Each year, the Diocese of Southwest Florida brings its parishes together for training at DaySpring Episcopal Center. For 2017, approximately 140 clergy and lay leaders came to DaySpring’s Program Center for a conference with the Rev. Canon Lance Ousley, Canon for Stewardship and Development at the Diocese of Olympia.
“So money, mammon, is the number one god in our culture. But we have something that can set people free. We know the truth,” said Ousley.
The workshop, led by the Rev. Canon Chris Gray and opened by the Rt. Rev. Dabney Smith, is a yearly gathering held each August in the Diocese.
Ousley said that Biblically there are basically two different types of giving, tithes and offerings. “Offerings are for special needs,” said Ousley. The tithe, given before anything else, is critical in helping the parishioner get beyond the mentality of dependence on money over God. It is not prosperity theology, he said, instead it is “about setting people free.”
How congregations approach giving matters. For instance, in his own services he leaves the offerings and tithes on the altar throughout the Eucharist. Another suggestion is that the priest put their gift in the offering basket publicly, what he calls “preaching stewardship.”