Imagining the Promised Land: St Nicholas’ 2018 Stewardship Program

The Israelites knew what it meant to journey from scarcity to abundance. They did it time and time again. They fled by night, trusting God would guide them and provide for them. Who could have imagined that their journey to liberation would include the sea itself parting and their ability to walk through as though it were dry land? As they traveled through the wilderness, God joined them, feeding them manna, enough for the day, providing them fire by night, and cloud by day. It was not an easy journey, and at times, the Israelites stumbled and complained along the way. Still, God was with them, always, as they moved from a place of bondage to a place of freedom and abundant life.

At its heart, stewardship is an invitation to journey into God’s abundance. And for most of us, the journey to generosity is just that – a journey. It is human nature to fear not having enough. Yet God’s story and our story collide and we experience something different. God invites us to taste and see what God is doing in our lives and to consider what God is entrusting to our care. In journeying to generosity, we are invited to become co-creators with God. When we move away from scarcity and self, we can begin to focus on what God has entrusted to us; we can see more fully how God is acting in our lives and in our world. In a culture that values our own enlightened self-interest over the needs of others, it is not always an easy journey, yet the gifts that await us when we truly step into community and into deep relationship with God are abundant.

All of us are called to be stewards. We are stewards of God’s creation, stewards of our families, stewards of money, stewards of time, stewards of our churches, and stewards of the faith that has been handed down to us, the faith that so many generations before us have stewarded. As we travel with God, we begin to recognize those places in our lives where God is calling us, as God called the Israelites, to step forth in faith into new and unknown places. It can feel risky to let go of the familiar, the safe, the known. And yet, when we let go, when we invite God more fully into our lives, the journey cannot help but be one that transforms us, taking us out of our places of bondage, into new, generous and abundant life.

Guest essayist: The Rev. Sarah Fisher

The Rev. Sarah Fisher is Associate Rector of St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church in Atlanta, and the Vice-President of the Board of TENS. Early in her ordained ministry, she discovered a passion for stewardship after attending a TENS Conference. Ever since, she’s been talking, learning and being curious about the connections between money, church, spirituality and God. When she’s not in church, she can be found in coffee shops or thrift stores, or reading Harry Potter.

ST NICHOLAS EPISCOPAL CHURCH 1072 Ridge Avenue, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007 | 847-439-2067 | www.stnicholasepiscopal.org

St Nicholas Is A Special Place: Fall Stewardship Campaign Begins

It was quite early on a Wednesday morning, around 5:15am that the fog had blanketed the entire area.  I drove, carefully and slowly while others who obviously were in a greater hurry than I sped past.  The entire trip was an adventure.  The sun had not risen and with the fog, it was still quite dark.  Mind you, I’ve been driving for 43 years and feel like I have pretty good control of what to do behind the wheel.  Yet, the fog on that particular Wednesday morning sort of got the better of me.  The truth is that I’ve been in a bit of an ’emotional fog’ of late.  Darkness is not just an element of the external world but can very much dwell within, too.

And as fate would serve, as I exited Rt. 53 and onto Biesterfield Road did the fog finally and fittingly clear.  The sun was burning the fog away and such beautiful and welcoming beams of light now guided me toward my desired destination.  As I pulled into the driveway of St. Nicholas, the entire building was bathed in such a warm, mellow glow…I was home.

All houses of worship are special.  Our church is certainly no different and we would all concur…St. Nicholas is a special place.  It is where we gather to give our thanks to the Lord and to share the gifts of the Sacraments of the Church, in particular, Holy Communion; the body and blood of our Savior and Redeemer, Jesus the Christ.  Our church is not just a building.  No, it is far more than that.  True it is that our facility consists of brick, mortar, steel and glass.  However and graciously so, our church is sealed, sanctified and protected through the grace and power of the Holy Spirit.

As the season of summer slowly fades into history and autumn is all but born, we prepare ourselves for our annual St. Nicholas Stewardship Campaign.  Certainly with prayer and optimism, it is my fondest hope that all of us ponder, pray upon and consider how each of us can best assist our church, our spiritual home to not just survive, but to grow, blossom and flourish.  Please, if there are questions or concerns regarding Stewardship, do not hesitate in inquiring.  I will do my best to assist or direct you to our ‘financial team’ which will best provide you the information requested.

For the next several weeks articles will be posted in News from Nick that will provide us both spiritual and practical explanations regarding the importance and need for our yearly, Stewardship Campaign. Talking finance is never an easy nor comfortable subject.  Yet, as we all manage our household accounts, so too do we care for our church home as we do our best at managing and maintaining our finances.  Each of us has our own set of circumstances which allows us to do what we can.  Please know this, I appreciate and understand that we all provide as we are able; whether we share financially, with our volunteering at church or engaging in the many ministry opportunities.  No one thing is more important than the other.  What matters most is we are part of this family of faith and we gather to worship, to give thanks and praise and to receive Jesus in the Holy Communion.  When we come together as a community of faith, as a church family, this, my sisters and brothers is what brings me true joy and peace.

In advance, please know, my dear and loving sisters and brothers just how much I appreciate and treasure each member of our church family.  The prayers, the support, the sacrifices made for the betterment of our church and for God’s greater glory never ceases to both amaze and humble me.  From my heart to yours, God bless and Thank You, one and all.

How To Help A Child At Christmas

The Criminal Justice Department is working with Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Mothers (CLAIM) and Cabrini Green Legal Aid to provide support for children whose mothers are in prison during this holiday season.
St Nicholas giving children gifts
Our first project involves filling the holiday wish lists of 13 children from four families. We are conducting the project primarily through an Amazon gift registry whereby donors can purchase the gifts or a gift card and have mailed directly to the criminal justice students to wrap and deliver. Each child has made two gift requests. We have four children with general requests (i.e., “something girly”) that cannot be accommodated by the Amazon wish list registry.

If you would like to sponsor a child and personally fill their gift list please contact Tana McCoy at tmccoy@roosevelt.edu. We ask that the gifts be delivered to Gage, Room 200 by December 20th.

If you would prefer to select a gift from Amazon and have it mailed, please use the link below. We ask that gifts be mailed by December 15th.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1MAEIWFTLCNLC/ref=nav_wishlist_lists_3

On December 17th CLAIM is taking 70 children to visit their mothers at Logan Prison, 200 miles south of Chicago. This distance has made regular visits to their mothers very difficult. Our second project involves helping make this visit a positive experience for the children. We have established an additional registry to purchase knit caps, gloves, and scarves to keep the children, their caregivers and volunteers warm on the trip. They also need some materials to keep the younger children busy (crayons, etc.). They would need these items ordered by this Thursday, December 8th. Here is the link to contribute to the children’s visit to see their mothers:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/registry/wishlist/1GPNZSKLIW79G/ref=cm_wl_list_o_2?

Please email Tana McCoy, tmccoy@roosevelt.edu with any questions. Donation tax receipts will be provided upon request. Thank you in advance for your generosity.