Something unique about being a founding member of a parish is that you get a better understanding of what it takes to make a parish run. Starting fresh helps you understand how important it is that everyone, everyone, take a part. Everyone assesses, “what can I do to contribute?”
As soon as our new parish began, our family assessed what they could do to assist – what gifts they had that could help it be a successful, thriving parish. Besides what we could do to help with regard to time and talent, we saw very clearly that there was no money, we are starting from scratch - it’s all new!
Before we joined St. Francis of Assisi Church, we were involved in our parish, but on a more limited basis. We also had never made a thoughtful decision about a set dollar amount for the year to contribute, we weren’t making regular, consistent contributions to our parish. With everything being new, it gave us an opportunity to really discuss how we had been contributing and make a thoughtful decision going forward to do better – taking a more responsible role in showing our gratitude and blessings for what God has given us.
As our parish grows, we need to be careful that everyone continues to assess just as carefully what gifts they have to share with their church family and church home. New parishioners come into the parish and see how well everything runs and it is harder to see where they can give and make a difference for the parish community. What is important to understand is that our family welcomes new ideas, new perspectives and new energy in the roles that are currently being filled. For instance, we have recently had a couple of new members join Stewardship Council and they have made a world of difference by just sharing themselves, their talents and energy. The existing members are so grateful for what these new members bring to our council and our parish, just by sharing of their time, talent and great spirit!
I have learned in the years since our parish was founded that once someone commits to giving back and sharing with our parish community, they receive so, so much in return. Besides just feeling good about being a part of this wonderful community – they reap a closer relationship with God and everyone in our parish family – I have so many great friendships with parishioners!
I am so grateful for the transformation made in my life through stewardship and all it has brought me in my life. I look forward to continuing my personal transformation with friends in faith at St. Francis of Assisi and this community!