Thank you Fr. Paul for inviting me; on behalf of the Finance Council I want to thank all of you as well. My name is Michele McCarthy and I am a member of the Finance Council and the volunteer accountant here at the parish.
Two weeks ago Father spoke about Stewardship of Time: talked about showing up for Mass every Sunday and committing to a life of prayer and worship . Last week, Chuck spoke about Stewardship of Talent: he talked about how this is our parish. Your parish AND MY PARISH. He also talked about how we get more out of parish life when we contribute to it, it becomes more meaningful. And like all Christian stewardship, the more you give, the more you receive. So this week, I’m going to say a few words about Stewardship of Treasure, yes the dreaded “MONEY TALK”. So, I thought I’d share THREE reasons why it is so important that we all make a prayerful financial commitment to our parish. But unlike Chuck, I'm not going to try to convince you that "its FUN”!!
First, and seriously, it is OUR parish: you only get to be a founding member of a parish once. Archbishop Brunett dedicated this beautiful space just over a year ago… however, it is OUR responsibility NOW to ensure its permanence. The Archdiocese helped enormously in getting us off the ground. Many of you may not know that the Diocese paid for Fr. Paul's salary and benefits for all of last year. The Diocese also paid half our rent last year so we could get up on our feet. However, the baton is being passed now to US, ALL OF US to ensure that this parish not only continues to exist, but thrives AND GROWS and transforms downtown Seattle. That is why we are not just being asked to give, we are being asked to prayerfully commit to a gift of Treasure for the upcoming year.
Secondly: We’ve got big plans!! Many of us, over 100 of us…spent time discerning a mission, a vision for this parish. That process involved our hopes, dreams, ideas and plans for parish with a vibrant future. And we did not think small… just take a look at the beautiful poster on the wall outside… there is much to be done! Part of the reality of that process involves resources. Just like with everything in our lives, our hopes and dreams oftentimes come down to resources, can we do it? Can we afford it? It is my prayer that this parish will not only have the resources to maintain our presence in Downtown Seattle, but that in making our commitments, we send a powerful statement…one that says we want this to happen!!! YES< I want my commitment to show Father Paul and parish leadership that I support them on this journey.
Finally, we are all called to share of the gifts God has given us. Isn’t that what discipleship is really all about? It certainly is what today’s Gospel is all about. As Chuck spoke about last week, for some that means outward participation in the parish, for others, private behind the scenes acts of stewardship. Ours is a parish where every gift, large or small is acknowledged and welcomed and I am very proud of that fact. So for some of us, we can share of our Treasure in a way that others may not. Stewardship is meant to be proportional, each giving according to their means. So, In thinking about my commitment, I personally refer back to the biblical tithe and think about my giving as a percentage of my income. I do that so that I can see how my gift to the church compares to the other priorities in my life. I would ask that as you consider your gift, think about giving as a percent of your income.
So to close, I appreciate the opportunity to be with all of you in prayer during stewardship month. My fellow parishioners on the Finance Council and I have prepared an Annual Financial Report for you that is included today in the bulletin. This is our way of being accountable to all of you and we hope you find it informative as to the financial operations of the parish over the last year.