by Lynn Williamson Delgado, 1995, Presbyterian Church (USA), PDS 70370-95-207, 1-800-524-2612.
Review by Rosemary Widmer, staff member of College Mennonite Church in Goshen, Indiana.
A castaway bear, Stu Bear is buried at the bottom of a toy box in the church nursery. Some young children discover him there and rescue him from the dark corner of the box. They see the possibility for new life. Stu Bear endures much scrubbing and stitching, but is revived and is better than ever!
Stu Bear is introduced to his church family as a bear who will learn about stewardship along with the congregation. An understanding of stewardship comes alive as Stu Bear visits the homes of children. One little girl knows that Jesus wants us to love everyone, so she gathers groceries with Stu Bear to share with others. Another friend takes this little bear to the retirement center to learn about helping others. One little boy works with Stu Bear as they pick up trash and plant flowers to take care of God’s world. Everyone helps Stu Bear develop good habits to take care of himself and be healthy and happy. Stu Bear also learns about the offering that is collected at church and gives his own money offering.
This simple little book provides a consciousness of stewardship that broadens our usual understanding. Stewardship is seen in the context of living a life that is dedicated to sharing, helping, and caring. It encourages us to think of our giving as an act of thanksgiving to God—an act that encompasses all of life and touches the decisions we make as we live in relationship to God and to others.
Stu Bear: A Story about Stewardship for Young Children is an excellent resource to help young children begin to understand and practice stewardship concepts. Within the story there are many ideas for families to live lives as stewards of God.
The book also has great congregational potential. Stu Bear’s story occurs in the context of congregational life and has been introduced and used in corporate worship. One congregation purchased a bear and backpack to travel from family to family along with the book. This was a very tangible way of heightening awareness and understanding of stewardship.