SALT LAKE CITY — The Diocesan Stewardship Council together with the Office of Stewardship and Development from the Catholic Diocese of Salt Lake City are presenting a workshop at Saint Vincent de Paul Catholic Church’s Benvegnu Center.
"Stewardship is a way of life," said Shannon Lee, director of the diocesan Office of Stewardship and Development.
To be a Christian steward, people have to understand and embrace that "everything that we have is a gift from God," she said. "We don’t own anything."
The workshop is part of the diocese’s ongoing stewardship formation effort and is focused on people in parish stewardship councils, for ministry leaders and pastors "so they come and learn something more and learn best practices on the stewardship in their parishes," Lee said.
The Most Rev. John C. Wester, Bishop of the Diocese of Salt Lake City, will give the opening prayer and a presentation.
The workshop will focus on three main areas:
• Forming a parish stewardship council: "Even if you have already formed one, we are going to give you some ideas to help you continue it," Lee said.
• Keeping Stewardship Alive year round: The workshop will present suggestions on how this can be done, Lee said.
• How to conduct stewardship renewal, including information about new materials.
This workshop is part of the ongoing education formation for "folks who are involved in stewardship in their parishes," Lee said. "Bishop Wester did say that we are a stewardship diocese, and he wants everyone to have stewardship as an important part of their parish community."
The workshop is open to everybody and is free, but participants must RSVP so the proper number of lunches can be ordered.
"We are encouraging members of parish stewardship councils, parish staff members, ministry leaders, deacons and pastors," said Lee.
Bishop Wester formed the diocesan Stewardship Council about 18 months ago. The council advises the bishop on stewardship issues "but there’s also a working council that helps this office to prepare materials and manuals and everything for our parishes and missions," said Lee.
In the Salt Lake diocese, the stewardship effort began formally around six months ago but, according to Lee, not all parishes are involved.
"Our hope is that more parishes will join with us taking the stewardship journey," she said.
Parishes that have followed the diocesan stewardship manual have seen positive changes in their parishes, she said.
"We have heard wonderful comments about some of our parishes that have followed the stewardship manual; they created the parish council, they have done their assessments, they talk about stewardship in their parishes, they made a commitment in November and, as a result, many more people are signing up for ministries, their Sunday collections have increased, the Diocesan Development Drive collections has increased … They have done what we recommended them to do and it has been very beneficial very successful in their parishes," said Lee.
The workshop speakers, other than Bishop Wester, will be members of different parishes.
"It is like peer to peer; we are learning all this together," said Lee, adding that more workshops are planned. "Eventually we are probably going to bring in outside speakers, but for right now we have had such a success with some of our parishes that I want them to highlight their successes and help others to achieve the success as well," she said.