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.
And 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.
How do I make and pay a pledge?
1. Fill out the pledge card which you receive in the mail or pick up in the cloister, or pledge online at stjohnscarlisle.org/support/pledge/
2. You may pay your pledge according to the schedule you select on the pledge card, via cash, check or our online payment link.
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.
What is the difference between the Raise the Roof campaign and the annual stewardship drive?
The annual stewardship campaign is the single most important fundraising that we do in any given year and we hope that each year, all of you will make the commitment to this important spiritual discipline. Stewardship provides the funds ensuring robust daily mission and ministries.
The Raise the Roof campaign is a once in a lifetime ask and is about preserving our heritage as represented by a lovely and historic church building.
While we hope that you may be able to contribute to this upcoming campaign, our annual stewardship drive really is the priority. That is the funding that we need to keep the lights on, pay the bills, and ensure that all of the programs that we do continue to thrive.