“I chose you and appointed you
that you should go and bear fruit.” – John 15:16
2013 Christian Stewardship
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
Why do bad things happen to good people?
Many are asking this nowadays: Why must a successful businessman of twenty years close up shop? Why do graduates struggle to find jobs? Why are senior citizens now squeezed financially? Why do natural disasters strike and cause so much damage?
Anyone who tells you they have the absolute answers to these complex questions would be lying. Human troubles are not something to be speculated about casually. Suffering is part of this fallen world. But suffering can have the power to push the human spirit into exploring questions of meaning and purpose. It is generally during the hard times when we begin to
ask “What is God thinking?” This is the first step to deepen self-knowledge and to awareness of higher realities.
Time for a new Job
One of the great figures of the Old Testament is the righteous prophet Job. Job suffered terrible things: financial loss, loss of health and of reputation, and the loss of loved ones. Several friends attempted to comfort Job by explaining why these bad things happened. Their words didn’t sooth at all but stung him like salt added to an open wound. Job rejected their pat answers and deeply desired that the Lord explain Himself.
Through his patients, Job experiences God directly and this changes him. (Job 42:1-6). It alters his entire outlook on life. His
values are enhanced and he can truly comprehend what is important in life. The experience changes Job’s sense of who he is, in a way that goes beyond the power of words to explain. Suffering can be a defining event. Through those painful events, something in Job died and was born anew unto God.
This is just how Jesus Christ speaks of suffering in His famous Parable of the Vine in John 15. “I am the vine, and my Father is
the gardener. He cuts off every branch that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, so that it will be more fruitful.”
Pruning makes the plant put its energy into bearing fruit. In the end, it is the pruned plant which accomplishes the gardener’s
plans by producing fruit.
We as Orthodox Christians are branches on the grapevine that is Jesus Christ. Which branches have it the easiest? The ones that bear fruit or the ones that just soaking up sun and rain, but yielding only leaves? Jesus tells us that the pruning happens to the good and best branches.
Why do bad things happen to nice Christian people? Sometimes it is to allow for a reassessment of values and purpose so that they can become even more fruitful for God. So it was for the prophet Job in ancient times, and so may it be for us today.
Sweet Wine…Not Bitter Whining
The fruit of Stewardship is sweet for it allows each of us to utilize our God-given talent for the promotion of Christ’s Gospel. It
allows us to share financial resources with something that is truly greater than the self – His Church.
The Holy Trinity Operating Budget for the calendar year 2013 will be $730,000. The budget anticipates that our Stewardship giving should support all Parish Ministries and the entire operating budget.
2013 STEWARDSHIP BUDGET
$730,000 or just $25/week…that’s $1,250 annually.
We should not depend on special events to meet our budget, for this is our personal responsibility. Stewardship places the responsibility on us, for we are the recipients of God’s gifts and play an active role in perpetuating Christ’s work of salvation.
The budget anticipates that our Stewardship giving will support all Parish Ministries and the entire operation budget. It also places the responsibility of caring for this parish on the shoulders of the faithful. The Operating Budget calculates that each
family should give $1,250 annually or just $25/week. Each of us must play an active role in perpetuating Christ’s work of salvation.
The quality of service as a Parish, Metropolis, and Archdiocese depends directly on the level of your support.
The expenses of our Parish are used to continue these vital ministries:
Worship and Ministry…….…$102,000
Keeping in Touch With You….$87,800
Maintaining our Buildings…….$50,000
Those Who Serve Us……..…$381,000
Should I Increase My Stewardship For 2013?
In making this decision, one should keep in mind that the expenses of our Parish and the Church increase every year. In order to grow our ministries and meet our expenses, each Steward should strive to increase his or her pledge annually.
Private & Confidential
Your Stewardship Pledge is kept in confidence by your priest. Jesus taught that our giving should be done quietly, generously and out of sight of others. If you wish to revise your pledge during the year for any reason, you may send a note to the parish priest indicating your intentions.
You may remit your pledge in the manner that suits you best. Since small regular contributions are easier to manage, it is suggested that your contribution be made on a weekly basis. “On the first day of every week (Sunday), each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income.” (1Corinthians 16:2)
Orthodox Christians who wish to become parishioners in good standing in our Parish may become Stewards of Holy Trinity by making a Stewardship Pledge for the current year. We welcome you to become a member and participant in the sacramental life of the church. Please call the church office for more information: 908.233.8533.