From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Stewardship summit develops strategies for changing time

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Wed, 12 Feb 2003 14:39:23 -0600

Feb. 12, 2003	     News media contact: Joretta Purdue7(202)
546-87227Washington	10-71B{072}

By United Methodist News Service* 

United Methodist leaders are charting a course to make stewardship a central
part of discipleship for church members.
"We need to put together again what we believe with how we live," said Gary
Moore, counsel to Ethical and Spiritual Investors. "There is a need for us to
reconnect the political economy, our personal finances and our stated

Moore was among the speakers at the Stewardship Summit, held Feb. 4-6 in
Atlanta. The event brought together more than 100 leaders from annual
(regional) conferences, general agencies, fund-raising organizations and the
denomination's Council of Bishops. The United Methodist Church Foundation,
affiliated with the church's finance agency, convened the event. The
foundation is a not-for-profit organization that raises and manages endowment
funds for official groups in the denomination. 

The summit was an important step forward in meeting the challenges faced by a
changing church, said Sandra Lackore, the denomination's treasurer and staff
head of the General Council on Finance and Administration. 

"Stewardship in the Wesleyan tradition includes not merely properly using
what we have, but also what we choose not to have in order for others to have
the necessities for living," said Bishop Kenneth L. Carder of Jackson, Miss.

Focusing on John Wesley's understanding of stewardship, Carder reminded the
group of nine components of the Wesleyan stewardship tradition. They include
acknowledging God as the source of all gifts, sharing in God's mission
through living, expressing love for God and neighbor through stewardship,
practicing economic justice, making personal and institutional responses to
the needs of others, choosing vocation, living simply, modeling of
stewardship by leaders and applying biblical critique to economic systems.

Lackore said the denomination's fiscal agency is listening to financial
concerns across the church and is "energized by the renewed commitment to
focus on personal giving as part of Christian discipleship as a core value of
our denomination."	 

In her address to the group at Ben Hill United Methodist Church, she offered
specific approaches for developing a shared vision of hope. They included
focusing on the church's primary mission of making disciples, emphasizing
channels of giving, working on process rather than program development, and
increasing cross-agency cooperation. The denomination's general agencies are
partners in ministry with the local churches and annual conferences, she

Bruce Birch, dean and professor of biblical theology at Wesley Theological
Seminary, stressed that the essential responsibility of Christians is to be
stewards of hope in a broken world.

A team from Africa University, the denomination's pan-African school in
Zimbabwe, offered insights on the global manifestation of financial
stewardship. Retired United Methodist missionary Dayton Edmonds provided
stories from the Native American tradition to focus understanding of how
stewardship is faithfully lived.

More information about the United Methodist Foundation is available at	

# # #

*Information for this story was provided by Steve Zekoff, an executive of the
United Methodist General Council on Finance and Administration in Evanston,

United Methodist News Service
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