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From Our Bishops

Letter to the Diocese from Bishop Andrew

Dear Friends,

Earlier this year, I was pleased to offer a weekly online lunch-time series called “Tending the Soul” – an opportunity for me to chat with a panel of Anglicans on a variety of topics, with viewers participating through the chat function. I really enjoyed myself, and I know that Bishop Riscylla and Bishop Kevin, who each hosted a couple of weeks themselves, did as well.

I’m returning to that format again starting next Tuesday, Nov. 1 at noon, for a new short three-week series focusing on the themes of generosity and stewardship. “Tending the Soul of the Steward” will give us all the opportunity to think about why stewardship is important, and to learn from the experience of clergy and lay leaders who have championed stewardship education.

This conversation is timely, given the experience of most parishes during the pandemic: reduced attendance, fewer givers, increased anxiety, economic instability, and a more complex work environment. A great deal has changed in the last two years, so it’s helpful to be aware of the resources available to assist parishes during this liminal time.

Our first session focuses on the basics: What is stewardship? What does the bible say about giving? How do we live our Christian discipleship? How can we encourage everyone to be a giver? Why is there a reluctance to talk about money in the Church? Joining me for this discussion will be David Toycen, ODT (Trinity, Streetsville), Susan Graham Walker, ODT (Redeemer, Bloor St.) and the Rev. Eileen Steele (Parish of Penetanguishene and Waubaushene).

How we implement a year-round stewardship education program is the focus of our second session on Nov. 8. That week, we’ll explore: Why does the Church need money? How do we encourage pledging? How do we invite newcomers to give? Expertise will be gleaned from Martha Whittaker (Christ Church, Brampton), Martha Drake (St. Olave, Swansea) and Mary Pember, ODT (St. Timothy, North Toronto).

The final segment on Nov. 15 will respond to very specific and practical questions, including: What is the value and importance of first fruits giving? Why is the offertory still important? How can we ask during a virtual service? Why is it important to make a will? Our three panelists are Joycelyn Williams, ODT (St. Margaret in-the-Pines), the Rev. Canon Brad Smith (St. John the Evangelist, Peterborough) and Mary Lynne Stewart (Church of the Resurrection).

These three conversations will provide a wealth of information. You can join us via the diocesan Facebook page and YouTube channel. You’ll be able to ask your own questions during each session, which will be moderated by Peter Misiaszek, our director of Stewardship Development.

This might be the best opportunity you’ll have to explore why stewardship is so important to the work of the Church. Please join me and our gifted speakers as we have a comprehensive conversation about responding in gratitude for all God’s good gifts that we have received.

Yours in Christ,

The Rt. Rev. Andrew Asbil
Bishop of Toronto