[From Charlie Barebo] The Forward Life Planning Workshop, presented by Charles Cesaretti, Diana Marshall and Charlie Barebo, will be held on Saturday, May 22 at St. Luke's, Scranton. Although sponsored by the congregations in the Northern Tier, this workshop is open to all congregations in the Diocese of Bethlehem. Please note that registration and luncheon are free. However, for planning please call Ely Valentin, 610-691-5655 x 222, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. The program has both pastoral (PB, pg. 445), as well as institutional implications, since many of our congregations have benefited through the planned gifts of former parishioners to the parish's Endowment Fund. Download the pdf file below.
The feast of St. Matthews was September 21. Matthew
was a tax collector when Jesus called him to be a disciple. In those days, tax
collectors were despised. But rather than looking down on them, Jesus took time
to share a meal with those whom the world had rejected. This act made an
impression on the Pharisees and they criticized Jesus. That gave Jesus an
opportunity to define the nature of his ministry: “I have come to call not the
righteous but the sinners.” It is easy to dine with those of good standing or
high reputation. But they are not the ones who need to know that God loves and
Bishop Paul created the Saint Matthews Society as a vehicle
for recognition of those who had made large gifts or provisions for such gifts
in their estate planning. Bishop Paul’s intent was the gifts would be directed
to the donor’s home parish. To support the creation and recognition of such
gifts Bishop created the staff position of Missioner for Development and the
Saint Matthew’s Steering Committee. Our original steering committee included
some of the real movers and shakers in the diocese. Char Horst, parishioner of
St. Barnabas in Kutztown and a lawyer, helped mold the steering committee into
a cohesive unit. In the first two years of existence over 100 individual gifts
to local parishes were created and identified.
Today ongoing St. Matthew’s programs are operating in half a
dozen parishes in the diocese. Over 125 potential gifts have been identified.
Roughly 12 local parishes have realized gifts. These gifts have provided the
means to fund the purchase of vestments, bibles, chalices, crosses, building
renovations, made buildings handicap accessible and funded outreach. In some
isolated incidents they have funded routine operational expenses for parishes
experiencing financial duress. During this economic downturn roughly 35% of the
parishes in the diocese are expending principle from their DIT accounts to fund
operations. While endowments are never a replacement for stewardship they can
help bridge the gap during a period of short- term crisis.
This year changes are afoot in our St. Matthew’s program.
Char Horst resigned her position in March. Bishop Paul called me to become our
new Missioner for Development on June 1. As a matter of my personal
discipleship I am doing this work for no monetary compensation. I used to work
for silver, now I work for life. Parts of my responsibilities are to breathe
new life into the Saint Matthew’s program.
We are starting by creating regional pods of St. Matthews.
Ultimately we will have six pods. This year we are blessed that Father Charles
Cesaretti has agreed to help organize our first pod in the Northern Tier. This
will entail recruiting and motivating the clergy and a key lay person in each
church. Each Vestry should adopt resolutions that provide for overseeing
endowments if one is not already in place. A regional Will’s Workshop in the
Northern Tier, one adult forum in each church, developing a parish specific
booklet that guides a parishioner through the steps taken should a loved one
pass, and creating a vehicle for ongoing communications are part of our plan.
By 2014 we will have created the opportunity for every viable church in the
Diocese to create their own St. Matthew’s program. Any parish interested in
starting or re-invigorating their existing program can call me at 610-509-8767.
We can start now!
We have all rested in the shade of trees that were planted
by those who went before us. Let us insure we are planting trees for those who