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By Christine Burton

Stewardship has many more dimensions than the much-maligned annual call for money. It was a desire to learn and share that drew representatives of the Anglican Diocese of Qu’Appelle, the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Regina and the Saskatchewan Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada together in early February, in the spirit of the Lutheran Anglican Ukrainian and Roman Catholic Covenant (LAURC), to discuss a joint initiative on Stewardship.

Saskatchewan’s churches share the same concerns as those in other provinces, synods and dioceses: declining membership numbers and financial offerings, how to attract and retain families with children and young adults, and caring for church buildings. While these concerns are genuine and need solutions, the planning committee shared a view that stewardship is first and foremost a life-long response to our baptismal call to "seek first the kingdom of God, and its righteousness..." (Matt. 6:33). From this came the theme “Growing God's Kingdom in a Material World - Stewardship through New Eyes.” We are exploring ways to live as faithful and faith-filled stewards, loving and supporting God’s people both in and beyond our church doors, and to respect and renew God’s Creation.

Initial plans were for a ‘live’ weekend conference in mid-May. All was coming together.

And then the pandemic hit…

Blessedly, the Holy Spirit gave the planning committee ‘new eyes’ to see the constraints of lockdowns and videoconferencing as an opportunity to involve more people, and to explore the role of churches in our new cultural environment. Almost overnight, plans flipped to run a series of four free, weekly, 1-hour workshops, using Zoom technology, live-streaming and diocesan/synod YouTube channels. The first two sessions – “Stewardship through new eyes” with Susan Graham Walker (ACC), and “Growing the stewardship garden” with Fr. John Weckend (RC) – attracted well over 50 people each, with participants from across Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, and Ontario, representing not only the three sponsoring denominations, but also members of the Ukrainian Catholic, Presbyterian, and United churches.

There are four more events this spring. Two seminars will run on June 4 – “Relational giving” with Susan Graham Walker and Jane Harding (UCC), and June 11 – “Legacy giving” with Kurtis Krug, professional financial advisor, as well as two practical, hands-on sessions about Canada Helps and other tools. Limited Zoom spots are still available for one or all via live-streaming (Thursdays, 3:00 CST; register for Zoom at https://bit.ly/3fwRjta; if it’s full, watch at https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLx-MMJwsBsiuh1bqMtfVzqgDsNatLDYfr ). All sessions are recorded and available for future playback.

Consideration is already being given to an autumn series. If you have ideas for topics or presenters, the planning committee would welcome your input.

And if you’d like to try something similar in your diocese, we’re happy to share what we’ve learned in developing this series. For further information, contact: Nick Jesson at njessonatarchregina [dot] sk [dot] ca

Page URL: http://archregina.sk.ca/news/2020/06/05/growing-gods-kingom-during-pandemic-saskatchewan-churches-offer-stewardship-webinar