What is Stewardship?
- Christian stewardship is the grateful and responsible use of God's gifts in light of God's purpose as revealed in Jesus Christ. Christian stewards, empowered by the Holy Spirit, commit themselves to conscious, purposeful decisions.
- Stewardship is lived out in: living and telling the Good News; sharing God in seeking justice, peace, and the integrity of creation in an interdependent universe; wisely employing God-given human resources, abilities, and relationships; sharing the material resources we hold and giving them in service, justice, and compassion; providing for future generations, sharing in the life, worship, and responsible stewardship of the Church and of its mission, both for the individual and for the community. Stewardship is a joyful act for the sake of God's world.
- Stewardship is not simply about money. Stewardship is a fundamental of Christian discipleship. It is about how we live and how we give. What we give to God in response for all that God has given to us. We give time, talent and treasure in response to the gifts of unconditional love, salvation and grace. Most people find giving their time and talent easy, almost second nature. Giving our treasure seems more difficult for many people.
Stewardship is both a Personal and a Corporate Act
- The Bishops and Deputies who participated in the 2003 General Convention of the Episcopal Church approved the following resolution:
of the church’s tradition of calling us to work, pray and give for the
spread of God’s kingdom, all members of The Episcopal Church be encouraged
to develop a personal spiritual discipline that includes, at a minimum, the
holy habits of tithing, daily personal prayer and study, Sabbath time, and
the weekly corporate worship."
- As members of God’s kingdom we have to recognize that we have a responsibly for our own personal stewardship as well as of the church that has called us to be "A welcoming congregation seeking both to know Christ and to make Christ known." Here at Grace Church we take our personal and corporate stewardship very seriously knowing that we all live in a world of challenges and opportunities. We see stewardship as a journey, a journey about how we live our lives out faithfully each day as Christians. We invite you to join us on this journey.
- Through the stewardship program of Grace Church, we have developed a number of resources to assist members in living out this journey of developing their holy habits of tithing, daily personal prayer and study, Sabbath time and weekly corporate worship. This includes educational programs throughout the year, preaching and worship that focus on stewardship and opportunities to examine your own approaches to personal and corporate stewardship. As a Parish family we also have our need to be responsible stewards. The parish relies on all of its members to share in the support of the costs of our programs of outreach and hospitality.
Grace Church as a Steward of its Resources
- Grace Church depends on the voluntary offerings of the parish to maintain the facilities, pay the staff and carry out the programs of the parish. Your contribution, large or small, helps keep the parish going.
- The total budget of the Grace Church 2007 program and ministry expenses is $398,731 or $884.85 per day.
- Our Music Program costs $34,008 per year. That’s $654.00 per week.
- Purchasing electricity, gas and trash removal services cost $27,300 per year.
- Staff health insurance increased this past year over 10%, totaling $23,184; in addition our expense for operating the Church building is over $49,150 per year.
- We tithe almost 10% of our income to support the Diocese and National Church.
- From the parish budget we spend over $12,200 on social justice and outreach activities.
- The average of the 85 pledges for 2007 is $ 1,963 annually or $37.75 per week.
- The top 5 pledges average $295.85 per week.
- The remaining 80 pledges average $25.20 per week.
- In order to responsibly plan for the financial needs of the Parish for the coming year, we rely on members making a "pledge" of financial support. Every Fall, the Finance Committee develops a budget for the upcoming year for Vestry approval. During the budget-making process, the plans and goals for the year are balanced against the expected income. Your pledge is the most important building block of the budget. At Grace Church, pledges account for about 47% of the budgeted operating income. Your pledge is extremely important!
What is a Pledge and why does my pledge mean so much to Grace Church?
- A pledge is your commitment of a certain amount of money to help this community grow. Grace Church is our spiritual home, and your pledge helps us extend that welcome to many, many others. Your pledge to Grace Church says, "I am a part of this community, and I want to show that this parish and its goals are important to me."
- Pledges are most useful when made as year-long commitments, and we encourage you to make your pledge for 2008 early—in October or November of 2007. Most people fulfill their pledges in installments, every week or every month, throughout the year. When you declare your pledge commitment early, it helps Grace Church to plan and to allocate for our increasingly diverse and growing range of ministries, both local and global, for the full year.
- Many people tell us that they feel deeply rewarded by making a pledge and committing to an intentional program of giving to the church. They say that kind of giving is a sort of spiritual discipline that helps them feel closer to God, and more closely linked to this community, its activities and ministries.
How do I decide how much to pledge?
- Your giving is as personal as your prayer, and only you can know what is right for you—at this stage of your journey, in your current financial circumstances, at this point in your overall life plan.
- The Stewardship Committee and Rector know that the idea of "pledging" may be new to many people in our community. They also know how important this kind of giving is—both to Grace Church and to you. We hope that you will feel free to ask any of the members of the committee to speak with you about pledging and the ways in which you might reflect prayerfully on your commitment to Grace Church. The important thing is to make a commitment; you'll find that as Grace Church grows, you are growing, too.
The Tithe and Proportional Giving
- Any regular, intentional giving of a specific amount of money is, in a way, "proportional" giving—the proportion may just be modest and even unconscious. The Bible states a specific obligation to "tithe"—that is, to give a tenth of what you have received from God back to God. One-tenth! Ten percent! The Bible sets the bar very high—maybe too high for most of us to think about at first.
- We urge you to begin your commitment to proportional giving with a small step: Promise to give two percent each year, or three. The average pledge to churches nationally is 2.6 percent of income, and maybe that's a good place to start. Some people here at Grace Church do "tithe"—a few even exceed the Biblical "tenth." The wonderful diversity in our community is reflected, in part, by our diverse attitudes toward (and comfort levels with) annual pledging and proportional giving.
Should I pledge to Grace Church?
- Only you can answer this question. Your pledge is a serious commitment to the parish: a promise that you intend to provide a certain level of financial support in the next year. You might feel that your situation makes it impossible to commit to a specific level of giving. On the other hand, your pledge is vital to Grace Church, because we depend on it to plan for the future.
One way to think about your 2008 pledge…
- Write down the amount of your 2007 Income:
It doesn't matter whether you use before-tax income or after; you decide. If you don't know how much your 2007 income will be, make a guess. Perhaps start with your 2006 income. Don't worry too much about this number. If your circumstances change, you can always adjust the amount of your pledge—down or up!
- Pick a Percentage:
Are you new to the idea of proportional giving? Try using the national average of 2.6%. Or if you have been giving for a while, take last year's percentage and try adding 1% to it. Or just pick some other percentage.
This is your pledge for 2008. If you want to pay in weekly installments, divide your total pledge number by 52, or if you wish to pay monthly, divide it by 12.
- How do you feel about this number?
- Is it in proportion to the importance of God in your life?
- Is it in proportion to the importance of Grace Church in your life?
- How is it in proportion to the other ways you spend money?
I get it! I want to pledge to Grace Church in 2009. What now?
- Think. Pray. Stretch. Commit to being a giver.
- If you are ready to complete your annual pledge card now, pick up a pledge card on the information table in the Parish Hall, or obtain a confidential pledge card from the parish office. This will be sent directly to the Chair of the, who is responsible for maintaining the pledge records and reporting only the total amount of pledges to the Finance Committee and Vestry. We thank you.