What is Christian Stewardship?
Christian stewardship is using the gifts God has given us to do the work God is calling us to do. All that we have in this life is a gift from God:
* Our time
* Our talents
* Our treasure
Part of being a good steward is giving back to God some of what we have been given, in loving gratitude for God’s many gifts to us.
Although money is an important aspect of stewardship, it is not the only one. Many Episcopalians today have more money than they have time. Please consider all aspects of stewardship in your own life and how you can be a good steward of the time and talents that God has given you.
How do I offer my time and talents?
Why does the church ask for money?
As Christians we are called to be charitable. The church is not some remote and inhuman organization. The church is us, all of us. Like any organization, the church needs funds to operate and maintain the buildings, pay our clergy and staff and pursue Christian activities within the church and in the community. We, the members, contribute the money which the church must have to do all these things.
Why should I pledge to St. Catherine’s?
One of the special gifts that God has given us is the vibrant community of St. Catherine’s. Through its many opportunities for worship and service to others and through its ministries of fellowship, education, and spiritual growth, St. Catherine’s nurtures and sustains each of us in numerous ways. By giving back to the Church, you help to ensure that these ministries will continue to reach many people both close to home and far away.
To sustain and strengthen St. Catherine’s, the Vestry and Stewardship Committee ask every parishioner to pledge for the coming year. If you have pledged before, we ask you to continue your commitment to this congregation and prayerfully consider increasing your pledge. If you have not pledged before, we ask you to join in our mutual commitment to maintain and strengthen this Christian community for the future.
What is a pledge and why is it important?
A pledge is a spiritual decision and a spiritual discipline. It is a joyful thanksgiving for God’s grace in our lives and our way of doing God’s work at home and in the world. Pledge income is essential to the ministries of St. Catherine’s – staff, worship and education, and the operation and maintenance of our buildings and grounds. Pledges can account for more than 94% of our operating budget.
Our vision of our ministry at St. Catherine’s is to “welcome, accept, nurture and serve all people in the name of Jesus.” Your annual pledge helps us extend that welcome to all. And your pledge tells us, “I am part of this community, and I want to show that this church and its vision are important to me.” Pledging is considered to be an important part of membership at St. Catherine’s.
Is my pledge confidential?
Pledges are completely confidential. Only a very few trusted people ever see pledge data with names attached. That data is always treated confidentially to preserve the privacy of the individual.
How much should I pledge?
The biblical injunction to tithe, to give one tenth of our income, is a familiar benchmark for many. Others may be familiar with the concept of proportional giving; making a commitment to give a specific percentage of your income to the Church.
We believe that if each household made a pledged commitment to St. Catherine’s it would allow this community to fulfill the many needs of our many vibrant needs not just at a level of survival but a level where growth and maturity would encourage every one of us and those yet to arrive at our doors to grow more into the likeness of Jesus. The following table provides weekly giving levels corresponding to certain percentages at several income levels:
|Income Level||Weekly Tithe||5% of Income||2% of Income|
Why is proportional giving better than agreeing to give a flat dollar amount?
Stewardship should be intentional. Committing to a percentage helps us focus on our relationship with God by reminding us that “All things come of Thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given Thee.” We make a decision about the level of financial support we will work towards, and then reaffirm that commitment every time we give. Proportional giving also has built-in flexibility for any ups and downs in our personal situations. As we prosper, we give more. If our income is lower, we give less in dollars while maintaining a percentage.
This has been a difficult time for me financially. Why is St. Catherine’s asking me to increase my pledge amount?
Most of us have been negatively impacted by the economy and the poor stock market performance over the past few years. The needs of the church continue to increase despite the state of the economy as we grow and take on more projects, particularly related to community outreach and children and youth programs. Those of us who have the means to contribute are in a position to support these programs as much as possible.
Why is pledging better than just making a weekly donation in the offering?
Pledging allows the Vestry and staff to plan for the future and be good stewards in making budget decisions. Anticipating financial resources is necessary to set priorities for the vital decisions that are made for our mission and ministry. Our ministries depend on your pledge, and every pledge matters.
How can I fulfill my pledge?
Most parishioners pledge by giving money on a weekly or monthly basis, while others make a one-time gift. In some cases, pledges are pre-paid for the next year in whole or in part for tax planning purposes. Some also meet their pledges by donating appreciated stock directly to St. Catherine’s. You can give electronically using electronic bank transfers. For information on e-giving, speak with our parish administrator, Rosemary Wolfe, in the church office.
Where can I get information on budgeting issues?
You may attend the meeting of any ministry in which you are interested. In particular you are always invited to attend the Vestry meeting (the third Tuesday of each month except July) at 7:30pm and/or the Finance Committee Meeting at 5:30 pm on the Thursday evening preceding the Vestry Meeting. You also may ask any Vestry Member (see Our Vestry) to help you locate someone to talk to about budget issues. Inquiries and inputs from church members are most welcome.