Bob Cornner

Bob Cornner
Visting St. Andrew's Torrance

Monday, August 13, 2012

Holy Offerings Rich and Rare: Giving Practices at Christ Church

PART I

As new members join Christ Church I think it is important to offer some experiences I have had here over my eleven years as Rector about the way people support the work of the parish, diocese, and national church. I will begin with my own experience.

I am not always very good at bringing my envelope to church each week. In fact, if someone were paying attention, they would notice that I sometimes forget to bring it for a month or more. Now this practice is not for lack of wanting to be faithful each week, but just because I get revved up for the service and setting up on Sunday mornings and I just plain forget.

Thankfully, no one in the church has ever questioned my forgetful ways, but that is because this community of faith does not really focus on who is giving, when they are giving or how much they are giving. Our focus as a community is on worship, hospitality, community, and learning to love one another in the power of the Holy Spirit.

In addition to my forgetful ways, there are other people whose pledges are done through automatic deposit; others write a check once a month, or follow some other schedule that works for them. As I said, I have a forgetful way with my giving, but my wife, Madelyn, who handles our money in the family, does not. So, now she has taken over the responsibility for writing the check and she makes sure my green envelop is on my side of the dresser one Sunday a month for me to bring to church.

So, I have now shared my experience with this part of the giving practices at Christ Church. As your priest, I am ever grateful for what everyone gives, but it is not my focus when I am with you. My focus is on working with you all in creating a place of welcome, worship, and learning that will help us all move more and more into the likeness and image of Christ. In a word, to help us grow in love and peace into the very ones God created us to be.

Our first and most important way of giving is to participate in our common life together in such a way as to reveal within the community and outside the community the love and presence of God.

Just coming to church to be part of worship is a gift! As we become more comfortable within the community, we offer service as a reader, chalice bearer, usher, acolyte, or choir member. We also find ourselves learning to sing the hymns, participate in the service, or offer to help someone else who is new. We greet one another and new people as if we were meeting Jesus.

So ends the first part of this mini-series on the practice of giving at Christ Church. Stay tuned for additional observations on what I have experienced here at Christ Church when it comes to presenting our "holy offerings rich and rare" to support the life of this community.

Bob+