Lately I’ve been reflecting on the relationship between power, community, responsibility, and stewardship. Through FUUSN we join together in spiritual community in order to receive the benefits of having greater strength and power collectively than we can ever hope to achieve individually. Yet with power also comes responsibility. We are responsible for our actions and our communications with others. We share responsibility for maintaining ourselves in right relationship with one another. We share a collective responsibility for the present and future flourishing of this community. Realistically, this sense of collective responsibility will vary among different members of the Congregation at different points in their congregational lives, and this is entirely appropriate. For me, this sense of collective responsibility is the embodiment of spiritual stewardship. To be a steward of the institution and the Congregation is to take on shared responsibility for the community’s well-being. It involves valuing the well-being of the community as a whole as well as our own well-being and that of other individual members of the community. It means recognizing and appreciating how stewardship is realized through our daily actions that are literally responsive to the needs and requirements of other members of the Congregation and to the community as a whole. When we take these responsive actions in total, they form a mosaic of collective action that supports the FUUSN community.
Stewardship is not just something that happens once or twice a year when we are being asked to make a board of trustees (continued) financial pledge for the annual budget drive or when we deposit a check or cash in the collection plate. It is something that is realized through the gifts we make to the community of our time, talents, skills, and knowledge. We exercise stewardship through our volunteer activities both within and without the institution. We exercise stewardship when we participate in individual and collective conversations about the present and future well-being and vitality of the FUUSN community. We exercise stewardship when we choose FUUSN leaders and when we seek to constructively influence the decisions and choices made by those leaders. We exercise stewardship when we inform ourselves about the traditions and history of FUUSN and when we envision the future potential of FUUSN. Stewardship is also something that is realized through our knowledge, awareness and appreciation of both the practical and financial foundations of our community. This includes our understanding of the financial implications of the staffing, programs, and other choices we make for the present and the future. Finally, of course, we exercise stewardship when we willingly pledge our personal financial resources to support the staff, programs, building, and infrastructure that allows FUUSN as a community to flourish. It is through stewardship and the attendant exercise of responsibility that we ensure our collective empowerment.
-Chris Krebs, Chair, Board of Trustees