2019 Annual Stewardship
Giving with Gladness: All Things Come of Thee, O Lord
A Testimonial from Jim and Sarah Ann Ezzell
I’ve been an Episcopalian all my life and most of it as a communicant here at St. George’s. My father was one of the original group that moved from the downtown church and helped found St. George’s in its present location. I can remember the nave being the current Hampton Hall and sitting in the pews with my parents; and I remember my dad’s best friend, John Ball, singing out of key (loudly and with great gusto!) from the choir balcony and giggling to the point my mother would elbow me to be quiet.
The circle goes unbroken: I can’t tell you what a joy it is for Sarah Ann and me to see the expression of wonderment on our 3-year old grandson’s face when our daughter and son-in-law carry him to the altar for the eucharist as the priest reaches down and blesses him. All in the same church that brings back such fond childhood memories.
Another early remembrance of my childhood was that, every Sunday, my father would hand me a pledge envelope with my name on it and give me a dollar to put in it and I would dutifully and obediently drop it in the offering plate as it was passed down the pew.
I’ve heard the above liturgical phrase a thousand times while obediently standing in the pew during the offering. The words tended to roll off my lips in rote memory. It really wasn’t until I began ushering at the 7:30am service that the words began to have real meaning to me. Perhaps it was because, as an usher, I had become actively involved in the service. As ushers, we collect the offerings and hand the offering plates to the priest who then turns and presents the offerings at the altar and says: “All things come of thee, O Lord.” And we respond in unison: “And of thine own have we given thee.” These words began to have meaning to me.
You might ask: What does this have to do with stewardship? I would respond that through the grace of the Holy Spirit, we all are blessed with our own, unique gifts and talents; and we are empowered as Christians to use those unique gifts and talents for the benefit of others and for the benefit of the “community” around us – “All things come of thee, O Lord.”
I would argue that Christian stewardship is the acknowledgement that everything we have has been provided to us by God for our mortal time while here on earth. I confess that, for many years at St. George’s, I pledged because I thought it was just something that was expected by the church (or, more importantly, expected by my father). However, I’ve come to appreciate that, like the dollar bill my father would hand me to stuff into my pledge envelope, it’s not the amount of the pledge that counts but the intent. I would now argue that the actual signing of your name on the pledge card is an outward and tangible act whereby you are acknowledging to God that “All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.”
My appeal in this testimonial is directed primarily to those members of the St. George’s community that don’t pledge for whatever reason. My prayer is that you will feel motivated to tangibly acknowledge to God through your signature on a pledge card that you recognize that “All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we have given thee.” The amount is not the important act.
And I pray that all of us use our God-given gifts and talents to provide the breath needed to sustain this wonderful living church we call St. George’s.
Sarah Ann and Jim Ezzell have been members of St. George’s for more than 25 years. Their daughter, Ann Williford, M.D., son-in-law, Battle Williford, and grandchildren Battle Jr. and Sophie also worship at St. George’s. Their son, Charlie Ezzell, is in the military and is included on our prayer list when he is deployed overseas. Charlie, his wife Cayce, and daughter Camden live in Baltimore.
Please think about the blessings in your own life, and consider giving back a portion of what God has so generously given to you. Follow the links below to pledge now.
A Message from Your Stewardship Chairs
Karlen and Louis Garrard
Pledging is vital to the life of the church. As leaders of the Stewardship Committee, we want to emphasize the message that pledging allows St. George’s to budget for its operation: to provide salaries for our devoted clergy and staff, to fund our programming, to care for our facility, and to support our outreach ministries. We hope to all work together to help continue our commitment to God’s work. We’re excited to have the opportunity to give back and we hope that you will join us.