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Blessed to be Doers of the Word

Blessed to be Doers of the Word

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Carolyn Pearson of Bonner Springs, Kansas, and Christine Simone of Palm Beach, Florida, had the opportunity to find out just how small the world actually is. Carolyn and Christine served as volunteers in Colombia, where there are four emerging Community of Christ congregations. Their host family,Yanett and Iairo Zabaleta (pronounced Yan-ett and Hi-rowe Zah-bah-laytah), welcomed them into their home as daughters. Even though the Zabaletas are very poor in monetary terms, they did not let that stop them from giving cheerfully and generously. Carolyn recalls: "Each day, a boy named Luis would come to the Zabaleta home in the morning to be a part of Young Peacemaker's Club and to play soccer. He wouldn't leave again until late in the evening. Luis had no shoes, his clothes were tom, and…
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Giving in Gratitude

Giving in Gratitude

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As I have listened to African American preaching, I have been impressed with how frequently I have heard the theme of gratitude that God has given this one day that we are alive. The heart of Christian faith is gratitude. The heart of Christian hope is gratitude. The heart of Christian love is gratitude. The heart of Christian life is gratitude. That gratitude is rooted in a sense that life is a gift, that life is good, that life is worth living. God’s goodness is the reason to be generous. That conviction does not come from a Pollyanna view of life, from overlooking the difficulties or pretending they do not exist. That conviction comes from a sense that God gives us what is really important, what really matters, what we really need: the sense that life…
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2011 ESC Leadership Seminar Focuses on Generosity

2011 ESC Leadership Seminar Focuses on Generosity

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Not your average "Hark the Herald": Jeff Raught of Ted & Company Theaterworks portrays the angel Gabriel in a condensed presentation of "Just Give 'Em The News". Story and photos by Mandy Garcia On November 28, 2011, more than eighty steward leaders gathered at the Sirata Beach Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida for the Ecumenical Stewardship Center 2011 Leadership Seminar. This year’s theme was “Creating Congregational Culture of Generosity in the twenty-first century”. Representatives from nearly twenty denominations heard presentations on the subject by plenary speakers Carol F. Johnston, Jill Schumann, and Paul Johnson. Attendees participated in lively discussion, sharing of ideas, and mutual encouragement. Between plenary and worship sessions, conversations abounded. In the foreground, plenary speaker Jill Schumann chats with a Leadership Seminar participant. On Tuesday morning, Associate…
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Upcoming Webinar Explores the Role of Planned Giving in the Church

Upcoming Webinar Explores the Role of Planned Giving in the Church

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Do you emphasize Planned Gifts in your church stewardship program?  Tune into this special 60-min. webinar to understand the benefits of Planned Gifts to your church and its members, sponsored by the Barnabas Foundation. The Role of Planned Giving in Your Church will be presented on Thursday, December 8 at 12 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. CT / 10 a.m. MT / 9 a.m. PT. The webinar will explore: • Benefits of Planned Giving to the church • Untapped gift potential • New creative ways to give • Steps for getting started • Stories from other churches   ABOUT THE PRESENTER Amy Bakker Baty is Director of Planned Giving Services for Barnabas Foundation.  Amy works with churches that are interested in helping their members understand the role of Planned Giving…
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Beth Sollenberger Named as Editor of Giving Magazine

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Beth E. Sollenberger of Goshen, Ind. has been named as editor of the Ecumenical Stewardship Center’s magazine Giving: Growing Faithful Stewards in Your Congregation, effective January 1, 2012. First published in 1998, Giving has become a premier stewardship resource for churches and denominations throughout North America. Articles explore the intersection of faith and giving, offer practical information on Christian stewardship for all generations, and critique the newest resources on stewardship. Beth currently serves as the district executive minister for the South/Central Indiana District of the Church of the Brethren. She has served in ministry in local, national, and ecumenical positions, including as a parish pastor, director of the Parish Resource Center in Dayton, Ohio, and as Congregational Life Team coordinator and director of stewardship education for the Church of the…
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Leadership Council of Faith-Based Foundations & Development Offices Initiates Salary and Compensation Study

Leadership Council of Faith-Based Foundations & Development Offices Initiates Salary and Compensation Study

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At their January 2011 meeting, the Leadership Council of Faith-Based Foundations & Development Offices (formerly the Estate & Financial Planning Forum Group) approved developing a salary and compensation study for faith-based foundations and development offices. The study is one initiative that the Council developing to serve the needs of the group and promote the common good. "While the denominations, faiths, and creeds of those who participate in Leadership Council are different, we face many of the same challenges and have a great deal in common," said Paul McLaughlin, President of the Moravian Ministries Foundation in America and a member of the Compensation Study Committee. "We hope the study will provide information that will help our organizations as they wrestle with questions such as: What is a fair, reasonable, and competitive…
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It’s Not About You!

It’s Not About You!

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For some of us it is difficult and maybe a little scary to get up before a large group of people. I had been able to avoid doing this most of the time, but one Sunday I needed to go up front and make a short announcement during the worship service. I had written my few lines on a piece of paper. Another fear is that my mind will go blank. As I was waiting for my time to go forward, I took a deep breath trying to calm myself, then another deep breath and then a deeper breath and then another deeper breath—I was beginning to think I was going to hyperventilate and pass out before I made it up there. And so it took many years before I…
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A Money Lesson with Noelle

A Money Lesson with Noelle

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Becoming a parent involves learning about a lot of things that we hadn’t even heard of before, and one of those things is American Girl Dolls. A year ago, we were blissfully unaware that any such product existed, and now American Girl catalogue is one of our daughter’s favorite things to read. Noelle is five, and one day while reading the latest catalogue, she announced, “These dolls cost one hundred dollars, which is more than we can afford, so I don’t think you should get me one.” We were taken aback, not because Noelle was entirely wrong, but because we didn’t realize she had any concept of the worth of one hundred dollars, or that it is perhaps too much to spend on a doll. Not wanting to burden Noelle…
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November Leadership Seminar will Focus on Generosity in Congregations

November Leadership Seminar will Focus on Generosity in Congregations

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Carol Johnston                Jill Schumann                 Paul Johnston Creating Congregational Cultures of Generosity in the twenty-first century is the theme for this year’s Ecumenical Stewardship Center Leadership Seminar November 28-30 in St. Pete Beach, Florida. The Seminar will offer timely, energizing, and cutting-edge content to engage and inspire steward leaders through plenary sessions and discussions featuring theological thought, current research, and practical application possibilities. Plenary speakers will offer individual presentations, share in small group/talk back sessions, and engage in a panel discussion to explore the intersections of their disciplines with the topic. The Seminar’s three plenary speakers are Carol F. Johnston, Associate Professor of Theology & Culture and Director of Lifelong Theological Education at Christian Theological Seminary; Jill Schumann, President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America; and Paul Johnson, Director of…
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