Stewardship & Spirituality
Stewardship, Giving & Spirituality
Find out more about our E-Giving Program and what is involved in making a Pledge of your time, talent, and treasure [pledge] to the ministry of Christ that we share here.
The Spirituality of Giving
Episcopalians are generally rather careful that their liturgies come directly from our Book of Common Prayer. We see this as an integral part of our shared life, using common words of worship while holding diverse views and opinions. We’re joined by worship of God, not by ideological preferences.
It’s interesting, then, that so many parishes have a very strong tradition of a liturgical exchange between the priest and people at the offertory. Particularly at liturgies that don’t have the people sing a hymn when the offerings are presented you will hear the priest say, “All things come of thee, oh Lord.” The people will respond, “And of thine own have we given thee.”
The exchange is drawn from a verse in 2 Chronicles, chapter 29, verse 14. In that text, King David acknowledges that his son, Solomon, will build the Temple in Jerusalem. However, he wants to provide the gold, silver, wood, and other materials for the building. So he offers some of his own and also invites the people to make a free-will offering to provide for the building of the temple. After the offering, David prays a prayer of thanksgiving that includes the line above that many Episcopalians use in worship. The line represents David’s realization that though this offering was significant, it is a strange thing to make an offering to God. All things are God’s, David says, and we are just sojourners who have them temporarily.
It’s so very easy for our lives to be controlled by our possessions. We buy into the consumerism surrounding us, believing that one more purchase will make us happy or that a certain level in our savings will make us safe. Scripture and tradition are insistent about the importance of wisely planning for life, but they are also equally clear that in the end we leave with what we came with: our bodies formed of dust and filled with the breath of God.
Christian stewardship isn’t about how much of your money you give to the church. Rather, Christian stewardship involves the acknowledgment that everything we have, from the money in our pockets to the breath in our lungs, has been given to us by God for our time on earth. The question Christian stewardship should provoke is what is the most faithful and just use of our time, our talents, and our treasure?
Thus, questions of stewardship are at the core of Christian Spirituality because they remind us that truly Christian spirituality is concerned with all of our lives. Spirituality which considers only a personal relationship is profoundly anemic. Spirituality looks at everything that makes up who you are, what you do, and what you have, and then helps you ensure that all of those are oriented towards the God who is always drawing us into a deeper relationship with the Divine and each other.
So, as a part of our spirituality as Christians, it is wise to take stock of what you have and ask if your use of it accords with the divine will. And a part of that taking stock, in the Judeo-Christian tradition, is deciding upon a proportion of what you have and giving that to the work of God in the world.
All things come of thee, oh Lord.
And of thine own have we given thee.
Making a Pledge
In the Episcopal Church, it is a very common practice for the parish to practice a pledged approach to regular giving. That is, rather than taking a simple-free will offering, each fall members of the parish are invited to look ahead to the upcoming year and to determine ahead of time what they find themselves called to give.
To put it most simply, your pledge is your estimate of how much money your household will contribute to the ministry of our community in the year to come. Like any estimate, the church knows circumstances can change and that you may have to adjust your pledge later on in the year. In fact, it’s not uncommon for people to pledge one amount but then wind up finding themselves blessed beyond their expectations and choosing to give beyond that pledge. No matter what, you can always change your pledge by contacting the parish office or filling out the online pledge form anew.
Here are answers to a few common people often have about pledging:
What does my giving go to? – In our Parish, people are invited to pledge both to the General Fund and the Building Fund. The General Fund covers the day-to-day expenses related to our parish mission and ministry, everything from keeping the utilities running, to covering staff, to providing bread and wine at Eucharist. The Building Fund is a special capital fund used to cover maintenance and improvement projects with a useful life expectancy of more than one year. The Building Fund is the vehicle through which we save for inevitable expenses like a new roof and also the vehicle that enables us to do regular small improvement projects to our historic property.
How much should I give? – Since the earliest of times, God’s people have been called to give a tithe (10%) of their first-fruits. That means before anything else comes out of what they have, they set aside 10% as a gift to God. There are several Christian traditions that regularly average 10% giving among their members. However, to those new to this idea, it can seem intimidating. The first and essential step is to move towards proportional giving. This means deciding what percentage of your income you will contribute to the work of God, whether 10%, 5%, or 2%. Then, work on raising that percentage each year until you reach the 10% level. You can click here to see a proportional giving chart and see where you are right now
How can I keep up with my pledge? – Our parish office sends regular pledge statements at the end of each quarter, helping you keep up with your pledged giving. Many of our members also find E-Giving a helpful option (see below). Through this process, you can have your pledge regularly deducted from your checking account. You can change your amount at any time by contacting the parish office. E-Giving helps flatten some of the ups and downs of giving patterns and is a much more cost effective way of giving to support Christian ministry in the parish
If you want to pledge your support to our shared ministry in the coming year, you can turn in your pledge via the secure form online here.
The discipline of regular giving of our first fruits to God can be a difficult one to master. Furthermore, in this day and age the action of writing a check on a regular basis is quickly becoming obsolete. To better enable our parishioners to meet their stewardship goals without the hassle of regular check writing, we do offer two e-giving opportunities.
Regular ACH Draw from Checking: Simply download the form here, complete it, and attach a canceled check, and either mail or email it to the Parish Office. You can change your e-giving preferences by calling the Parish Office anytime during normal office hours. Using this form of e-giving costs pennies on the transaction for the church and ensures you don’t have to remember to make a gift on a regular basis!
Online Giving via Credit Card or Checking through Realm: Our Realm Membership Portal also enables E-Giving. The church pays a different percentage when e-giving through Realm (2% for checks and 3% for credit cards), but is happy to cover that cost to make giving easier for you. Some people also choose to cover the processing costs, an option Realm offers to you when you make a gift.