A Stewardship Reflection

When I crossed the threshold of St. Nick for the first time, more than 10 years ago, I felt a bit like a lost soul. I had been an active member of Roman Catholic parishes for most of my life, and my faith had grown and deepened within that faith community. But I knew I could no longer accept the increasingly exclusive policies coming from the Vatican – no matter how progressive my local church might be. The final straw was a document essentially saying non-Christians may not be welcome in heaven. Having married into a Jewish family, with a loving father-in-law who lost most of his relatives in the Holocaust, and a husband who supported the decision to raise our children Catholic, that was something I could never swallow.


And so, with a heavy heart, I left what I knew and had loved, and came to St. Nicholas, hoping to find a new spiritual home with similar beliefs about God, and far more loving beliefs about all of God’s children. I did find this, but was surprised by just how much more I found.


I had felt very much alone in my previous church once my children were old enough to decide not to attend church anymore. I have never felt alone at St. Nicholas. The most important surprise was that my son and daughter-in-law felt this was a church they could be confident would support the values they wanted their children to learn – and so I could take Rose, and then Molly when she arrived, with me to St. Nick where we could worship together and I could share my faith with them. And Steve, for the first time in our marriage, became an active participant in church activities.


The conversations sparked by the topics we’ve covered in the discussion and book groups have opened doors I’m not sure would have been otherwise opened. But even when I come alone, I am surrounded by people I’ve grown to love, and the experience of God’s presence is heightened by sharing the liturgy with them.

This is what St. Nicholas means to me.


And stewardship? Because St. Nicholas is the home where my faith family dwells, I think about stewardship the way I think about supporting my family home. Home is where we gather, where each person is nurtured, where God is worshiped and God’s love is shared. It’s where we talk of what matters most to us, explore the depths of our experiences, discuss – and debate – what we believe. It takes hard work and financial support to make a home the place where all this happens. Making sure that we keep our home lit and warm and in good repair, that we keep our family fed and nurtured and healthy, and beyond the basics, that we provide for our family’s development and enrichment, and for a better life for those beyond our doors… we do this without question because we do it out of love, and we celebrate the results of what we’ve helped to create.


When asked by the crowd which was the greatest commandment, Jesus said all the laws and commandments come down to just one: “Love your God with all your heart; and love your neighbor as yourself.” St. Nicholas is where I find this message being lived. And I want to do whatever I can to keep that experience alive for my immediate family and my faith family. This is what stewardship at St. Nicholas means to me. — Val Gruenwald

via News from St. Nicholas Episcopal Church

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