We are now just one month away from the next Msgr. McGread Stewardship Conference, set for August 12-13 at the Diocese of Wichita’s Spiritual Life Center, and we hope you will join us for this one-of-a-kind event. Now in its 17th year, the McGread Conference has inspired and educated thousands of priests, religious, and lay Catholics, by sharing the remarkable stories of how developing the spirituality of stewardship has transformed parishes and impacted the lives of individual parishioners across the country.
Here is one such story of a priest and his parish transformed by stewardship after attending the McGread Conference.
Fr. Dave Zimmer is a longtime pastor for the Diocese of Bismarck, N.D. During his early days as pastor at St. John the Apostle in Minot, Fr. Dave discovered the concept of stewardship and attended the Msgr. McGread Stewardship Conference in 2005 along with a group of St. John’s staff and parishioners. He returned from the conference “on fire” about the spirituality of stewardship and was excited to bring what he learned back to his parish.
During Fr. Dave’s 10-plus years at St. John’s, the parish was literally transformed by stewardship, with significant increases in prayer, ministry involvement and offertory giving.
Below is an excerpt from a piece Fr. Dave wrote in 2013, in which he discusses his thoughts on the McGread Conference and how stewardship changed his life and the life of his parish.
And, for more information on the conference, or to register online, Click Here.
By Fr. Dave Zimmer
Former Pastor of St. John the Apostle, Minot, N.D.
“There’s no place like… Kansas?”
In The Wizard of Oz, the main character, Dorothy, took an amazing journey that taught her a great deal about life. She also learned to appreciate what she already had and learned to be grateful for it all. In the end, all Dorothy wanted was to return to her family in Kansas because, after all, “There’s no place like home.”
Could a trip to Kansas possibly be a life-changing event for any of us? Most participants who make the trip to the Spiritual Life Center in Wichita, Kan. and attend the Msgr. McGread Stewardship Conference have no trouble saying it was amazing. It does take more than clicking ruby slippers together to get there, but the trip is well worth it. It is the site of many conversions embracing the stewardship way of life. Those who have had such a life-changing experience will usually bring that experience home with them, along with the insights, new ideas, inspiring thoughts, and usually a new understanding that stewardship is living the call to discipleship. And although we don’t often say it, we do return from the two-day seminar, knowing that “there is no place like Wichita, there is no place like Wichita!” Or is there?
It would be fascinating to poll the participants who have attended the Stewardship Conference in Wichita, Kan. and ask them, “So, how has your spirituality grown as a faithful steward since the conference? While my curiosity is piqued, I can only focus on the parish of St. John the Apostle Church, the participants of the retreats I am privileged to lead, and myself. As we begin the eighth year of preaching, teaching and living stewardship, are we still saying, “There’s no place like St. John’s, there’s no place like St. John’s”? Do we still have the same connection we once had, calling this place our “spiritual home”? I suspect every parish should be asking that question as we evaluate our ministries, our attitude, our participation, our commitment to build up the Body of Christ, within each member of our parish family, our homes, workplaces, schools and our spiritual lives.
As I reflect on the “birth of stewardship” at St. John’s, I recall that on Aug. 6, our birthday as a parish, we began our stewardship story. For many years following that date, many people gave of their time, talent and treasure to establish and develop the parish we know today and have called it their spiritual home. But I believe a milestone was reached in our history when, in 2005, our evolution as a stewardship parish reached new heights and a renewed appreciation became apparent of what was always important to the members of this community. Just as the character of Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz found a new appreciation for her home, family and her life as God would have it, an awareness and appreciation of our own spiritual home as a part of this lifelong process we define as stewardship is confirmed.
COVID-19: YOUR SAFETY IS OUR PRIORITY
Catholic Stewardship Consultants and the Spiritual Life Center are taking every precaution to ensure the safety of conference attendees, speakers, and staff. Social distancing will be in effect and conference schedules may be adjusted to limit the number of attendees gathered in one space at the same time. Extra precautions and cleaning/sanitizing protocols will also be in place to safeguard guests who choose to stay overnight at the SLC. We will also be providing masks and hand sanitizer for all attendees. What’s more, we are working with the Spiritual Life Center to ensure adequate space is available to allow guests to social distance throughout the conference. Major hotel chains also are following strict protocols, but please check with your hotel of choice to ensure your personal safety. Also, most major airlines during the pandemic are allowing changes and cancellations at no cost.
If you need assistance/advice with your travel arrangements, feel free to contact CSC, and we will do our best to help you.
Announcements on changes to this event and other updates will be sent via email to registered attendees, and will be posted on this page. Should the Conference be postponed or canceled, registration fees will be refunded.