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Need for money often disguised


October 31, 2006
-by Al Rempel

Acts 4:32 a: Now the company of those who believed were of one heart and soul…

Winnipeg, Man. — Representatives of the Lutheran, Mennonite, Roman Catholic, Anglican, and United Church gathered on common ground here recently to reflect on the pastoral task of stewardship ministry.

The theme Giving to Need – Needing to Give drew 125 participants to the October 27-28, event planned by a six-member group who call themselves the Winnipeg Interchurch Stewardship Link (WISL). The group shares a common desire to walk in faith by broadening one another’s understanding of stewardship and fundraising as a ministry.

Keynote speaker Dr. Chris Levan challenged and engaged attendees by asking, “If you want money, why do you ask for prayer?” Fear of asking, he said, is often disguised as a prayer request.

Levan went on to share his strong belief in a need to attend to the ministry of fundraising by comparing it to hospital visitation How would parishioners feel, he asked, if the pastor went to the hospital door, opened it wide and loudly announced, “All of you who are sick, I trust that God will heal you.” The pastor then proceeds to leave, believing the task complete.

The ministry of fundraising is a pastoral care issue that needs the same care and attention as ministries like hospital visitation, said Levan, yet asking for money to support the work of the church has too often been reduced to an announcement.

WISL’s event was complemented by the Holy Spirit, remarked Dan Potvin, chair. “God’s Spirit was moving when we discovered that Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Winnipeg was holding an event on the theme of stewardship in the same venue on the same dates,” said Potvin. WISL was able to plan jointly with this group on how best to share an inadvertently double-booked facility and shared greetings at one another’s events. They will be joined by representatives of Ukrainian Catholic tradition at future events.

WISL was founded in 2002 when staff from several Winnipeg denominational offices met for an ecumenical prayer service. Over soup, the group compared ministries and realized that they were all involved in similar work. They continued to meet to share their similar challenges and successes.

Winnipeg Interchurch Stewardship Link (WISL) vision:

We can celebrate that together all Christians have the privilege of aligning with God’s grand plan for our world. All are created and called in this one body. An invitation is extended to come, to share our gifts and celebrate our faith. We hope to inspire and learn from one another on this journey of promoting stewardship as a “Way of Life.”