As the cycle of the year signals the changing of the seasons and the days get shorter and cooler, those of us who are gardeners turn our attention toward how we tend the ground and prepare it for its next growing season. It is at this time of the year that Vista Grande has set aside to think about stewardship, culminating in a celebration of bounty and harvest with our community thanksgiving meal, scheduled this year for Sunday, November 20th.
Stewardship is a funny word. To some, it may sound old-fashioned. To others, it may dredge up complicated feelings tied to experiences of fundraising campaigns gone by and the ways spiritual leadership has handled or mishandled conversations about money. In its original context, though, stewardship isn’t about money. It’s about tending and preparing and the investment of energy of all types. We steward things that matter – matter to us and matter to the world.
The last three years at Vista Grande have been marked with unprecedented upheaval. The COVID-19 pandemic, major visioning conversations about our building and land, the releasing of a beloved pastor to the next chapter of her ministry, and both communal and personal losses have changed our circumstances. What these changes have not done, though, is altered what it means to be church. Through everything, we are still committed to following The Way of Jesus and seeking love and justice in all things.
In this moment, we are being asked to think carefully about how we do what we do so we can continue to live into God’s unique call to us as both individuals and as a community. Much like the earth, which needs to be tended and amended to grow a bountiful harvest, we are being asked to steward our resources of time, talent, and money so we can grow toward a vibrant future.
And rest assured, God is at work at Vista Grande UCC. We are feeding people, both their bodies with food and their souls with the strength, faith, and hope to carry on another day. We have wrapped our arms around those in deep distress, lending shoulders either to weep on or to push against everything that seeks to crush them. We continue to be a spiritual home for people seeking refuge from targeted and systemic violence. We are distributing knowledge, wisdom, and love to all who desire it. All of this is only possible because of YOU. And it is only the beginning.
As we turn toward this season, the question to ponder is this: What do we want to tend in the next year? Because what we tend is what will grow. What we invest in is what will take shape. That investment can take lots of different forms: investing in the faith formation of younger generations, investing in your own spiritual growth, investing in the work of our mission partners, investing in our building and grounds, investing in our financial stability, investing in guiding the church into the future, investing in the care of one another, and many more possible iterations of what it means to be a steward of this community.
Our prayer is that we each mindfully discern how we are best able to invest in this community of faith, trusting that God will guide our efforts toward a fruitful future that we may continue to be a refuge for those seeking a different way to embody their faith in Jesus the Christ.
Included with the letter, is a stewardship card which lists all the ways (and leaves room for ones we haven’t thought of!) to invest in the life of the church. Please prayerfully complete and return to our Financial Secretary, Jerima King, by November 15th. Your timely response will assist our leadership team in making plans for the coming year.
In deep gratitude for all we are and anticipation for all we will become,
Rev. Mallory Everhart,
Dana Zimmerman, Treasurer
Jerima King, Financial Secretary