by Mary Beth Butler
“The first time I heard the word stewardship, it was in camper orientation at Camp Allen, the Diocese of Texas camp near Navasota. I was probably 10 years old. Mel Brindley, the caretaker, gave the same talk to each new group about respecting nature and learning to exist lightly on that patch of piney-woods earth. His words infuse all my understanding of how I gain and spend and share.
My first pledge to a church was $5 a week, and that’s when I was in graduate school. It felt important to pledge something…and I have done it ever since.
In my former parish, there was a vestry member who had a phrase, “Don’t let the plate pass you by.” By that time, I was paying by bank draft, but I appreciated his point that it was important for us to also make that physical gesture of joining in the giving during worship. I always try to do this, even when it means just emptying my coin purse.
Finally, I believe that investing my time and listening ear in relationships (in church and in other settings) are important stewardship opportunities. If time is a commodity, then spending it this way is using it toward the Kingdom.”