Good morning. I am Steve Kadar, and I have been asked to talk to your today about Stewardship.
I joined UUFP in September, 2006. I want to share a story most of you do not know about my earliest days here.
One Sunday, I walked into the sanctuary, turned to my left, looked out toward the “back yard” and saw something that just threw me. It was a piece of “Lexan” with nasty yellow streaking where a piece of glass once was. I actually said to someone: “What's the deal with that?” And I was told that was a temporary fix until the glass could be replaced. The church had an estimate (someone gave me a copy), but no one had any idea when the work would be done. Over time, since no new glass was installed, I assumed that they needed the money, so I wrote a check to cover some costs for the replacement.
Being a part fosters a belonging, and as soon as we bring our heart and soul into it, we begin to practice Stewardship, be it in our physical space or how we look out for each other outside our walls.
Shortly afterwards, Mason Moseley (whom I knew from my earliest days as a UU back in Richmond) wrote an article calling out what I did and asked for donations for “Steve's window.” He also gave money toward it, and some others gave money to replace the window. I was told “It’s what is in the budget...," and special donations for the repair were not necessary. However, a short time after my donation, that nasty looking “Lexan” was replaced with glass. To this day, when am I in the sanctuary (which I have not been in for some time), I will look out "my" window at our back yard, feeling good that at least I “moved the ball down the field” enough to help get that taken care of.
Now, you might be asking: “What does replacing a window almost 15 years ago have to do with anything today?” The answer is everything. As soon as I felt a personal responsibility to take care of a building, in a church I just joined where I knew hardly anybody, I began to practice Stewardship. Over time I would offer donations for replacement hymnals damaged by mold, to replace the roof, help with the flood damage, and so on. Other donations big and small have been given over time as well from Christmas ornaments to the vacuum cleaner currently in our office building. And for those of you that do not know me, I have been on and have served in many other ways at UUFP, not involving dollars and cents, but with time on committees, starting two support groups and other smaller ways, less about “bricks and mortar” but more about people and creating a supportive community for everyone. And even as our building is closed, I continue to serve in a stewardship role as part of the real estate task force in the search of our new home for UUFP. I give this task the same amount of personal care I would give to my own home, because it is our home. I also serve on the Policy Board, and Membership Committee, something I did when I first joined UUFP many years ago.
As we all know (and have re-learned this past year), our church (excuse me, our Fellowship) is not just its physical plant; its all of us. Being a part fosters a belonging, and as soon as we bring our heart and soul into it, we begin to practice Stewardship, be it in our physical space or how we look out for each other outside our walls. So at this time when UUFP is firming up out current financial needs, consider if your heart is invested in the care of what we have here. Do not think of your pledge as just a “donation”—you could give just a “donation” to the hundreds of charities that seem to ask for money daily. Think of what you are doing as taking care of something of value to you, in other words, to practice “stewardship”.