If you are an avid reader of historical novels, the role of a Steward is not an unfamiliar one. They are depicted as a trusted person responsible for running the master’s estates, or a housekeeper making sure the household is well run. In either situation they are simply people who are carefully and responsibly managing something they don’t themselves own, but have had entrusted to their care. Now, stewards don’t just do it for love, they have a vested stake in the thing they are stewarding – it’s often the difference between having a home and a job, or not!
There are, of course, different expressions of stewardship; from organisations maintaining stately homes for future generations, to individuals advising us on how to make wise use of the natural resources provided by the earth so they don’t run out. This concept of stewardship provoked the question ‘just what are we/am I a steward of?’ Working for a local charity such as Hope Trust, we, along with our amazing volunteers, are in a sense stewards of the ‘helping older people’ work here in Felixstowe. This idea that what we do should maintain, develop and promote the work of the charity so that it can be handed on, in due course, better than when we found it, to other people who will then steward it onwards and upwards for another span of time, appeals to us.
This reflection on things we are entrusted with, but don’t own, was, in part, prompted by the recent BBC series ‘Seven worlds, one Planet.’ Once again we were shown amazing footage of the natural world, from penguins to albatrosses, from whales and polar bears to Asian monkeys and so much more. Each story is a cautionary warning of the dangers of climate change on the fragile eco-systems that we all rely on, yet is this story of change that is happening right now, enough to encourage us to change our ways?
As we at Hope Trust reflect, can you think of something you ‘steward?’ It might be the finances of a loved one who can no longer manage, it might be the care of someone who isn’t as well as they once were, it may even be running an event for the benefit of those who attend. As this New Year begins, is this the time to sit down and reflect on how your stewardship role is going? Or perhaps its time to chat with those that are close to you and share areas where you might need some support or help to ‘steward’ the time and resources you have, so that both are used wisely and well?
As always, if we can help you in any way, we are very happy to chat and then signpost you to activities we run, as well as those run by others. As 2020 begins, may we be wise with all those people and situations that will demand our time and attention. Happy New Year.