Good afternoon, my name is Will Whelan and I am a life-long parishioner of OLOG. Some of you may recognize me as a Lector but I am also a Trustee, a member of the Finance Council, the Peace and Social Justice Committee and also part of the RCIA team.
I have been asked to speak about my experience with Stewardship. As I thought about what I might say I was reminded of how my idea of what stewardship is and should be was formed.
I realized I developed my thoughts about Stewardship initially by observing my Parents. They were founding members of OLOG and like many others, gave selflessly of their time, talent and treasure to help build a community of Jesus’ disciples. In the early years with the expenses of a new house and with 11 children they didn’t have much to give, yet they still always managed to be generous with their time and treasure. Later in their lives they were afforded the opportunity to give more because they had more. With grateful hearts they would be especially generous this time of year. Making sure families had a complete meal for Thanksgiving and some gifts under the tree for Christmas. And they never forgot to include the Church in their weekly gifts throughout the years.
Secondly, your generosity throughout the years also helped form my ideas on stewardship. Building the Church and modifying it over the years to make it more accessible to all and your continued support of our mission. Most recently your sacrifices made it possible for us to repaint the interior of the Church and make the Reconciliation rooms wheelchair accessible. All your gifts of time, talent and treasure that allows us to do all God’s work here in West Babylon. Your willingness to always share your gifts reminds me that community should be at the center of good Stewardship.
In my ministries here at OLOG I have been witness to all the good that we do. From teaching our faith to our children and inquiring adults, to helping those in need and responding to crises in the local or world communities and in our worship together. I want that good work to continue.
I know that I have received many blessings from the Lord and because of my witness to you, the Church and my parents being good stewards of your gifts I took steps to share my time, talent and treasure too. So when OLOG discussed Stewardship and tithing as a way of life some years ago; I took action. I registered as a parishioner and started weekly giving through envelopes. My goal was to try to tithe (That is to give 10% of what I earn to charity). I decided that I would try to give 5% to OLOG and 5% to all other charitable enterprises. It was hard to do. I really didn’t like parting with my money. But I recalled how my parents and you too gave even though you may not have liked parting with your treasure.
In recent years my wife and I have started giving electronically to OLOG and also yearly to our favorite charities in our goal of Tithing. I thought we were doing well. We were discussing the recent mailing of Stewardship renewal that we received from OLOG. In it was a tithing chart and Concetta determined that we gave less than 3% to OLOG and less than 2% to others. I was sure there must have been a mistake then we realized that we had not included Concetta’s income in the equation. I was still working on the numbers from when I was single.
Since we were able to take a further step we decided to immediately increase our weekly gift to OLOG by an appropriate amount to bring us closer to our 5% goal. And we will bring our other charitable giving levels inline to reach our goal of being a tithing family.
This is the time of year that we reflect on the many things we are thankful for. I am thankful for the example given to me on how to be a good steward of the many gifts I have received. I am thankful too for the ability to share those gifts with our Church and others in the hope of brining God’s kingdom here and now.
I pray that I may be a good example for others that they may learn to be good stewards of their time, talent and treasure and that I may always remember that these gifts we given to share with others; just as you and my parents were a good example for me.