A Refreshing, Youthful Perspective on Stewardship
An Interview with Annabel Hines
Hailing from Alabama, with a 4-year diversion in Connecticut, Annabel’s family have been parishioners at Holy Apostles since 2014. Now, as a fifth-year senior at the University of Tennessee Knoxville, Annabel reflected on her own way of using her knowledge and skills to give herself to others in service to the Lord. For the past four years, Annabel has been very involved in the outreach ministry called Mountain T.O.P. This organization in the South Cumberland Plateau is a partnership ministry with a goal to help meet the physical, social, emotional, and spiritual needs of all the people they encounter.
To achieve this goal, they offer a variety of mission-based programs for youth and adults. Participants can choose to serve with this organization through home repair projects or day camp programs. During the mission experience, middle and high school students complete home repair projects or serve as mentors in Day Camp. Service is woven together with spiritual-life programming as they intentionally connect the “what” with the “why.”
For Annabel, filling the social and spiritual needs for people who can’t always do for themselves is a very gratifying way to praise the Lord. She has been on staff for the past 2 years as a service project manager and would love to continue working for this deeply satisfying ministry. There are many ways to serve and worship the Lord and help his children, his people. The deep personal connection she has established with this community has given her an abiding accountability to her faith.
She tries to take time every day to take a minute to rest, pray, and listen to what God is telling her. Her advice to everyone is continually strive to find new ways to worship the Lord. Get involved and try out some new and different ministries to expand your spiritual journey. Find your connection to God and his people. Be a vessel for God to speak through you in the things that you do. Never be afraid to give yourself to others because you never know how your words, actions or resources can profoundly and wonderfully transform their lives. One of her favorite Bible verses is Colossians 3:23 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord and not for human masters.”
God Loves a Cheerful Giver
An Interview with Bonnie Barnes
With a father as a minister in the Church of Christ who taught speech at Harding University, Bonnie was formed by daily biblical teaching from cradle through college. Her parents’
foundational approach to stewardship was simple: every good thing that comes to us belongs to God. There is nothing that permanently belongs to us, but we should use the resources given to us to His honor and glory. One of her favorite scriptures is “Present yourselves as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1)
Bonnie and her late husband Cary came to Holy Apostles in 2004 and were talked into the daunting responsibility of teaching Sunday School class to middle schoolers. My own daughters will testify to their success with humor and gratitude. Bonnie went on to become a mentor with the Helping Hands Ministry for six years and is still in close contact with her mentee who is currently doing well in college. Many of you will know Bonnie best by her beautiful alto voice in the Holy Apostles choir. She is also on the current vestry.
Bonnie believes that we are all called to be caretakers of the gifts that God gives us and giving her time, talent, and treasure to causes that help others is exceptionally fulfilling. She also believes that being good stewards of our gifts helps us grow spiritually in our faith and makes a difference in our own lives as well as those of others. Although it’s important to be realistic about what any family can afford to give, giving from our abundance and not becoming too attached to our material possessions often leads to serendipitous delights! Bonnie remains grateful for everything God has given her in life – times of good and bad, joy and sadness, abundance and want -it all makes our lives an amazing journey to be shared and celebrated.
Meet Stan Smith
Our Stewardship Chairman
You may know him as our verger, usher, vestry member, Eucharistic Minister or Men’s Group member, but certainly you have all seen or know Mr. Stan Smith. To the great benefit of Holy Apostles, Stan is also now our Stewardship Chairman. Stan and his wife Andrea have both been happy and energetic participants on our behalf for almost 7 years. Andrea is equally active in our parish life as a LEM, Master of the Bread, Lector/Intercessor, Altar Guild, Rector Search Committee and office fill-in when staff are out.
Andrea is a cradle Episcopalian and is the one who introduced Stan, a Baptist with Methodist influences, to his true spiritual home in the Episcopal Church. Baptized as an adult at St. Andrew's with a brief stint as a Lutheran, Stan’s faith journey multiplied a thousand-fold in the Episcopal Church, especially as a member of Holy Apostles
Stan and Andrea, like most parishioners at some point in their lives, can confess to struggling with the annual pledge drive and how much of their income, time and talent can be offered in any given year. But as they grew and matured in their faith, while praying mightily some years, they came to see that the more resources of time, talent and treasure that they gave, the better and even easier their lives became. The Lord opened their eyes to the joys of giving and the burden became a blessing. They understood what the prophet was saying in Malachi 3:10 “Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.” They know that everything we have comes from God and when we give back even a small portion to glorify Him, He magnifies it ten-fold.
As Stan and Andrea have experienced, there are many places to go to church, but Holy Apostles is truly a place to grow rich in faith and love. Our church family is a diverse collection of people who are in various situations and stages of their lives, but we are still one body in Christ. We need to share our lives with one another to grow as a loving family grows in order that everyone can experience the joy of belonging to God, to each other and to Holy Apostles.