Stewarding Our Presence

by Mark Votava

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I have found myself so fragmented in my life.  Coming to a breaking point of needing some peace through the chaos of running in all directions constantly, I have stopped and thought about how present I am.  It seems I am everywhere and nowhere at the same time because I am always thinking about the next place I am going and can’t be present right where I am at.

  • A whole life stewardship of faithful presence

Stewarding our presence as the body of Christ in everyday life is so important to the parish imagination.  When we talk about stewardship a lot of time we think about finances, but what I am talking about here is a whole life stewardship of our faithful presence in everyday life.  There is no body of Christ in everyday life together without our presence and participation in our locality.

  • Our lives centered in the parish

The body of Christ needs people of faithful presence.  This stewarding our presence is not based on dualistic patterns, but embraces our whole lives centered within the parish.  When will others be able to see the body of Christ in everyday life in ordinary contexts of living life in a place?

  •  Goodness, love, beauty, humility, simplicity, grace

This will never happen until we learn to steward our presence faithfully.  A faithful stewarding of our presence together could have huge ramification of goodness, love, beauty, humility, simplicity and grace in the place we inhabit.  This could change everything about how we live as the church together in the parish.  Stewarding our presence in awareness, love, mindfulness and grace will help us to cultivate the parish imagination.

  •  Very relational

Stewarding our presence is always very relational.  We tend to lose our faithful presence without intentionality.  We tend to lose our faithful presence without love, grace and humility.  The parish imagination does not want us to lose our faithful presence in everyday life.

  • Connecting and Collaborating in everyday life

Stewarding our presence is how we connect and collaborate with others in our locality together.  If we do not have a faithful stewarding of our presence in the parish, we will never learn to love our neighbors as Christ has called us to.  Stewarding our presence is a practical way of teaching us to love our neighbors in everyday life.  Stewarding our presence is all about a love for the other.

  •  An influential practice of wisdom over time

Dwight J. Friesen says, “If it’s true that seemingly simple, little things can have big effects, then it’s wise to ponder how we steward our presence…  Who we are and how we steward our presence with others will impact others in ways we simply can’t imagine…”  Stewarding our presence is mysterious and powerful.  It seems small to our rational minds, but is an influencial practice of wisdom over time.

How can we learn to be faithfully present in the place we live?