Christian Stewardship (Summer 1991)

Bishop Seraphim
Christian Stewardship
Letter from the Bishop's Desk
[Published in the "Canadian Orthodox Messenger", Summer 1991]

My dear brothers and sisters,

Christ is in our midst

As you can see from the Financial Task Force report [1991 financial situation of the archdiocese], stewardship is our prime focus of attention just now. We are considering our stewardship of money because all our giving in the Church from top to bottom in Canada has been based on the “head tax”. Unfortunately, as we all know, most of us would like to avoid taxes. True Christian stewardship, moreover, can never be understood in terms of taxation. It is instead the free offering back to God, a token of the totality that He has given us, beginning with our very life. It is hard to budget on the basis of free offering, but the result is the structure of the Church’s being, a tangible expression of the health of the interior life.

In the light of this approach to stewardship (which cannot be limited to money alone), each of us is not a member of a parish as one would be of a club but instead a member of a living community, the Body of Christ. This community is united in love with other communities under the bishop who in Christ embodies the unity of them all. The bishop is the father of a large family and not an administrator. The diocese and the bishop can be seen to be the same thing.

“What shall we offer You, O Christ ?” (Vespers of the Nativity of Christ) We can offer nothing less than everything and allow Him, Himself to bring into being the fruit of our offering. This is our dear Lord’s promise to us from Old Testament times in return for our living in obedience to His love. (Don’t forget what Saint Herman of Alaska said : “From this day forth, from this hour, from this minute, let us love God above all !”)