A Stewardship Message
For over a year, we as a church, a nation, and a world have been challenged like never before. But as people of faith, we are confident that God is in our midst and that nothing can separate us from God’s love. I have been amazed and encouraged by the creativity, resiliency and flexibility demonstrated and witnessed by Episcopal faith communities like yours. Our congregations have embraced new ways to worship, gather and engage with our local communities. And throughout this entire period, the Episcopal Church Foundation (ECF) has been there with you - striving to live into our mission of leading Episcopal faith communities into the future as a partner for transforming ministries. We did this by nurturing, supporting and inspiring lay and clergy leaders throughout the church.
For example, we have developed and disseminated a whole array of online resources. On our new organizational website ecf.org, we are rolling out ECF360 – a self-directed tool for raising financial resources for your local ministries. Our Vital Practices website, ecfvp.org, hosts a resource hub on racial justice and reconciliation as well as information on hybrid church and COVID-19. In partnership with FaithX, ECF has introduced a new version of the Congregational Vitality Assessment, cvatool.org, a practical and user-friendly way of assessing the present and planning for the future.
And now we are approaching a new season of stewardship as we plan for the 2022 annual fund campaign in our local congregations. Despite current challenges and uncertainties, I invite us all to focus on generosity and our Christian response to an all-generous God. And I know we have questions: What does generosity look like in the middle of a never-ending pandemic? How do we appreciate and celebrate the blessings in our life even though they may look different than before? How do we take care of ourselves as we take care of those around us? How do we support our faith communities that have provided spiritual nurture during a most difficult period? How do we steward all of our gifts, especially our money, in ways that advance God’s mission in the world?
Please share your stories with us – your challenges, opportunities, innovative ideas, and new approaches to being the church. With your support and partnership, ECF can and will achieve our vision of a vital, inclusive, and sustainable Episcopal Church that creates steadfast followers of Jesus.
We are listing some stewardship resources below that you might find useful. While tools are helpful, however, stewardship is really about you and me and how we respond to God’s unconditional love. I hope and pray that we all approach and embrace this stewardship season with a spirit-filled sense of generosity, abundance, and joy.
Donald V. Romanik
ECF’s new single source, self-service site, for raising financial resources for your Episcopal parish or organization.
Congregational Vitality Assessment ecf.org/resources/cva
The Congregational Vitality Assessment is designed to provide congregations with an assessment of its Vitality (how healthy it is) and its Sustainability (whether it has the people, financial, and contextual resources necessary to survive).
Stewardship resources on ECF Vital Practices ecfvp.org/topics/topics/2/stewardship
ECF’s website Vital Practices (ecfvp.org) not only hosts the acclaimed publication Vestry Papers, but is a repository of articles on everything Episcopal, including many stewardship resources.
The Episcopal Network for Stewardship tens.org
“TENS is an association of church leaders who understand, practice, and proclaim God’s call to generosity.” Ask if your diocese has a membership to access TENS resources.
Planned Giving ecf.org/programs/planned-giving-stewardship/planned-giving
If you are a congregation, diocese, or other Episcopal organization, ECF can help you establish, enhance, and sustain an effective planned giving program to ensure resources will be available to fund vital future ministries. For more information, contact ECF at [email protected] or 800-697-2858.