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Stewardship is all that we do, with all that we have, all the time. It is EVERTHING we do after we say “I believe.”
You are part of the strong and diverse community of faith that is St. Paul’s, over 100 years old, whose mission is to carry out the work and word of Jesus Christ. Over the last century, our predecessors laid a firm foundation of stewardship and service on which we must build: service to children, seniors, the developmentally disabled, and newcomers to our community. It is time for us to write our chapter of this story. With God’s help, the beloved community can become more than just a dream. How will you help us continue to write our story?
PLEDGING AND GIVING: What’s it all about?
At St. Paul’s, we know that financial stewardship is an important component of a balanced spiritual life. Returning to God from that which God has given us is a tangible way to express our faith. When each of us gives as we are able, we fund ministry within our parish, to the East Bay Community, and to the world. Together, when we all pledge, we grow into our full potential as the body of Christ.
WHAT IS A PLEDGE?
A pledge is an estimate of giving; some call it a statement of intent.
WHY SHOULD I PLEDGE?
Pledging allows you to make intentional decisions about your financial giving. When you plan ahead for your giving, you make conscious choices about spending your money in ways that reflect your faith and values. Receiving your pledge allows our Vestry, the church’s governing board, to do for our parish community what you do for your household: plan wisely for the use our resources in support of the mission and ministry to which God has called us. The Vestry sets a budget based on the total amount pledged to the church. While plate offerings are important to the parish, your pledge lets the Vestry plan more accurately for the ministry we can accomplish.
HOW DO I MAKE A PLEDGE?
Pledges may be made at any time by completing a pledge card and placing it in the plate, handing it to a clergy member, or mailing it to the parish office.
HOW DO I PAY MY PLEDGE?
You may pay weekly, monthly, quarterly, or yearly via cash, checks, credit card, or electronic fund transfer (EFT). You may initiate your own credit card payments via Paypal. You may also pay your pledge with a donation of stock. Many companies have matching funds for charitable donations. If your company has such a plan, please let us know.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PLEDGE?
Determining the amount of your annual pledge is between you and God. However, as you make this important decision, reflecting on your vision of stewardship may be beneficial. Bishop Claude Payne, retired Bishop of Texas, has a helpful perspective on a common maturation of the Christian Vision of Stewardship. Bishop Payne suggests that we consider our personal vision of stewardship in terms of a spectrum:
- I give because I am supposed to give — a sense of duty
- I give to pay my own way — a sense of fairness
- I give to return a portion of my blessings — a sense of gratitude
- I give to keep church ministries free to all — a sense of generosity
There is no secret as to how you move along this progression. However, when you push yourself to another level, you will find your faithfulness expanding as well.
WHAT IS PROPORTIONATE GIVING?
St. Paul’s is committed to proportional giving, with the goal of tithing (10% of your income). If you are not pledging 10%, pledge a lower percentage and consider increasing your pledge each year. We ask that you prayerfully consider what level of giving is right for you and your family.
DOES MY PLEDGE REALLY MATTER?
Where you start or whether you tithe on your annual or gross income is not nearly as important as simply making your first pledge. Every pledge makes a difference, regardless of the amount.
WHAT IF I MAKE A PLEDGE BUT LATER FIND I CAN’T PAY IT IN FULL?
A pledge is an estimate to help church budgeting; it is not a legal or moral obligation. Your pledge amount may be changed, increased or decreased during the year, at any time as your financial circumstances change. Please don’t let your uncertainty prevent you from making a pledge. If you have financial difficulties or other unexpected events, you may notify our bookkeeper, Joan Clerk, at 834-4314 x505.
IS MY PLEDGE CONFIDENTIAL?
Yes. Members of the stewardship committee may be advised as to whether a pledge has been received in order to follow up, but pledge amounts are not shared.
If you have more questions about financial stewardship or tithing, your clergy, member of the vestry or stewardship committee are happy to talk with you.