Ecumenical Stewardship Center Holiday and Winter Hours

Ecumenical Stewardship Center Holiday and Winter Hours

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The Ecumenical Stewardship Center announces its holiday and winter office hours: December 16 through 20: open limited hours December 23 through January 1, 2014: closed The Ecumenical Stewardship Center will re-open on January 2, 2014 with winter office hours of 9:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Winter office hours will be effective until April 1, 2014. The ESC Office is now located in Richmond, Indiana. Please remember to use this new mailing address: 101 Quaker Hill Drive, Richmond, Indiana 47374 E-mail and telephone information remains the same: office@stewardshipresources.org Toll-free, Canada & U.S.: 855-278-4ESC (4372)
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The Dumpster vs. Eternity

The Dumpster vs. Eternity

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Once I cleaned out the apartment of a dear elderly widow, as I was executor of her estate. She died at the age of 93 years. She had lived a pleasant life that included much travel throughout the world, and she loved to collect mementos from each of the countries she visited. In fact, she liked to collect all sorts of things—old birthday cards, Christmas greetings, wrapping paper, shoes never worn, and a multitude of other items. As I filled garbage bag after garbage bag and walked them to the dumpster, I was very unsettled about the process. I was discarding items that had been valued, greatly valued, by another person. It forced me to consider what my home might be like after I draw my last breath. What items that I had valued will my executor place in garbage bags?  I work hard, and…
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Karen Duhai is Minister-In-Training at the Ecumenical Stewardship Center

Karen Duhai is Minister-In-Training at the Ecumenical Stewardship Center

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The Ecumenical Stewardship Center has paired with Bethany Theological Seminary to provide a student with the opportunity to experience the ministry of working in a faith-based, non-profit organization. Karen Duhai, a second year student at the seminary, is interning with ESC through the spring of 2014. A member of the Church of the Brethren and a licensed minister, Karen's ministry work thus far has had a dual focus: peace and justice issues, and youth and young adult ministry. She graduated from Elizabethtown College with a double major in Professional Writing and Religion. After graduating, she joined Brethren Volunteer Service and spent a year abroad in Derry/Londonderry, Northern Ireland, volunteering with a community relations organization. Upon her return to the states, Karen spent several years working with youth as the Church…
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Joyful Giving is Life-Giving

Joyful Giving is Life-Giving

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God has blessed all of humankind with more than enough. A growing, maturing Christian recognizes this blessedness from God and realizes that each of us has more than enough to share with others. In a burst of enthusiasm, Kaitlyn's face lit up as she informed the pastor, "I have an idea for a project." Each year the church school classes of the small congregation chose two special mission projects to support financially. Most were modest projects with easily reached goals. This idea stretched the boundaries of what could be easily accomplished. Kaitlyn suggested that the children and youth raise $1,000 to purchase a well, water pump, and training through one of the church's wider ministries. The new well would provide a remote village with access to clean water. Her enthusiasm…
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Reading the Signs of the Times: Generous Stewards Caring for Creation is Theme of ESC 2013 Leadership Seminar

Reading the Signs of the Times: Generous Stewards Caring for Creation is Theme of ESC 2013 Leadership Seminar

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              Care for an increasingly fragile environment. Financial sustainability. Creating a culture of generosity. Positions of privilege. Through new technology, an increased awareness of neighbors’ needs near and far. God’s call to us to be generous givers and faithful stewards can be complex, conflicting, and confusing. Those attending “Reading the Signs of the Times: Generous Stewards Caring for Creation” will consider what it means to be generous givers and faithful stewards in 21st-century North America. Through individual presentations and dialog with each other, plenary speakers will explore thought and practice. Stephen B. Scharper and Julia M. Groom will be the plenary speakers at the 2013 Ecumenical Stewardship Center Leadership Seminar "Reading the Signs of the Times: Generous Stewards Caring for Creation".  Dr. Scharper is…
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Dessert First

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An aunt of mine named Lucille shared with me two interesting perspectives on life: 1. Lucille believed in eating her pie or other dessert before the rest of the meal. She said: “When you get to being seventy-eight years old like I am, you fill up quickly. I always want to have dessert, so I just eat that first.” 2. Lucille also believed in giving ten percent of her money to God through the church before she spent anything else. She said: “I don’t have a lot of money, just social security and a small pension, so it’s easy to spend it all and have nothing left for God. What I’ve discovered in life is that when I really put God first, I end up having enough for everything else…
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My Gift from Malawi

My Gift from Malawi

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On the final night of a seminar I attended in Malawi, a pastor from one of the Methodist circuits pronounced a benediction. Then, instead of leaving, everyone sat down. We three American guests were asked to come down front and sit in the chairs provided. As we took our assigned seats, all of the women disappeared into a hallway. The men sat in total silence. No one seemed perplexed, no one that is except for the three of us who sat facing the remaining male seminar participants. Finally the silence ended with soft melodic sounds. One by one, the women reappeared. They sang as they slowly re-entered the meeting room. The men added their voices to the rhythmic melody. Each of the first three women carried a beautifully wrapped package. Continuing the song, they slowly carried them forward to where we sat. Everyone stood. We stood too. The women processed…
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The Episcopal Network for Stewardship Sponsors Flourish in Faith Conference

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship Sponsors Flourish in Faith Conference

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  Are you ready to blossom in stewardship? Are you looking to plant the seeds of faithful giving in your congregation and local judicatory? Do you want to network with others passionate about generosity and discipleship? Then plan to attend the Flourish in Faith Stewardship Conference, sponsored by The Episcopal Network for Stewardship, July 12-13, 2013 at the Episcopal Commons of Utah in Salt Lake City.  Dr. J. Clif Christopher and Bishop Bruce Caldwell will be the keynote speakers.     Dr. J. Clif Christopher is the author of four books, including Not Your Parent's Offering Plate. He is founder of Horizons Stewardship Company, which assists churches and other faith-based institutions to make strategic decisions and secure the necessary capital to accomplish their mission. Dr. Christopher has twenty years of pastoral…
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Where Your Treasure Is . . .

Where Your Treasure Is . . .

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In a modern illustration of Jesus' parable of the pearl of great price (Matthew 13:45), a woman finds a valuable pearl in an obscure shop. The merchant says he will give it to the woman in exchange for everything she has. Wanting badly to own the pearl, she writes a check for several thousand dollars, emptying her savings and checking accounts. The merchant asks, "What about your house?" The woman signs over the deed. "What about your two cars?" She signs them both over to him. "What about your boat and your vacation home? Your stocks and bonds, retirement funds, and life insurance?" The woman transfers all of these to the merchant. Then the merchant says, "Now the pearl is yours." The woman is delighted! She turns to leave, but…
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Generosity on the Highway

Generosity on the Highway

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Once, when I was a penny poor student, I was driving on the highway and had a tire blow out on my car. The car turned 180 degrees so that I was facing oncoming traffic in the left hand lane. Fortunately no one was immediately behind me and, stunned as I was, I was able to pull over to the side of the road. I was terrified, miles from school and miles from home. I was also miles from an exit! The shoulder was narrow, and a sheer rock face made it impossible to turn my car around or even exit the vehicle without putting myself into oncoming traffic lanes. I had no phone, no credit card, and less than $20 in my pocket. My situation looked hopeless! A passing…
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