Many months ago, Father Jacob and I began a conversation about stewardship and all its many meanings. Because we have known each other since my days as Director of Advancement at The Choir School, it was a conversation between friends, about gifts and giving, and the meaning that exists when faith and fundraising come together. Our talks led me to Henri Nouwen, and his slender and thought-provoking A Spirituality of Fundraising. I began to connect with others in the development field who have felt a call to serve communities of faith instead of institutions. I began to see in a new way how stewardship includes how we spend our time, how we invest our money, how we treat the environment.
In short, Father Jacob gave me a lot to think about.
At the time, I was deeply involved in a project to raise $25MM for an arts center in North Mecklenburg County, but as that project came to an end for me, my conversations with Father Jacob became an invitation—a call to join the community of St. Peter’s and a challenge to turn ideas into ministry.
As I begin my role as Director of Stewardship at St. Peter’s, I’ve had a chance to look back at your long history. I’m struck by your tradition of generosity. From its earliest days, this parish has steadfastly built a legacy of giving—giving in every way to support programs, worship, music, and the broader community. In recent meetings, I hear again and again about leaning in to hear God’s voice, answering God’s call, and setting aspirational goals for serving God’s people. Though the pandemic still keeps me from meeting many of you in person, I am already beginning to understand that you are truly people of abundance—people who stand ready to share your skills and expertise, your time, and the financial resources needed to make all of your shared ministries thrive.
My role will be to support you as you continue that tradition of abundance.
Henri Nouwen said this: “Ministry is, first of all, receiving God’s blessing from those to whom we minister. What is the blessing? It is a glimpse of the face of God.” I believe this. I am so grateful to have the opportunity to share in this ministry, and I’m looking forward to working with you as we all discern how to be good stewards of the gifts we’ve been given.
Allison Elrod, Director of Stewardship