugally for the sake of
the Gospel. I am sure the pastor of my Grandfather's church did. But everyone
sacrificed to make sure the church was still there."
Click here for the
Rev. Dana Reardon's weekly stewardship column.
justice and the environment
This essay explores the connection between the polar
opposite issues of poverty and overconsumption on the one hand, and
environmental degradation on the other. A thoughtful exploration of the
Click here for Poverty, justice and the
environment. From the
Web of Creation.
Giving in God's World
This insightful essay answers some of the fundamental
questions. "Is giving money to God optional? Absolutely not! Christians are
commanded by God to give of their possessions to the work of God," writes the
Richard Bucher, pastor of
Our Redeemer Lutheran Church,
LCMS, Lexington, Ky.
Click here for Christian Giving in God's
World. This week's
split-second decisions, sports stars excel because they have repeatedly
thought through the situations their games place them in. Churches can learn
from this by thinking through financial scenarios and how to handle them
before they occur.
Click here for One step ahead, the
column by Tuck Aaker, who writes for
ELCA Stewardship Resources.