I want to personally thank Peggy and Darrel Miller, Jerry Armburst, Lloyd and Greg Keller, David Sherrif and Bryce Quarve. A big thank you to Bob Torrey. His work is still carrying on! We give deep thanks for the refinancing. We deep cleaned the sanctuary in 2020 and our roof is getting done right at this very moment. Yeah! Furnaces have been fixed. Bryce, Greg, and David have been re-wiring our speaker system. Patrick Kelly will build our worship tech station. We plan on planting a couple trees this spring in memory of Klayton Hanson and Gerald Manlove. We have accomplished a lot this past year with all the “things” we have had to deal with in 2020. I want to thank all that I have mentioned and our members for supporting us.
The traditional view of “stewardship” is a period each fall when a church asks its members to pledge for the upcoming year – to make a commitment to future giving of their offerings.
Our fall financial campaign took a different approach in 2020. Unable to safely gather at “cottage meetings” or in the blue Koinonia Room at church, we went virtual. The Stewardship team interviewed members, asking them about the pandemic: their initial concerns and their observations about our congregational response. These interviews were compiled into a 20-minute video shown at worship on September 20th, then posted on YouTube, Facebook and the church website. Our thanks to Emily Bentley (plus Cedar and Pearl), Bob Cola, Sharon Jones, Lloyd Kellar, Pastor Meggan Manlove, Kim Mills, and Steve VanAtter for their willingness to go on camera and share their stories. Here is the link, if you would like to take another look at this video:
In addition, we interviewed Paulette Blaseg and Sheila Anderson (Trinity Community Garden) and Tami McHugh (Trinity New Hope), asking how our ministry partners had fared during the pandemic. These interviews were made into a separate video, posted in the same places. Use this link for another look:
We followed these videos by mailing pledge cards to our members. We thank you for your overwhelming response to this new way of doing things!
The broader perspective on stewardship is this concept: Christians acknowledge that all we are and have are gifts from God. This acknowledgement permeates our daily decisions about how we use our time, what we do with our stuff, how we care for our bodies and our world, and how we share our giftedness (both within our church and in the world beyond the narthex doors.) Year-Round-Stewardship is how Trinity addresses this broader focus, and in 2020 we had:
January – Stewardship of Generosity – Emphasizing that we carry the tenets of our faith into our giving/volunteering outside the church, we conducted a survey and created a banner highlighting the 94 different causes in 13 separate categories supported by our members. That exercise revealed that we members donate our time and our money to so many other places outside the church!
February – Stewardship of How We Think about Resources (money, time, health, relationships) – do we view them as abundant or scarce? We had 47 responses to a survey, ranging from “scared to death” to “totally secure”. 9 surveys fell to the concerned side of the spectrum, with 38 falling on the more secure side.
March – Stewardship of Money – Our aim was to have people be a bit less automatic about how much money they give, and a fun way to do this was to ask them to “Mess with your Council Counters” by giving an odd amount. For example, give $27 instead of $25 or $11 instead of $10 or add 73 cents to your check. The target day was to have been March 15th, but at this point, the sanctuary was closed to in-person worship. However, 10 households did follow through with some very interesting checks.
April – Stewardship of Stuff – was intended to support the spring yard sale, but it was cancelled due to COVID. We encouraged people to clean garages and closets while “staying home”, to be ready for future donation opportunities.
May – Stewardship of Gratitude. Weekly challenges were posted on Facebook, asking people to identify things for which they are grateful. These included plants and animals (we got LOTS of pet pictures!), a sacred song or Bible verse or story, people in their lives, and something previously taken for granted (yes, toilet paper).
June – Stewardship of Your Brain – was another Facebook challenge focused on what people were doing to keep their brains healthy during the pandemic. Remember the lovely video of Marilyn Kirkness doing her art work?!
July – Stewardship of Habits – focused on the 2020 word-of-the-year change. We looked at how modifying our habitual way of doing things has made us sad, but also may have been a good thing at times.
August – Stewardship Means Helping Others – Being good stewards of our relationships includes sharing things that will enrich others’ lives, so we asked people to share the title of a favorite baseball movie, a creative strategy for dealing with the heat, a favorite summer dessert or homemade ice cream recipe, a favorite recipe for grilling, and a favorite fresh summer fruit or vegetable.
September – Stewardship of Finances – In addition to the fall financial campaign video and mailings, we also held a 3-session Adult Forum study called “No Catchy Slogans”, diving into the deeper meanings behind some oft-used stewardship slogans. Throughout the year, we encouraged continued giving by making sure return envelopes were included in monthly mailings from the church – and we THANK YOU for using those envelopes!
October – Stewardship of Time and Talent – We attempted to sign up volunteers by mail and got very little response, so we will revisit this concept after in-person worship resumes.
November – Stewardship of Creative Giving – covered alternate ways to give, including the new PayPal online giving button on the church website, the Endowment Fund, direct giving from IRAs, and other ways indicated in the new Gift Acceptance Policy approved by Church Council and now posted on the church website.
December 2020 – Stewardship of the True Meaning of Christmas – using Advent Conspiracy materials, we explored ways to Worship more Fully, Spend Less, Give More and Love All. This included a 3-session video discussion series on Zoom during Adult Forum, weekly handouts sent by email, and holiday “conversation topics” used at fellowship time.
We thank you for your support during two online fundraisers. Idaho Gives in April/May netted $2145, with nearly 50% of the donors and money donated by non-members. Avenues for Hope in December raising $24,200 through donations and “prizes” for our Trinity New Hope housing ministry! The generosity of our members and the community is overwhelming.
We sadly said goodbye to two key members of Stewardship team during 2020 – to Ruthann Sutton who moved to Yakima, WA, and to Bob Torrey who died this fall. We miss them so much, but remembering their words and examples inspires us to continue this important work.
Phil Cronk and Penelope Smith