To say Roger Smith was passionate about stewardship is an understatement. For more than 30 years he served the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) and a predecessor body in the area of stewardship education. After retiring in 2008, Smith served as president of the Stewardship of Life Institute (SOLI) board, was a financial coach for many seminarians, and spoke widely and often about generosity and stewardship of all God’s gifts.
Smith died in June, 2012, following a long illness, but his legacy continues to inspire, equip, and educate people of faith to embrace whole life stewardship as a key element of discipleship through the Institute’s vision and mission. In memory of and with gratitude for Smith’s lifelong dedication to stewardship education, the SOLI board created the Roger Smith Memorial Grant. This award is designated annually to the successful grant applicant that best reflects Smith’s passion for stewardship education in seminaries and steward leader development.
The first Roger Smith Memorial Grant was awarded to Region 8 of the ELCA to provide resources and teaching tools for first call rostered leaders. Each first call leader in the region’s eight synods received a digital copy of the extensive resource Teaching a Christian View of Money: Celebrating God’s Generosity by Barbara J. Fullerton and Mark L. Vincent and Mind Your Money by Nathan Dungan, a flip-book featuring 101 discussion starters to help individuals and groups learn and articulate money skills and values and build a financial vocabulary.
The Rev. Tedd Cogar (pictured right), pastor of Luther Chapel Lutheran Church in Coral, PA, said, “I’ve used information from the Mind Your Money flipbook in presentations with students, specifically with a fraternity on Time Management and Goal Setting. I include discussion on financial matters and financial planning. I also used it in conversations for pre-marital planning.”
“I personally found Mind Your Money useful in engaging my husband in conversation regarding our own stewardship,” said the Rev. Jean Caudill, pastor of Mount Zion Lutheran Church in Snicksville, PA.
The Rev. Dr. Marty Stevens, executive director of the Stewardship of Life Institute and Associate Professor in the Arthur L. Larson Chair of Stewardship and Parish Ministry at Gettysburg Seminary hopes that Roger Smith would be pleased that this grant is helping to equip steward leaders for faithful ministry and and lifelong stewardship.