As one of the original parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi, Glenda Griest remembers the leap of faith it took for the parish to embark on construction of our church building 10 years ago. “We owed a large payment to the diocese each month for our mortgage,” Glenda recalled. So each month, the Finance Council carefully assessed the parish coffers. And each month, the payment was made in full, on time. “I know God was with us,” she said.
“As a brand new church, it took all of us. We knew that if each of us didn’t do our part, the parish wouldn’t make it,” Glenda said. “We faced that building payment each month, so it made sense for each of us to step up.” It’s worth noting that the mortgage on the church building was paid off in five years.
For Glenda, stewardship of treasure is only one of the gifts she shares with her parish. She is a minister of care to residents of two nursing homes, a Mass lector and a newly-elected member of Parish Council. She is also a member of the Finance Council, a position she has held since the parish was formed.
Glenda finds being a minister of care to be most rewarding. “Bringing communion to others is a way I can help. It’s important for them to see a new face every now and then and to be able to receive the body of Christ”.
“My Catholic upbringing is a big reason why I believe giving back is important,” Glenda said. But she attributes her understanding of stewardship to the teachings of Fr. Mark Boyer, first pastor of St. Francis of Assisi. “He was a great teacher. I learned that you have to take stewardship to heart. Then it makes total sense.” She was further inspired when she attended a stewardship conference presented by the Diocese of Wichita.
“We are a community, a family, at St. Francis and so the parish should be run like a family. We all need to do our part in this family. We can’t be part-time parishioners.”
St. Francis has continued to engage its members as a Total Stewardship Parish, now almost 15 years after it was established. How? Glenda believes it’s the example of others. “People are following their strengths,” and sharing those gifts in a variety of ways, she said.
“We are the Body of Christ,” Glenda explained. “When you’re involved, you take ownership. If you stand on the outside, you’re missing so much.”
- Glenda Griest