by Elizabeth Murphy
I am not sure what the dictionary says about stewardship but it has always meant “giving” to me. I am a newcomer but the evidence of stewardship at St. Martin’s is impressive. I don’t know about the finances. Hopefully, the coffers are adequate to match the bills but the spirit of giving is abundant.
In one year I have been “greeted” each visit. I am offered leaflets to make my service experience more positive. There are cards in the pews for children to make a prayerful bookmark if the service does not meet their immediate needs. We enjoyed Wednesday night dinners “live” followed by discussions. Mother Lauren offered a 6-week series on Tuesday evenings to help acquaint new folks to the ways of the Episcopal Church. There was a “welcome lunch” for all first year members to confirm they were an important thread in the fabric of the church community.
I missed some opportunities for sharing in community giving because of other life commitments. I hoped to be able to pull weeds with the best of them on clean-up Sunday but was out of town. Perhaps next spring will offer another chance to play in the dirt for a good reason.
Although it may not actually be called “stewardship” another critical element of the sense of giving at St. Martin’s has been the smiles. Many locations have greeters but nothing makes a person feel more welcome than a smile and there have been lots of those here. There seems to be a genuine sense of open warmth that lures the new, the shy, or the unsure to engage. That is the “radical hospitality” I experienced at St. Martin’s that makes me grateful that stewardship is more than giving money.