My Dear Friends in Christ,
Each of our parishes is a local expression of the diocesan church. Each parish, whether it be in the Piedmont, on the coast, or a small rural mission is a vitally important part of the body of Christ. I have the joy and responsibility as bishop, of being the shepherd to all our local parishes, and as shepherd, I have the privilege of visiting our parishes for special events and experiencing firsthand the good work going on in each parish in the diocese.
As your bishop, I urge each of you to reflect and respond to the many needs within our diocesan church, as well as help meet pastoral needs that cannot be addressed by individual parishes. Since 1962, the Bishop’s Stewardship Appeal has provided a unique opportunity for all of us to give of ourselves sacrificially. Our baptismal journey calls us to place the Lord at the center of our lives and use everything we have as good stewards to build up his kingdom. This time each year more that 12,000 of our families have answered the Lord’s call to embrace stewardship as a way of life through their sacrificial support of the Bishop’s Stewardship Appeal.
What is stewardship? The American bishops suggest in their pastoral letter, “Stewardship: A Disciple’s Response,” that it is a life based on the Scriptures and the example of Jesus Christ. A steward is “[any] one who receives God’s gifts gratefully, cherishes and tends them in a responsible and accountable manner, shares them in justice and love with others, and returns them with increase to the Lord.” Stewardship is responsible management of our God-given resources of time, talent and treasure.
Sharing our financial resources is a sign of faith and one way to thank God for the many blessings we have received. I ask you to be as generous as possible toward this year’s appeal, remembering that God will not be outdone in His generosity. May the Lord bless you and those you love in a very special way.