Some Frequently Questions about Pledging
At this point you may still have many questions about pledging before you are ready to make your commitment to All Saints’. Since you may not have a chance to discuss your concerns at length with a member of the Stewardship Committee, below are some questions that frequently come up, with some hopefully helpful answers.
Why should I pledge?
Spiritually, because stewardship concerns our relationship with God; it allows us the chance to let go of some of our earthly possessions and experience the joy that comes from trusting God. Physically, because your pledge helps pay for the expenses of our church and any additional outreach we give as community.
How much should I pledge?
We all have competing demands for our money. The most worthwhile and important of those demands usually involve some sacrifice, such as education and our homes. Are those things equivalent to the biblical tithe of 10%? Indeed, they may be much more. As we pray to God for guidance on this subject, therefore, a good place to start may be to compare the church and our spiritual life to those other things for which we make financial sacrifice and find the measure of our pledge there. With God’s help, it will be clear.
How do I pledge?
Fill out a pledge card and either mail it back to the church or drop it in the offering plate on Sunday. Or hand it to an usher. It will all get to the same place. If, for any reason, there is no pledge card in your envelope there are plenty on the tables in the back of the church. The ushers can hand them to you.
Do I need to bother with envelopes each Sunday?
The pledge card makes clear that you can budget to remit your pledge annually or quarterly or weekly. If weekly, we encourage you to use the offering envelopes. It really helps with the bookkeeping.
I can never be sure what to pledge so I just put money in the offering plate each Sunday. Isn’t that good enough?
It’s good, but, it could be better. The church cannot be as flexible about its expenses. We need to budget and to plan. So, think about what you might normally put in the plate – or what you have normally put in the plate over the years – and write it down in the form of a pledge. Since cash contributions put in the plate cannot be attributed to an individual or family, they do not make you eligible to vote at the Annual Meeting. Pledging makes this easy, for it can easily be seen that you have made recorded contributions to the Church.
Why is it important that I be a pledging member of the church at Annual Meeting?
You must be a member of All Saints’ Episcopal Church to vote at the Annual Meeting and, according to our by-laws, membership requires that you pledge to attend and make a financial contribution. Filling out and returning your pledge card records you as a member. If you pledged for the current year and have contributed toward that pledge, you will be eligible to vote at the next Annual Meeting.
When is my pledge due?
We would like to have all our pledges, if possible, by the First Sunday in Advent. That gives us time to incorporate your pledges into the budgeting process.
I prefer to pledge anonymously.
The amount you pledge will always be kept strictly confidential, with that information available only to the Treasurer and Parish Administrator, who must keep accounts, and the Stewardship Chairperson, who must raise the money. The clergy prefer not to know who gives what. The fact that you have pledged, however, is part of the open record of the church, on display at each Annual Meeting, and is useful additionally for measuring the growth of our church community, representing to the Diocese the degree of involvement of parish members, etc. We want you and all of us to be counted as faithful parishioners of All Saints’ Episcopal Church.
How is the money used?
In a nutshell, pledge income pays for the active ministries of the parish, pays to keep the lights on and the doors open. In other words members of the Parish, give, mostly through pledging, pay for the clergy, the music, the church school. The church takes from the Endowment to pay for the largely fixed expenses that keep the place open whether there were anyone in the pews or not – our building’s very substantial need for ongoing repair and maintenance, heat and light, our Diocesan assessment, and office and bookkeeping functions.
How can I keep track of my pledge?
The parish office will help you keep track of your pledge donations. A statement will be mailed to you in April, July, October, and early in December, with a record of your pledge and donations. And, of course, every January the parish office will send you a statement for tax purposes.
A Stewardship Prayer
Oh Lord, giver of life and source of our freedom, we are reminded that Yours is the earth in its fullness; the world and those who dwell in it. We know that it is from your hand that we have received all we have and are and will be. Gracious and loving God, we understand that you call us to be the stewards of Your abundance, the caretakers of all you have entrusted to us. Help us always to use your gifts wisely and teach us to share them generously. May our faithful stewardship bear witness to the love of Christ in our lives. We pray this with grateful hearts in Jesus’ name. Amen.