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Sabbath and Jubilee

Sabbath and Jubilee

Biblical, Holistic, Resource Review
Richard H. Lowery, (St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2000) This is not an easy read. Written by a professor of Old Testament, Sabbath and Jubilee is a study of biblical references to Sabbath and jubilee. The subject is complicated by many factors: roots in a subsistence rural economy, uncertainty concerning origins of the Sabbath, educated guesses as to original meanings, uncertainty as to what was practice and what was ideal. “Jubilee laws [on slavery and land redistribution] are…mostly impractical as social policy. But they establish important and revolutionary theological and ethical principles” (p. 77). “By celebrating a divinely ordered cosmic order, built on natural abundance, self-restraint, and social solidarity, Sabbath critiques the oppressive consequences of a royal imperial system built on tribute, forced state labor, and debt slavery” (p. 3). Households…
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Navigating the Jungle of Wedding Gifts

Navigating the Jungle of Wedding Gifts

General
Faith influences many of our decisions in life: how and where we live, what jobs or careers we pursue, and what we buy. At least that is our hope. As we were preparing for our wedding earlier this fall, Shawn and I reflected on our desire to live simply. By living simply, I mean that we want to bike, walk, or bus instead of drive, read a book instead of watch TV, cook together instead of eat out, and engage in any number of other “slow” living practices. We do this as a way to have a richer experience of life, to tread more lightly on our Mother Earth, and to live out our faith by generally attempting to counter our culture of haste and thoughtless consumption. We thought about…
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“Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity” Stewardship Theme Emphasis Now Available in Spanish

“Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity” Stewardship Theme Emphasis Now Available in Spanish

General
A stewardship resource based on the theme "Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity" is now available in Spanish. The “Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity” theme uses 2 Corinthians 8:1-7 as its Scripture reference. This 18-page digital resource includes an easy-to-use plan for creating a four-week stewardship emphasis based on four sub-themes: “Giving Our Day”, Giving the Sabbath”, “Giving Our Spiritual Gifts in Service”, and “Giving Our Money”. Four Bible studies, four devotionals, sermon starter ideas, and a children’s story are also  included. The cost for the Spanish Stewardship Emphasis is just $7.99. It can be ordered online in the ESC Web Store, or by calling the ESC office (toll-free in Canada and the US) at 855-278-4372, or via e-mail to office@stewardshipresources.org. Discounts are available for distribution of this digital resource to multiple recipients.…
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I Was Sick and You Visited Me

I Was Sick and You Visited Me

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Parkinson’s-induced dementia was the diagnosis. Whatever the doctors called it, we just knew that our mother was gone, and in her place was a confused and sometimes difficult elderly lady. Slowly, Mom had lost her ability to walk, to care for herself, and finally to speak. She lived out her final years in a care home. My father, my sister, and I divided up the week so that Mom would have a visitor every day. My “shift” was Wednesday and Sunday evenings. I wish I could say that I always joyfully looked forward to those times. Although she recognized me, Mom could not call me by name. She did seem to enjoy hearing the news of my days, so I learned how to make conversation that didn’t require a reply.…
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Celebrating Creation

Celebrating Creation

General
When we moved into our new home in a new subdivision, I was upset by the marauding raccoons that kept upsetting our trash cans and digging in our garden. Then our eight-year-old daughter pointed out that the process of building the subdivision had destroyed the environment in which the raccoons and several other animals lived. Now only a few small wooded areas remained where there had once been acres of forest. The raccoons were not invading our territory; we had invaded theirs. My daughter also reminded me that God had created the raccoons and cared about them. Most of us need to be reminded of these words from Psalm 24: "The earth is the Lord's and all that is in it" (v. 1). The air that we breathe, the water that…
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New “Fearless Generosity” Stewardship Materials are Available for Purchase

New “Fearless Generosity” Stewardship Materials are Available for Purchase

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"Fearless Generosity", based on Ephesians 3:20-21, is the theme for just-released stewardship resources published by the Ecumenical Stewardship Center. The Ecumenical Stewardship Center offers resources that together provide a creative, comprehensive, and thought-provoking approach to encourage generous giving and faithful stewardship. "Fearless Generosity" includes four sub-themes and supplemental scripture texts: "Fearless Living", Genesis 1 and 2: "Fearless Service", Luke 4:16-21; "Fearless Sowing", Mark 4:1-9; "Fearless Giving", Luke 21:1-4. Volume 16 of the Giving: Growing Faithful Stewards in Your Congregation magazine includes articles that provide theological reflection on "Fearless Generosity" and each of the sub-themes, practical guidelines and suggestions to improve all aspects of a congregation's stewardship program, and a special focus on encouraging generosity in younger generations. It also includes an eight-page center section containing an easily-adaptable "Fearless Generosity" stewardship…
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Registration Now Open for Joint Stewardship Educators and Mission Funding Forum Gathering

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The Ecumenical Stewardship Center Stewardship Educators Forum and Mission Funding Forum Groups will meet jointly May 6-7, 2014. Staff from Barnabas Foundation will host the gathering at the Foundation offices in Tinley Park, Illinois, a Chicago suburb. Ecumenical Stewardship Center Forums provide those engaged in similar stewardship-related ministries gathering places for networking, support, and learning. Forum Group participants consider the current trends, best practices, challenges, and opportunities unique to serving faith-based organizations. The topic for the gathering will be "Grass-Roots Stewardship: Connecting With Our Constituencies". Participants will explore the intersection of generous giving, faithful stewardship, and the current questions and challenges faced by those called to stewardship and development vocations in a faith-based context. Participants are invited to submit specific questions on the topic to be considered for discussion. Examples…
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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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