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The Reverend Terry Parsons died suddenly on Wednesday, October 3, 2012 as a result of complications from a series of falls. She had just turned 65 with no plans to retire any time soon.
Terry was Stewardship Officer for The Episcopal Church from 1996 to 2008. Prior to her work at the Episcopal Church Center Terry held positions with major marketing and advertising firms. In 2011 she completed her Master of Divinity at The General Seminary in New York City, was ordained in the Diocese of Eastern Michigan and appointed Vicar of St Alban’s Church, Bay City, Michigan.
In May of 2011, Terry was the Keynote Speaker for the Diocese of New Westminster’s Synod. She had been to Vancouver previously facilitating Stewardship Conferences. Much of the material currently in use in our diocese for encouraging generous congregations of faith and year-round financial support is inspired by Terry’s lectures and workshops.
Terry was born in Berea, Kentucky on September 22, 1947 and loved to regale her listeners with stories of her family not being ‘hillbillies’ but rather ‘hillwilliams.’ She was instantly excited when talking about stewardship because for her it was all about relationships. Terry was fond of saying that stewardship “is about changing lives, is guided by grace and not guilt, and grows out of one’s relationship with God.” And, therefore, stewardship was intimately bound to evangelism.
“If you’re not talking about Jesus, it probably isn’t stewardship,” was also one of her many maxims.
She spoke often of what she called the “October Beg-a-thon”, the annual parish stewardship campaign, and taught that stewardship education was a year-round activity where all were encouraged, because of their relationship to God, to give thankfully and generously. She asked the church to not be afraid of money but rather to talk about it. She wanted the offering plate put on the altar at the offertory as sign of grateful gifts returned to God.
Bishop Greg Rickel of the Diocese of Olympia wrote on his blog: “[Terry] purely and succinctly lived one quote I will never forget, “you can’t sell soap if you don’t take baths.” Terry didn’t just talk about the Christian call to stewardship, she lived it and her legacy and example will live on. I have lost a dear friend and guide.”
A memorial service will be held on Friday, October 5, 2012 at St Alban’s Church, Bay City, MI
May she rest in peace.

Remember our sister Terry in your prayers and at the altar.
Image: Terry Parson's speaking to Diocesan Synod, May 2011.
PHOTO: Martin Knowles