Stewardship

  Stewardship  

What is "Stewardship?"

At its most basic it is how we care for the gifts we have received from God. It means taking care of our environment, of other people, and of ourselves. Part of stewardship is returning some of our gifts the traditional time, talent and treasure to God's work through the church. We make these commitments to bring us into a closer relationship with God by participating in His work.  Unlike a nursery co-op or even a health club, we are not billed for dues and we are not asked to pay our fair share. God has given us everything, and there's no way we could repay that.

At various times of the year, the church asks people to commit their time and talent to various projects. Sunday school teaching, coffee hour, reading lessons, ushering, helping deliver food baskets to the needy and writing Amnesty International letters are just a few of the many ways we may be called in stewardship.

But during the Stewardship Campaign, we ask specifically for commitments to the stewardship of financial resources. We ask that every member of the church make a financial commitment as a part of their participation in our community.  To pledge, fill out a pledge card and drop it in the offering plate during service or drop it by the church office.

What we do

Our staff are a part of every ministry we have, but there are other expenses involved in these ministries. They are:

Outreach:

  • Assessment to Diocesan outreach

  • Interfaith Hospitality Network

  • Holiday ingatherings for needy families

  • Rebuilding Together construction

  • Hope and Home

Pastoral Care: prayer groups, visits, emergency meals, cards, caring community.

Christian Education: Sunday School, adult, children and youth education.

Fellowship: Coffee hours, potlucks, foyer groups, newcomer ministry, parish picnic.

Worship: Training, rehearsing, planning our worship services, altar guild, acolytes.

Communication: Bulletins, newsletter, web site, computers, parish directory.

Buildings and Grounds: Necessary maintenance and upkeep of our church, parish hall, rectory and gardens.

Proportional giving

The most frequently asked question, of course, is how much? For many years, our vestry has been committed to the concept of proportional giving with 10 percent (the Biblical tithe) of gross income as our goal. We use the idea of proportional giving, rather than a flat sum, because we think it's important to think about the relationship of what you give as a portion of all that you have received. With a proportion, it's easier to see progress toward the 10 percent goal as you increase your pledge every year.

How we spend

It's also important to think about how the money will be used. Stewardship is about making sure our resources are used the way they should be. At Epiphany, as for most churches, most of our budget is for paying staff. We have two full-time clergy, one full-time staff member, two part-time staff members and several volunteers.

Although the budget for each year cannot be finalized until we know what our pledge income will be, it is vital that we maintain our current level of service and activities while incorporating cost of living increases and other anticipated expenses.

A word about confidentiality

The church considers your pledge a sacred trust.

We make every effort to make sure the amount is known only to those who need to know it. That includes our bookkeeper, who sends out quarterly statements; and our rector who keeps track for pastoral purposes. A change in giving patterns may be a sign of a significant alteration in a parish member's life that the rector needs to know about.

Members of the clergy, the vestry and Stewardship Committee are available to discuss the general concepts of pledging. Most of us find pledging a deeply personal expression of our participation in God's work, which the church honors with respect and care.