For your heart will always be where your riches are.
— Luke 12:34
Growing Healthy Stewards (GHS) is a year-round stewardship education program for parishes. Its coaches work with parishes to make them sustainable, hopeful and positive.
GHS isn’t a one-time event but a process and range of activities over time. You can discover and deploy the valuable resources you already have, and build on the time, talent and treasurer of your members to create a vibrant and healthy parish.
What makes the difference?
- It’s tested – based on practices you can learn and follow
- It’s coached – an experienced facilitator will be at your side to encourage and help
- It provides resources – ways to move forward in a positive direction
Growing Healthy Stewards is full of resources. Each participating parish receives a binder with sections for all components of the program – including charts and position descriptions, a year-round calendar, evaluations, how-to instructions, templates and forms, and much more. Here’s a brief sample of some of the topics:
Forming a team
Throughout the history of the Christian faith, ordinary people have accomplished extraordinary things. GHS helps you structure your group and gives guidance around the roles members will play. Teams vary in size and roles and address the needs of your parish.
Seeing where you are
Team members can answer a simple questionnaire about their personal and parish stewardship and compare notes. This initial group picture gives a baseline and point of departure for your new journey.
Telling your story
Annual parish vestries often distribute reports highlighting merely facts and figures. GHS helps you understand and present the story of what God is doing in your community in new and compelling ways.
Time and money
Acquiring donations of time, talent and treasure requires careful planning and implementation. These efforts are ongoing in terms of both responsibilities and opportunities. GHS will help you organize throughout the year, relieving the pressure of working in crisis mode.
You don’t have to do it alone. Every parish that commits to GHS is paired with an experienced lay volunteer with a proven track record of leading stewardship initiatives in their own parish. They know the process and what works – and more importantly, what doesn’t. Coaches will undertake the journey with you over time.
Over the course of the program, your team can expect to meet with the coach on a regular basis (every two months or so) and at extra times when you need it. Coaches will cheer you up when you get discouraged, help you choose the options that are right for you, and help you evaluate your progress and plan for your future.
Coaches are learners too. They meet regularly with their volunteer colleagues to share plans and resources. They also participate in national stewardship gatherings and other forms of continuing education.
In the past five years, GHS has helped 75 parishes in the Diocese implement stewardship education programs. These range from parishes participating over five years or more to others joining for the first time in 2018.
Parishes emerge from the program with renewed energy and hope over time. They form disciples who have a new sense of their role in contributing their time, talents and treasure to all aspects of parish life and have the ability to use their resources to reach out to their neighborhood and beyond.
These parishes have participated in the program for five years or more and watched their efforts have an impact on the communities they serve.
- All Saints Whitby increased its offertory giving by 39% in three years, allowing them to extend their ministry
- 92% of St. Dunstan of Canterbury parishioners pledge their time, talent and treasure
- St. Margaret, New Toronto was delighted with a balanced budget and new community support
- St. Timothy, North Toronto linked its parish members through a relay and built community in new ways
- St. Paul, Newmarket not only supports itself well but reaches out to the families of York Region
Ever wondered how to ask for a major gift? Mary Lynne Stewart is going to show us. Mary Lynne is a member a volunteer at Church of the Resurrection in East York and a stewardship education coach helping congregations in Toronto. Her video presents role play on how to ask for $5,000. Mary Lynne introduces the need for a case support and talks about developing rapport, focusing on ministry and connecting the interests of the donor with the needs of the church.
Andrew Duncanson is a parishioner at Grace Church on-the-Hill and a stewardship education coach helping congregations in Toronto. This video explores the differences between a line-item budget typically presented at vestry and one that outlines ministry in narrative form. The narrative budget is a versatile tool used to explain how giving through the church funds programs and ministry in support of God’s mission.
Gordon Longman, ODT is a parishioner at St. Thomas, Brooklin and a stewardship education coach helping congregations across the Diocese. Interested in learning how parishes have weathered the pandemic? Gordon covers the importance of regular communication with members of the church, websites, pre-authorized giving enrollment, online worship and how to encourage generosity during services.
Joy Packham, ODT is a parishioner at St. Margaret, Barrie and a stewardship education coach helping congregations in York-Simcoe. In this video, Joy presents the benefits of pre-authorized giving, including the theology of giving of our first fruits. She includes information on how churches can enroll in the program through the United Church of Canada.
Eleanor Stevenson, ODT is a parishioner at All Saints, Whitby and a stewardship education coach helping congregations in Trent-Durham. Eleanor is a volunteer beyond most – active in church, community and health care. Her commitment to the not-for-profit sector has been recognized widely, and in 2019 she was awarded the Town of Whitby’s Volunteer of the Year award. In this video, Eleanor shares some of the opportunities available in the church and how each one of us can make a difference by giving of our time and talent.
Mary Pember, ODT is a parishioner at St. Timothy, North Toronto and a stewardship education coach helping congregations in the Diocese. Like many of our coaches, Mary has first-hand experience introducing year-round stewardship education in her parish. This video explores the benefits of Growing Healthy Stewards. More than 45 parishes have participated in this program and are among the healthiest in the Diocese.
The Rt. Rev. Michele Pollesel is the retired Bishop of Uruguay and a former Secretary General of the Anglican Church of Canada. Bishop Michele is a passionate advocate of generous giving and living. This short video explores what is means to be a good steward and departs from our usual understanding of its focus on money and service to the Church.
Get in touch
Call or send an email to arrange a meeting, join the program or learn more. We’ll arrange to meet at a time and location that works for you.
You can reach the Stewardship Development staff at 416-363-6021 (1-800-668-8932) or by email: