A Stewardship Story

posted Nov 11, 2022, 6:03 AM by Tricia Sheffield

Dear Middletown Reformed Church Family and Friends,

Grace and peace to you in this season of Ordinary Time!

This Sunday is Stewardship Sunday, and instead of hearing from me words I would normally write at this time, I invited MRC member and Co-treasurer Cindy Reya to share her stewardship story with you all.

Forty years ago, when our son was only 4, I began the search for a church with a wonderful Sunday School. While Lloyd and I both had attended church for many years when younger, we had slipped away during our years as young adults. Fortunately, our best friends had three boys who had attended MRC Sunday School and were very happy with it. One day I stopped by MRC when Steve was in school and found the pastor’s wife Linda Coventry.  She was home for lunch from her full time job and took the time to give me a tour of the “campus” including the beautiful education building. I was sold!

A wonderful relationship developed between us and the church as I went on to serve on Consistory several times, type bulletins on the old mimeograph paper and run off on the mimeograph machine in the janitor’s closet. Somehow I found myself as treasurer and vice-president over the years. In the beginning, I didn’t understand anything about stewardship. When I went to church, I looked at my $5 donation as sort of an admission fee. If I attended, I came up with the “fee” and if I didn’t, I got to keep the “fee,” thinking I could go out to lunch with it, buy a book or a toy, many options. At the time, $5 was all we could afford. When Rev. Coventry talked about donations, I sort of tuned out.  Fortunately as time went on, we were able to increase our "fee" each week and were able to pay it even on Sundays when we were not there. It took a long time to understand that all those expenses continue whether we are there or not. Now I hear Pastor Trish  talk about the electric and gas bills, and I listen a lot harder. Part of my job as Co-treasurer now is to pay all the bills. Believe it or not, there are more now than when I first came to MRC. In addition to electric and gas, there is snow plowing, grass mowing, insurance bills, denominational assessments on every member, copy machine, salaries and benefits, and internet service for all three buildings. There are also constant repairs on three old buildings. Yes, even the education building is getting old.  

I’ve learned not to look at my donations as a “fee” but something I am happy and proud to do for our wonderful church. Everyone here is so very generous, and your generosity makes my job much easier. Thank you all for your monetary donations and your volunteer time over the years. There are many ways to donate. Blessings to you all as we plan for 2023!

Thank you, Cindy, for such an inspiring story! And allow me to echo her thankfulness for your continued generosity to the ministries of God’s church. 

Come to church in person or on Facebook live this Twenty-third Sunday after Pentecost to worship a God who calls us to live generously. Tom Martucci will be leading us in music and song. I am preaching from Isaiah 65.17-25 and my sermon title is Living Generously.

I give thanks for you everyday as you inspire me to live generously!

In gratitude for the privilege of being your pastor and the holy call of loving you,

Pastor Trish