answers to frequently asked questions about supporting St. John’s
What is the deeper meaning of stewardship?
Stewardship is an expression of gratitude and thankfulness for the blessings of life that come from God. God is love shared and love returned. In practical terms, this means that we individually and collectively make gifts of financial resources and of time and talents to support the mission and ministry of this parish.
Why does St. John’s call stewardship a spiritual practice?
As with any endeavor, the more we practice, the better we become at the task we have set our minds to.
Through spiritual practice we can increase our awareness of the presence of God and become more open to God’s grace in our lives and others’. Spiritual practice includes worship, prayer, silent meditation, reading scripture and giving. Giving (financial stewardship) has numerous spiritual benefits.
Here are just three:
- Giving helps us better experience truth that we are indeed one in spirit.
- Stewardship reduces our attachment to things material. We learn that by giving away something we “have” really does not diminish us at all. Our needs continue to be met by God.
- Our willingness to give impacts our willingness to receive and our ability to accept God’s gifts.
Is my stewardship defined only by the money I give to the church?
Absolutely not. Time and service given to others is a critical component of stewardship. Our church can’t function without all three gifts of money, time, and service.
Why is making a pledge important?
Pledging yourself to any spiritual practice increases the likelihood that you will actually do it. In the autumn each year we ask you to commit to the practice of giving. We’re most concerned with your commitment to this practice.
Additionally, your vestry does its best to operate the church on a sound financial basis, and knowing what the church can expect in income enhances the vestry’s ability to plan responsibly.
How much should I give? Am I expected to tithe?
The most important thing is to make a pledge and gift that is meaningful to you, given your personal financial circumstances. Give till it feels good … really good.
The concept of tithing (giving 10% of your income) is rooted in scripture and Episcopal doctrine, yet in today’s world each of us receives appeals from many organizations and causes which fulfill important missions and require financial support. So, understandably, our “tithe” may include multiple organizations, many of which have large and broad donor bases.
Most of us wish our gift to make a real impact and since St. John’s has a potential donor base of 300 households, your gift to St. John’s makes a very large impact on our ability to fulfill the many important ministries in support of our parish and community.
Why do we hope that every member pledges?
For obvious reasons, it is so that each person experiences the gift of being in relationship to God.
The second reason is that we all expect the church to be here when we need it—baptisms, weddings, funerals, and, of course, every single Sunday of the year. Together as one body we have the joy and responsibility to fund its ministries.This year, we have been challenged in re-writing the ways that we stay in communion and minister to one another. Weekly trips to church for services, choir practice or any number of other ministries have had to find strength in more virtual settings. And we have had to make the church more accessible to all through added technologies and programs. Finally, we live in a changed world. In the not too distant past, wealthy donors were called upon to fund the church. That practice is dying out because many of those folks have gone on to their eternal reward. In addition, that practice deprives us all of the gift of stewardship.
What will our stewardship campaign look like during this pandemic period in 2020?
As we move into our 2020 fall pledge time for 2021 pledges, we are hoping to make this process as simple as possible for all of you. The theme for this year is Sustain. We know that this has been a challenging year for everyone and while we know that our costs will be increasing in the coming year, we hope that we can count on you in your discernment process to pledge the same as you did in last year’s campaign. We encourage you to continue the practice of prayer and discernment and if you feel called to sustain the pledge that you made for 2020, you have an additional option this year. If we do not hear from you by November 23, we will assume that your pledge is remaining the same for 2021 and you will receive an acknowledgment to that effect. However, we know that many of you prefer to complete pledge cards regardless of whether your 2021 pledge remains the same or not, and this is totally fine. If you do not receive a pledge card in the stewardship mailing, please feel free to contact the office to request a card.
How do I make and pay a pledge?
1. Fill out the pledge card which you receive in the mail, or request one from us by calling the office. You may also pledge online at stjohnscarlisle.org/support/
2. You may pay your pledge according to the schedule you select on the pledge card, via cash, check, our online payment link or by having your bank send your pledge by bank check to us by adding St. John’s as a preferred vendor on your bank’s online bill paying site (this incurs no charge to St. John’s). Remember that using ACH (automated funds transfer) as well as paying by charge card, incur a charge to St. John’s so that the full amount of your pledge is reduced by transaction fees. Please call Debbie Kendrick (717-448-6117) if you would like to learn more about ways to mitigate these charges.
How will my pledge be used?
To support the ministry and mission of St. John’s through our operating budget. This budget supports our staff, maintenance, and programs as well as the programs of the dioceses and the larger Episcopal Church. This budget enables us to tell the good news of Jesus Christ in a concrete way.
How does income from our endowed and dedicated use funds affect our budget?
About 75% of our annual income comes from pledging.
We draw about $70,000 per year from the “dedicated use funds,” funds established by donors for a specific purpose and mission that fund a specific budget line item, but may not be diverted to general operations.
Finally, we have a small portion of income from fundraisers, donations at Christmas and Easter, miscellaneous plate and Flower donations.