Ministry Moment: Cynthia Ries

Cynthia Ries on Stewardship

Ministry Moment: Cynthia Ries


Listen and read along.


September 29, 2019

If you’ve ever visited my office at Community Shares, aside from the frittata of papers on my desk, you’ll notice a childhood photograph. A pony picture. Most of us have one of these, but not everybody has them proudly displayed at work.

I vividly recall that morning my Dad came to pull me out of school (yay) so that The Geauga Times Leader could take our picture. I was too excited about dressing up to ask why. I posed proudly in the saddle, on top of my pony Peanuts.

I couldn’t wait to see it in the newspaper. And when I did my eyes bulged, my heart sank.

The headline read “Pony is prize for lucky winner at the YMCA Hootenanny Kick Off.”

Wait, what? Peanuts is a prize? Now in full disclosure Peanuts was one of a bunch of horses we had, and Shetland ponies are known for being nasty and nippy. But that did not matter. That pony was mine and not a gift. How could my Dad give him to a stranger?

I’m sharing this story because that gift was actually a blessing. I didn’t know it but Dad had several reasons for giving Peanuts to that raffle. Most importantly, he was clearing the way for another new—and better–pony that was needed to grow my skills—something I wanted very much. But how it hurt my feelings and made me confused.

That photo reminds me every day that giving is a personal journey.

And sometimes it takes a gift like Peanuts to make it truly meaningful.

As part of the Stewardship Committee I am inviting you today to making a pledge to the campaign. And I am also inviting you to think of it as a journey in growing your gratitude.

Stewardship season makes some of us nervous. Most of us are stretched thin in our budgets, and time. But we know it is part of our spiritual journey and practice to give back to God, give back to our church.

Our theme — GROWING IN GRATITUDE – lets me claim just how much I have grown by being part of you all here at Trinity these past few years.

If I have been transformed by this wonderful, vibrant Trinity community, shouldn’t it transform the way I look at my stewardship gift this year?

What shall I give to God?

IF I am growing at Trinity (and I am) my gift should reflect that growth, and grow with me.

For me, a meaningful gift this year will stretch me. It will bring me into a journey that challenges me to be grateful for God’s abundance in my life, and for Trinity’s role in my life and in our community.

We have pledge packets out in the promenade for you to take and consider your pledge this year.

Let’s make this season of giving one that helps us grow in gratitude.

Oh, and before you ask, sorry, we don’t accept ponies.

Cynthia Ries

Trinity Cathedral, September 29, 2019