What is stewardship?
Stewardship is an expression of gratitude and thankfulness for the blessings of life that come from God. It is love shared and love returned. A life lived in gratitude is a life lived in love.
What does that mean in practical terms?
Practically, it means making gifts of financial resources as well as time and abilities to support the mission and ministry of the parish.
Why does St. George’s call stewardship a spiritual practice?
Any spiritual practice is based on faith–faith that the act repeated regularly will increase our awareness of the presence of God and will gradually remove from our lives walls we erect that block God’s grace. Spiritual practices include worship, prayer, silence and meditation, contemplation, reading scripture, and giving. Giving (financial stewardship) has numerous spiritual benefits. Here are just three:
- Stewardship reduces our attachment to things material. We learn that by giving away something we “have” really does not diminish us at all. Our needs continue to be met by God.
- Giving chips away at our belief in the concept of “mine” and “yours”. Giving helps us better experience truth that we are indeed one in spirit.
- Our willingness to give impacts our willingness to receive. No doubt all of us know someone who would never give anything to someone else and, in turn, would never accept a gift. We must be willing to give in order to be open to receiving. And God is giving to us every moment of the day. Our willingness to give enhances our ability to accept God’s gifts.
Is my stewardship defined only by the money I give to the church?
Absolutely not. Time and service given to others is a critical component of stewardship. Our church can’t function without these gifts of time and service.
Why is making a pledge important?
Pledging yourself to any spiritual practice increases the likelihood that you will actually do it. In the fall each year we ask you to commit to the practice of giving. We’re most concerned with your commitment to this practice and less concerned with how much you give. Additionally, your vestry does its best to operate the church on a sound financial basis, and knowing what the church can expect in income enhances the vestry’s ability to plan responsibly.
How much should I give? Am I expected to tithe?
The Bible describes, in several places, a standard of giving one tenth of our produce to God (Genesis 14:17-20, 28:18-22, Deuteronomy chapters 12, 14, 26, Leviticus 27:30-33). If you asked ten different members of the church this question, you would likely get ten different answers. We encourage you to give a gift that is a meaningful percentage of your income. For someone like Bill and Melinda Gates, who could likely live an extravagant lifestyle on one percent of their income, a tithe of ten percent of their income may or may not be meaningful. To the contrary, a single parent with several children in college who has to budget down to the last dollar, a pledge of one-tenth of one percent may be meaningful. If every member of the church gave 2 percent of their income, we would have more than enough. Some give much less. Some give much more. If we can all give a gift that is meaningful to us, we will be able to reach our goals.
Why aren’t you just mailing the cards?
Pledge cards are about our sacred offerings. The last two years we have separated the pledge cards from other things that arrive in the mail by passing the cards from house to house. This year, we knew it was time to take a break from passing pledge cards, but we still wanted to set them apart. By having them available for pick-up at church, we make it simple for people coming to church to just pick up their materials. We also differentiate this sacred offering from other bills and solicitations. If you want your card mailed, though, we are happy to do so. Just contact the office.
How do I make/pay a pledge?
We need to know how much you plan to give in the calendar year, because we budget according to calendar year. The typical way to notify us is by filling out a pledge card which can be found in the church entryway, or we can send you one. In the fall, we send cards to every household. You can pay your pledge on your schedule: weekly, monthly, quarterly, yearly. It is important that you let us know how often you plan to pay so that we can predict income flow through the year. To contact the church office directly about your pledge, please contact Ben Hicks.
How will my pledge be used?
To support the ministry and mission of St. George’s through our operating budget. This budget supports our staff, maintenance, and programs as well as programs of the larger Episcopal Church.
What percent of the church’s annual budget is supported by pledges?
Over 85 percent. The rest of the operating budget is supported by cash offerings, donations, some income from the use of our buildings by others, grants, and income from our Memorial Trust Fund. It’s simple–our programs depend on pledge support.
Why don’t we use the endowment to fund our operations?
We do. Our Memorial Trust provides over $ 24,000 yearly for that purpose. However, many of our trusts were established with other purposes besides supporting the operating budget.
What happens if I make a pledge and find that I cannot fulfill it?
Your pledge is not a contract. It is a spiritual commitment. But you do need to inform Ben Hicks if you cannot meet or if you need to adjust your pledge so that we can make adjustments to operations as needed.