And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
(2 Corinthians 9:8)
Our Vision for Stewardship
Giving is fundamental to our spiritual experience at St. Stephen’s. As God’s children, God invites each of us to manage the resources entrusted to all of us, for all of us. We joyfully care for our church, each other, our local communities and our planet. As the church, we are God’s presence in the world. St. Stephen’s is a vibrant community, in which we worship together and share in a variety of ministries in Christ’s name. We are nourished by the support and loving encouragement that this community provides. In turn, we are challenged to sustain our wonderful parish and our programs, while being good stewards of our resources.
Why are our time, talent, and treasure needed?
Time (our participation), talent (our special skills), and treasure (our financial contributions) represent the primary ways each of us contributes to our St. Stephen’s family. Every contribution is vital to the life of our church, and each is gratefully received. We each need to consider prayerfully what measure of time, talent, and treasure we are capable of offering, and if possible commit to all three.
Why make a financial pledge?
We make a financial pledge for both spiritual and practical reasons. The Old and New Testaments both encourage us to give generously of what we have. The early church would never have survived without the generosity of her members. The only way our Vestry can develop a responsible budget each year is by knowing how much financial income we can expect from each of our member households. Pledging provides an opportunity to demonstrate gratitude and commitment to our parish and its mission. It connects us personally, through the sharing of time, talent, and treasure, to our St. Stephen’s community and to the larger Episcopal Church. For our ministries and programs to exist and thrive, St. Stephen’s needs each of us to commit ourselves generously.
How is financial pledge income used?
Each year our Vestry establishes and then approves a responsible budget plan based upon our financial pledges. Pledged income is used to support St. Stephen’s ministries, programs, and the operation of our properties.
Where do I start when considering how much to pledge?
Choosing a financial pledge amount is a personal endeavor that should be thoughtfully considered each and every year. If you are not currently pledging, then perhaps consider taking that first step, maybe choosing the cost of two cups of coffee per week as a starting point. Like all first steps, find a place in your comfort zone.
If you have committed to a pledge in the past, then you might consider the blessings you received this past year and what your life might be like if you were to take another step forward in your commitment. Maybe consider increasing your pledge by a specific amount. A simple approach is just to pick a percentage of your income, and start there. You may find it helpful just to think in terms of a specific amount each week, and then see how that translates into an annual pledge.
Reflecting the standard set forth in both the Old and New Testaments, the Episcopal Church asks us to recognize the tithe, 10% of our income, as a standard to aspire to and achieve for helping God’s work in the world. Few of us, however, are likely to begin tithing as a starting point. A more practical suggestion may be to use the tithe as a standard to work toward.
How can I keep up with a pledge given my other financial obligations?
The Biblical tradition of offering the “first fruits” of harvest to the Lord encourages us to give back to God first, ahead of other obligations. This practice requires a deep commitment. Practicing “first fruits” can be a useful discipline for helping us make sure that we meet our pledge toward God’s work.
Does my financial pledge really matter?
Absolutely! Regardless of the amount, your pledge matters to you and to St. Stephen’s. Making a financial commitment changes the way you feel about your church community. Your pledge will help St. Stephen’s achieve the income and pledge participation needed to provide for our programs and mission. Beyond that, each of us needs to recognize that St. Stephen’s collectively depends on our pledges, rather than assuming the church will get by on pledges from other people. To make your pledge online, simply click on the link under “Giving” in the sidebar at the left of this page.
What about Time and Talent?
Time and Talent, the first two of our three T’s, are just as important as Treasure. We give back to God the gifts God has given us in order to respond to God’s call in our church, community, and in the world. The rest of this website celebrates the fruits of our time and talent, which are supported by our treasure. We invite you to explore the rest of the site to see some of what God calls us to do.
We all have questions when it comes to prayerfully consider giving back to God in the form of pledging to God’s work at St. Stephen’s. Click here to download an incredibly helpful set of questions and answers compiled by the Stewardship Committee. The above questions and answers are only a piece of this larger FAQ.