Rooted in Abundance
Our stewardship theme at St. James for 2024 is Rooted in Abundance. We have been reflecting on all the ways God has truly blessed our parish abundantly. You will hear truly good news stories—gospel stories—about the ways God is working at St. James and in parishioners’ lives.
Making a Financial Commitment
At any time, you can find out how to get more deeply involved at St. James, and you can make your 2o23 financial commitment to St. James in one of three ways: by pledging online, or by downloading our 2024 Commitment Card, printing and returning it to the St. James Office, or by picking up a card at the parish office.
Stewardship isn’t just about money, of course. It begins with God’s first instruction to humankind in the opening chapter of Genesis—for us to be stewards of all creation. God has entrusted each of us with gifts to steward, gifts that are meant to be used to benefit others and the community of God. All we have—our time, energy, creativity, financial resources, and our life itself—is an abundant gift from God and God has entrusted us with all these things.
It’s not about what the church needs in order to do ministry, though our financial gifts do fund our mission and ministry. Stewardship is about our need to show our gratitude to God by returning a portion of what has been entrusted to us. It’s a spiritual practice, just like worship, prayer, study, pilgrimage, or service, that increases our awareness of God and helps us to be more open to God’s grace. It’s a part of the whole cycle of God’s grace: as we show our gratitude to God, we become even more aware of how much God has given to us, which makes us even more grateful.
Our Stewardship Team has several ways to help us in this practice of gratitude.
After completing the card, please mail it to the church office:
St. James Episcopal Church
766 N. Main Street
Read Parishioner Reflections on St. James’ Impact in Their Lives
"Trusting in God’s Generosity" by Elizabeth Henry
Why do you give?
Each person has their own reasons to give to their parish, and those reasons may change during their lifetimes. You may give because your parents nurtured that habit in you; perhaps giving makes you feel part of the parish community; maybe you give because you value the ministries and programs of St. James and want them to remain strong; or you are grateful to God for family, friends, health, and your life; perhaps your priorities have changed and you find more pleasure in giving than in some of the things that had previously been important to you; maybe you have learned to trust that God, who gave you all that you have, will make the portion you keep for yourself be an abundance.
Matt and I have given for all of those reasons at various points in our lives. When we had been working towards tithing for a few years, we realized our priorities had changed and our trust in God had grown. God seemed to make what we kept enough, no matter how much we increased our giving. We learned it is impossible to out-give God.
I encourage you, as you think about your financial commitment to St. James for 2024, to thank God for what you have been given, to think about why you are giving, and to trust that whatever you have, whether great or meager, can be an abundance if you trust in God’s generosity.
"Rooted in Abundance" by David Reese
John 10:10 — “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
This year’s theme of abundance is certainly appropriate for the people of St. James who reside in beautiful western North Carolina. Our natural resources of mountains, waterfalls, wildlife, plants and weather are evidence of God’s abundant creation. We have people from across the country with multiple gifts and talents who share this with the parish and the community.
St. James has deep roots of supporting our many outreach ministries, volunteering for local organizations and assisting those less fortunate or in need. Individuals often step up to contribute to special projects or major building efforts when a need was expressed. And, our clergy, office staff and lay leaders share the abundance of their lives of faith daily.
The success of last year’s stewardship campaign was and is an example of individuals and families reaching deeper into the abundance we all have and giving from the heart.
St. James indeed has been abundantly blessed, and I am confident that this year the deep roots of stewardship once again will produce an abundant harvest.
"Time, Talent, and Treasure" by Kim Taylor
As a lifelong Episcopalian the annual campaign of Stewardship evokes contemplative thought from a lifetime of church membership, attendance, worshiping and giving. My life in the church has always been with family and acquaintances that soon become friends. I will keep my thoughts focused on our time here at St. James. We moved to WNC in June of 2017. We were in temporary housing for 6 months while completing construction of our home. We found St. James in the fall of 2017 and quickly became fond of the worship services we were familiar with. (On the traditional side). In early 2018 I found the Carpenter’s Club and the WWC (Wednesday Work Crew) Ministry. Participating with these groups gave a feeling of rewarding volunteerism in a new community which I had not experienced.
Friendships developed quickly and I soon became involved in additional Ministries. As we all know the Pandemic brought many challenges. During 2020-21 the work we did in these Ministries brought abundant rewards to the St. James community and communities outside our parish. During this time, we are asked to discern our commitment in terms of our Time, Talent and Treasure. As you see my comments were about my Time and Talent, be assured our treasures are included. There is quite a bit more to this story however, I will finish with this simple notion. I am grateful for God giving me such wonderful guidance on my path of life, and I am especially grateful for God leading us to St James!
"Joyful Abundance" by Patricia Wearmouth
Many of you, just like my husband and me, know what it’s like to make a decision to leave a comfortable way of life with friends, work colleagues, and busy activities, and move to a different location and in essence—start over! After the hustle and bustle of getting re-established, the next phase involves getting connected. I think my love of being a resident of Hendersonville, NC began when we entered St. James church. At first, just the beauty of the building and the familiarity of the service were sufficient, But I (the person who loves early mornings when the world is still quiet and I can “just be”) came to realize that I also crave community.
How abundant our lives have been since we moved here 23 years ago. By volunteering at the Thursday Thrift Shop, being on the Flower Guild, and taking part in the Foyers groups, we have not only enlarged our circle of friends, but we’ve learned so much about people’s jobs, hobbies, and travels. As we share our stories with one another— our roots become deeply embedded. God’s presence in my life is heightened by smiles, hugs, phone calls, or just a nod to acknowledge a shared experience.
Over the past couple of years, various health issues sometimes limit physically attending St. James, but on the occasions when we are able to return, I am overcome with JOY (sometimes to the point of tears)!
I don’t know everyone by name, but worshipping with others and especially saying the prayers of the people fills me with a sense of peace and I realize how abundant my life is as part of the St. James community!
"Faith As Commitment" by Charles Nunez
Rhona and I were raised by parents who kept us close to church communities. She had a great-grandfather who was an Anglican priest in England and my father’s family were active Episcopalians. We began our life together raising our children as active members of our parish. She taught Sunday school and I sang in the choir.
In 1972, after hearing lay witnesses at a Faith Alive weekend at our church, we made the decision to draw our family closer to Christ by not only making our church community the center of our lives, but to put our money where our faith was. We committed ourselves to the tithe, the biblical 10 percent, as the base of our giving to the church. We removed wealth accumulation as a primary goal and replaced it with faith. Jesus has never failed us. All five of our children are successful parents and two have become priests. We are very blessed. Our hearts do go where our treasure goes. Try it! You will love it.
"Giving Through Mission Work" by Katharine & Larry Burge
We moved to Hendersonville in 2013. We visited several churches in the area, and even though St. James felt like the right church home, we initially thought it was too big, and we would get lost among all the other parishioners. But that was not the case. We discovered a very loving church where we could be of service in many areas. So we decided to give St. James a closer look for a few years, which has now become 10 wonderful, enriching years. We have told others looking at St. James that if you cannot find a mission, you’re not looking deep enough.
While being involved in mission work at St. James is certainly our number one priority, we recognize that we need to help keep the lights on, literally. So each year we prayerfully consider our financial commitment. And we’ve discovered that once you make that commitment, the rewards are overwhelming. This commitment is our way of giving back to God for the many blessings he has given us.
—Larry and Katharine Burge
"Abundance of Joyful Ministry" by Polly Feitzinger
One of my favorite hymns is “I sing a song to the saints of God…You can meet them in school, or in lanes or at sea, in church…” Since becoming a member of St. James this past year, I witnessed people who carry the message of being “Joyous saints who love to do Jesus’s will.’’
There is JOY in the music, in the sermons (not fire and brimstone messages!) and in the reaching out to a newcomer who clearly is an octogenarian. Joining a new church is “a leap of faith.” Fortunately, since I am a “Cradle Episcopalian,” I knew when to sit and when to rise! What was important was the sense of wanting to join what clearly appeared to be a vibrant, caring congregation.
A congregation that carries out the message of “welcoming all, loving all and serving all” is a church in which I want to be a part of and find ways to contribute both financially and with whatever gifts I may have. That it should take thirteen pages to list all of the ministries available at St. James shows that the church is “Rooted in Abundance!”
"Experience the Wealth of the Spirit" by Shirley Walsh
When I walk up to our beautiful church there is a sense of being, of belonging. I hear the bells and my heart is being called. When I enter the sanctuary I am transformed to the connection of the spirit. St. James is mine and I am one with St. James. Every church I’ve attended has been home and yet St. James is more. Can many people say going to church is exciting? The parishioners are alive with the spirit and match the sense of place. Sometimes I sit in my pew and not even study the themes of the stained glass windows but instead the beauty of the windows, the colors, the light behind them. Our windows were dedicated by former members of the church to beautify a place to worship and to glorify the Lord though beauty and art. I guess the windows are grand to a newcomer. After the grandeur fades, the beauty speaks to each person who enters this space.
As a 22 year member of St. James I have been spiritually fed, nurtured, and then cared for by our community in the death of my husband. Maybe my view of heaven is here at St. James…..we seek this place to receive all of God’s gifts. WE are abundantly reminded or CALLED to take our spirituality and share our gifts with others.
As I cherish St. James in my life I realize I am also called to share my treasure. I not only get great joy supporting the church but also our outreach ministries, the World Relief and Development and ministries in other countries. I am called to help Jenny McConnachie because she is our footprint in missions and she is doing God’s work for each of us. I get Joy in helping the orphaned girls at Our Little Roses in Honduras, to be part of rescuing children starving in the gutters and out of the sex slave trades. In visiting our sister churches in Cuba I saw the faith and joy amongst the abject poverty. I left Cuba knowing these Christians had the WEALTH of spirit. I felt a huge sense of joy AND I was the receiver of the spirit of our Christian sisters and brothers.
I look for the many places where I could give more financially. I find I am not lacking in my own comfort but banking much joy and satisfaction in serving the Lord and others.
I have extreme gratitude for this extraordinary life on earth. I know by choosing this historic church, it requires a great deal of financial stewardship. When individual projects or needs come up I look to see how much I can help. I have the mindset like I approach tipping…am I tipping 20 percent because it’s the standard or giving to show appreciation of someone’s service to me and sharing my bounty?