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It’s a Faith Thing!

It’s a Faith Thing!

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After another day of practicing anesthesiology and doing pastoral work, Jon and Mandy sit in their Indianapolis living room and reflect on their giving to the church. “It’s a habit,” says Mandy, who is soft-spoken but no pushover. “It’s a faith thing.” Jon, gentle and lacking pretensions, remembers the quarters his dad gave him to place in the offering plate. More vivid is his memory of the first check his parents would write after receiving their salaries. It was a check for the church. If, at the moment, there weren’t enough funds in the bank account, the check was saved for “when it wouldn’t bounce.” This is a powerful image for both Jon and Mandy. After Mandy began to earn money as a child, delivering newspapers, she filled out a pledge card for the church budget and gave $1.25 per week. She credits her parents and her…
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New Magazine, Theme Materials, and Companion Resource in ESC Web Store

New Magazine, Theme Materials, and Companion Resource in ESC Web Store

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Joy! grabs your attention as soon as you see the cover of the newest issue of Giving: Growing Faithful Stewards in Your Congregation. The magazine, theme materials, and  Companion Resource all focus on the theme Abundant Joy, Overflowing Generosity. Together they provide a comprehensive stewardship emphasis that will challenge and encourage church leaders and the faith communities they serve to transform their congregations through generous giving and grateful living. Magazine articles include:     Four Stewardship Preaching Strategies by Mike Graves     Transcending the Economy by Charles R. Shumate     Growing Generosity: A Study of Effective Stewardship Practices by Barbara Fullerton     Clergy and Money by Barbara Blaisdell . . .and resource reviews, and many more outstanding articles.   Again this year Giving includes a center section with an easily-adaptable model for…
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ESC Capital Campaign Network Administrator Update

ESC Capital Campaign Network Administrator Update

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As part of his responsibilities with Design Group International, David S. Bell will serve as the primary staff connection with the Ecumenical Stewardship Center in fulfilling DGI's contract as Network Administrator for ESC's Capital Campaign Network. With a goal of assisting in the successful implementation of a capital campaign and in the process strengthening the relationship of a congregation to their denomination, the ESC Capital Campaign Network provides professional and cost-effective capital campaign services to congregations and other religious groups as part of ESC's mission and ministry of providing a variety of stewardship resources to congregations. Because of their involvement and association with congregations, judicatories, and denominations, ESC Network consultants have the unique advantage of understanding the denominational culture of a congregation. The Network provides a complete set of consulting…
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A True Celebration of Generosity

A True Celebration of Generosity

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Eleven-year-old Squire Graves stood nervously before the Renton, Washington, Community of Christ congregation. This particular Sunday was an especially eventful day for him because, in addition to giving the offertory at church that morning, he was going to celebrate his birthday that afternoon. But his party would not be a typical eleven-year-old's birthday party, and Squire decided that participating in the offertory would be the perfect time for him to talk about his pending celebration. He walked up to the microphone and began his story. “My folks always let me have a party on my birthday. Four years ago, I was thinking about what I wanted, and I decided I didn't really want anything. I had everything I needed. I told my friends that instead of bringing me a present…
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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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