Temple Talk - 10/29/23
The stewardship theme this year is “The Fabric of SMT". As a long-time quilter and fabric lover, this theme was right up my alley. Rick and I moved to Hoboken in April 2022 to help with our new granddaughter, Laney, who was baptized here. We had been very involved in our congregational life at Salem Lutheran in Stillwater, OK, for 24 years and we knew that we would only be in Hoboken for one year. We wanted to do more than just do “FaceTime” worship so we started attending St. Matthew Trinity. I would say that we intended to just be a loose thread in the Fabric of SMT. Totally come and go! We were babysitting 30 hours per week with Laney so we weren’t looking for more to do.
But what happened? First of all, I would say that Pr. Gary’s preaching was so in tune with what we felt and believed and what the world needs to hear. Second, our longstanding habit of getting involved in church kicked in. We’ve lived in ten different states now, and our church has always been where we became involved and where we would find our family. So slowly, we started to feel woven into the fabric of SMT. Then we moved to the east side of Manhattan in June 2023. Now I grew up across the street from my church, and I am just not a good commuter, but we grew to love the people here and your commitment to helping others. Consequently, we don’t want to be totally unwoven from St. Matthew Trinity’s fabric and plan to continue to support the ministry and attend occasionally.
I grew up with parents who were very involved in the life of the church. They were a great example of being involved and doing simple things like introducing themselves to visitors. When we got married and moved to Berkeley, CA, the first thing we did was get involved at University Lutheran Chapel. I became the treasurer four months after we joined, and later council president. We learned that being involved was the way to truly feeling at home in the church and to get to know other members of the congregation. Working together was fun! As we got involved, we could see how each person brought their own gifts and talents to the life of the church and how we could contribute.
Scrap quilts are my favorite, and they use many different fabrics. One rule of quilting is that you need some bright fabrics and some deep dark fabric to make the quilt sing! In a congregation you also need a wide variety of gifts. Each person enriches the life of the church. As in many things in life, “The more you put in, the more you will get out.” This has certainly been true for us.
Stewardship involves the best use of your time and your money. I was financial secretary for 6 years at Salem, and I’ve been on different church councils so I am aware of what it takes to keep a healthy congregation going. It’s more important than ever to have churches where the Gospel is preached and lived out. Your council needs to know what they have to work with for the coming year so I encourage you to make a pledge and to consider if you can increase your giving. As you plan your quilt square, you can visualize your part in SMT and consider getting more involved. Your participation brings life to the fabric of this congregation. Thank you!