Musings, On Money and Meaning… April 26th 2021.
Thank you to many of you for your encouraging words in respect to the reflection I offered on Sunday. You can click here to read the Upper Sackville version, here to read the Sackville United version or here to watch the whole service at Sackville United.
One of you wrote, “The two most difficult things for churches to talk about: sex and money. Lloyd, you are shepherding us though both in gentle, loving and thoughtful ways. Thank you!”
I’m doing my best. But truth be told, I did not have any training in this area. All I have to go on is the example provided to me by my parents. As to sex, I can only recall one conversation as a child with my mom about the subject and nary a one with my dad. In respect to money, in particular, money in relation to the church was about the same – in the reverse. Mostly I remember mom and dad rushing to get us ready to head out the church and scrambling to find an offering envelope (they were usually gathering dust on the top of the china cabinet) and heading out the door.
There is no judgement there – they were doing what they’d learned and as it is for many, Church gets what is left over, or what you’re able to find as you are heading out the door. And that worked for many Churches for many years – when attendance was a cultural norm and there were many people attending on a regular basis.
Being part of a faith community these days, is a counter-cultural experience. Many of us participate because the church nurtures and promotes values that are important to us: inclusivity, justice, mercy, forgiveness – values that seem sometimes to be in short supply in the larger community.
So, someone said to me the other day, ‘All right Lloyd, how much should I give?’ My response to them is the same response I’d give to anyone, “That’s not for me to decide. Only you can place a value on the place, space, experience, mission and ministry of your church.” I continued saying, “What is important I believe, is that it be a regular habit, a pattern that arises out of gratitude.” The person persisted, “How much Lloyd? How much? You are avoiding the question.” To which I could only respond out of my circumstances and practice.
Based on my level of income and household expenses. I donate $200 per month by PAR, $175 to local expenses and $25 for Mission and Service. I also give, approximately, an additional $500 per year to special projects and initiatives. I give because this community located in the centre of town seeking to reach out and embrace the larger community is important to me, because I share the values of inclusivity and justice – and it is in this community that I experience God/Love.
And then, as a preacher, I had to find an image to try and convey the message in another way:
I guess you could say the monthly amount I give falls between the amount of the electrical bill and the internet/telephone bill: this place and this people empower me and connect me to others, to God, to what is important in the world and gives meaning to my life, and I give accordingly.
As I said in the reflection on Sunday, what you give is up to you, as only you can determine the value of the faith community in your life over and against the resources available to you and your expenses. Whatever you decide to give I can only suggest that Planned And Regular giving be a part of that practice. If you’d like to learn more about PAR click here. If you’ve already decided to join the PAR movement, click here to print off a form which you may complete and pass onto Jennie at the Church office.
In gratitude for your generousity & willingness to engage the conversation, Lloyd
Today I am working from home getting caught up on a few matters that were not attended to last week. Virtual Office hours will begin at 10AM. If you’d like to chat send me a note or call and I will send you a link. At 4:30PM I will gather with the Tantramar Hospice and Palliative Care Organization for their monthly meeting.
On Tuesday I will be in Moncton for PPE Training in respect to end-of-life care for COVID-19 patients followed by the congregational meeting at Upper Sackville United Church at 4PM.
Wednesday morning I will join with the ad hoc Stewardship Team of Sackville United Church for a follow up meeting with Roger Janes, Stewardship & Gifts Officer, Fundy St. Lawrence Dawning Waters after which I’ll be in the office for three other meetings followed by the Virtual Community Supper at 5PM (link). Wednesday evening, I will be taking part in a national conversation begun by the United Church of Canada on the issue of harm reduction. If you’d like to take part visit this link for more information.
Thursday morning Rasta will get a much-needed hair cut and nail trim after which I’ll do visits at the hospital and the Drew before heading up to Moncton to conduct a funeral for Liz Amos.
And then begins a long-weekend! Thank you to Catherine Gaw for offering leadership for our Sunday Gatheirng on May 2nd. I will be joining you via Facebook Live. I’ll also be present via Zoom for the congregational meeting so that I can answer any questions you may have of me as you consider the proposal before the congregations.
Finally, please keep the initiative below in mind. If you can bake some cookies for us to have on hand to deliver with welcome letters, please email me we’ll arrange delivery or pickup. And, when you see a new family move into one of those homes with a SOLD sign on it, let me know and I’ll deliver a note of welcome and a tin of cookies on your behalf! Drawing the circle wide…!!