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Speak Ye First The Kingdom of Heaven:  God's Provision as the Starting Point for Stewardship


Explaining your Ministries through Narrative Budgeting


Using Asset-Mapping in your Stewardship Program








Speak Ye First The Kingdom of Heaven:                                                         Register Now!

God’s Provision as the Starting Point for Stewardship


Leader:   The Rev. Kamila Blessing


Date:      Monday, October 9, 2006


Time:      7:00 pm Eastern   (one hour teleclass) --  6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, 4:00 Pacific


Cost:       $10.00  


Are you tired of your traditional stewardship program?  There are many ways to look at stewardship both theologically and practically.  This one-hour class will introduce you to a refreshingly different way to approach the topic of money and giving in your congregation.  It is narrative-based:  telling the story of God's promise to provide for God's people, and telling the stories of how we ourselves have experienced that loving provision in our own lives and in the life of our congregation.   Anyone, lay or ordained, can be the “point person” for this program in your congregation – they just need to be able to speak of the abundant ways in which God has gifted them, and be eager to help others do the same. 


We'll explore some practical ways you can help your members


Experience God's abundant provision

Recognize/be aware of that experience

And finally, tell the story of their experience -- with deep personal conviction


Create with your people a bit of the Kingdom of Heaven in a way that is meaningful to them, and spiritual and financial growth will follow.





Kamila Blessing has been an Episcopal priest since 1984 and has served as rector and intentional interim during the years since. In addition, she is a specialist in organizational systems analysis, conflict management, and healthy parish communication patterns.  She is a licensed mediator.  She earned a Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 1977.


Blessing has been particularly successful in stewardship, raising offerings from 8% to 164% in various parishes throughout the US.  Her unique program, "Manna-fest:  Welcome to God's Table" has been applied successfully  in parishes of all sizes and of many different theological orientations.  It is based on the premise that the Greek word for stewardship refers to God's total plan for the provision and fulfillment of the world God created, most especially expressed in the Incarnation.  Stewardship is not "giving money"; it is the Gospel.


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Explaining your Ministries through Narrative Budgeting                

(Tools for Year-round Stewardship) 




Leader:  Mike Stephenson


Date:      Offered in September 2006


Time:      7:00 pm Eastern   (one hour teleclass)  --  6:00 Central, 5:00 Mountain, 4:00 Pacific


Cost:      Free  (first time offering)



Class#:   CMC-ST100



According to recent research about religious giving, there is a substantial relationship between people’s understanding of why they give and how much they give. When parishioners don’t understand how their gifts of time, talent, and treasure enable ministry, they tend to give less of each, especially treasure.  


One of the most effective tools for stewardship education is narrative budgeting, a process for explaining how contributions of time and money translate into ministry throughout the congregation and community.  It offers both quantitative and qualitative presentations to describe the ways in which lives are transformed through worship, pastoral care, Christian formation, outreach, hospitality, and fellowship.  


This class is for people who want to:

learn how a narrative budget can be a key means of stewardship education
begin drafting a narrative budget for their congregation

In Session 1 (September 20) we'll look at the narrative budget as a tool for year-round education about the church's ministries.  In many churches, most parishioners are not aware of the breadth and depth of time and energy that people so freely give. Narrative budgeting can help you describe and recognize their valuable contributions.  Assignments will be given for work in preparation for Session 2.

Session 2 (September 27) will show you how to assess and describe the ways in which all of your congregation's resources support its ministries.  For example, do you know what percentage of your congregation’s total resources (clergy, staff, building, administrative, etc.) are used to support worship? 
For pastoral care?  You'll get worksheets and other tools for determining how and what to include in these and other ministry areas.   By the end of Session 2, you'll have the knowledge and basic information you need to develop your congregation’s narrative budget.

Narrative budgeting can make a real difference in the ways you talk about ministry, and in that capacity is one of the most effective ways to increase giving.  It is an educational tool, however, not an accounting one, and you can assure your treasurer that it does not replace the regular budgeting process.



Mike Stephenson is canon for development for the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago, where he is responsible for diocesan financial development programs, including a major endowment initiative, the annual Bishop’s Appeal, and the stewardship of current and prospective donors. He also provides assistance to clergy and congregations in stewardship, capital campaign planning, and planned giving.


Prior to joining the bishop’s staff, Mike was senior consultant for American City Bureau of South Barrington, Illinois, the nation’s oldest fundraising consulting firm. He has also served as a capital campaign director for Cunneen Fundraising Services of Hamden, Conn.; as chief financial officer for Oklahoma Goodwill Industries; as chief operating officer for Kirkpatrick Science and Air Space Museum in Okalahoma City; and as executive director of the John R. and Eleanor R. Mitchell Foundation in Mt. Vernon, Il.


Mike is a candidate for ordination in the Diocese of Oklahoma and currently is working toward completion of the Master of Divinity from Seabury-Western Theological Seminary. He earned a Master of Business Administration from Washington University, St. Louis, and a Bachelor of Arts in Russian and English from Tulane University, New Orleans. Mike’s service to the church began as an acolyte and includes election to vestries in three parishes and terms as parish treasurer, stewardship chairperson, endowment fund trustee, and many others. 



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Using Asset-Mapping in Your Stewardship Program                                

(Tools for Year-round Stewardship) 


Leader:  Susan Cleveley


Date:      Thursday, October 5, 2006


Time:      8:00 pm Eastern   (one hour teleclass)    --  7:00 Central, 6:00 Mountain, 5:00 Pacific


Cost:      $10.00 



Class#:   CMC-ST102



Asset mapping is a practical process for helping individuals or groups recognize their assets -- the wealth of gifts and resources that God has given to all.  Using asset-mapping in your congregation can produce an incredible amount of information about your congregation's assets, interests, connections and passions.  It also provides quick feedback and energizes your group into action.

Asset mapping starts from the very positive and affirming viewpoint of "We are gifted!" instead of the more usual "What's missing here and what do we need?"  In doing so it provides an exciting and inspiring way to strengthen your congregation's sense of what your members can uniquely do to reach out in mission and ministry at this time and in this place in your congregation's life. 

This class will introduce you to the asset-mapping process and give you some practical and effective tools in which to work.  It will show you how to plan and execute an asset-mapping meeting with any size interest group.  The class is based on Luther K. Snow’s dynamic process described in The Power of Asset Mapping: How Your Congregation Can Act on Its Gifts:

"Asset mapping happens between people. It is a group activity or, better yet, like a snowball rolled through the snow by a group of children, asset mapping spreads and grows among widening groups of people. My purpose is to help you find practical methods and lessons for “starting a snowball” in your congregation.  At the heart of asset mapping is a personal transformation: learning or  relearning to see the cup as half-full.  That’s something you can start to experience right now."


Susan Cleveley, a member of St. Mark's Episcopal Church, Moscow, Idaho, has served the church in a variety of ministries.  She worked in youth ministries for 16 years, served as senior warden, co-taught and facilitated the first Alpha programs in the inland Northwest, and led various groups interested in healing, prayer and worship.  On the diocesan level, she taught classes on prayer, running an Alpha course, and was a member of the Bishop’s transitional team.  Currently, she chairs the Pastoral Care and Stewardship Committees at St. Marks and is a candidate for ordination to the priesthood in the Diocese of Spokane. 


She brings her years of interest in collaborative learning, congregational growth, lay ministry support and development to this topic.  Susan became interested in asset-mapping when Robert Runkle, a member of the Spokane Diocesan Stewardship Committee, introduced her to the concept.  She experienced this process firsthand when she facilitated her congregation’s exploration of their unique resources and gifts during their Stewardship Education program in the spring of 2006.  This journeying of discovery energized her congregation as they grew in understanding that stewardship is what we do all the time with what we have.  This dynamic approach can be used with any size group regardless of age. 



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