When responsibility for Stewardship was devolved to the Dioceses by the Province a Stewardship Team for Edinburgh was established in 2007. Diocesan Advisers continue to meet and network; there is also contact with other denominations.
It was decided, firstly, that the initial focus would be on the Stewardship of Giving which was the basis of ‘Charis’ (the Provincial Stewardship Resource); secondly, to encourage the adoption of proportional giving.
A Diocesan Half Day Stewardship Conference was held at Newbattle Abbey College near Dalkeith to launch the revised material and introduce the principles of Stewardship. In the Autumn of that year, copies of the available material were distributed to all Charges at the October Synod.
Work began on developing supplementary material for the Stewardship of Giving in the form of a study booklet. A series of articles about the Stewardship of Giving was published in the Diocesan Magazine ‘The Edge’. To mark the ‘Year of Homecoming’ a special postcard was produced and distributed to all Charges for use as an invitation to ‘folk on the fringe’ to come along to a church event or special service. Stewardship Assistance was given to two charges.
A presentation on Stewardship was made to the Spring Synod. The booklet, ‘A Stewardship of Giving’, was completed and distributed to all Charges at the October Synod along with a copy of the ‘X factor’ (produced by the Diocese of Chester) and a leaflet ‘Giving for Life’ which is produced by the Church of England Parish Resources. A copy of statistical information on giving in the Diocese was also included. Stewardship Assistance was given to four charges.
A leaflet about the principles of giving - ‘More than a Duty’ - was produced and distributed to all Charges and Treasurers. This leaflet was designed for use in a mailshot to current members or for handing to newcomers. Stewardship Assistance has been given to two charges and is being planned for one other. Provincial material on Legacies is being evaluated for reissue as a single leaflet.
Whilst all Congregations assisted have reported an increase in giving, it is extremely difficult to quantify this. However, from the Statistical information provided elsewhere, it will be noted that giving per communicant member has increased by some 16 % during this period.
While the focus has been very much on the Stewardship of Giving, it is recognised that Stewardship is about more than money. To this end, attention will be given during the next twelve months to the production of resource material dealing with the Stewardship of Time and Skills. It is recognized, however that being financially healthy frees up Congregations to engage in the wider Stewardship of Mission and Ministry.