Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
Stewardship means taking care of something that belongs to someone else.
For us in the church, stewardship is rooted in scripture, recognizing that we, as individuals, are not owners of our lives but rather are stewards of it. We recognize that everything we have and everything we are is a gift from God. Realizing that everything we are and have is a gift, each of us offers it back to God in gratitude and faith trusting that God can do infinitely more than we can imagine.
Practically, this means making gifts of financial resources as well as time and abilities to support the mission and ministry of our church. Before practicality, though, stewardship is always first and foremost a spiritual practice born of gratitude. Any spiritual practice is based on faith–faith that an act repeated regularly will increase our awareness of the presence of God and will gradually remove from our lives the walls we erect that block God’s grace.
These are just some of the numerous spiritual benefits stewardship can yield when we practice it regularly:
A Note from Melesa+
This year our Stewardship Campaign for 2023 is based on Paul's letter to the church in Colossae. Rooted and built up in Jesus; established in the faith, as we were taught; and abounding in thanksgiving. These are the words Paul uses to paint a picture of what it means to walk in Christ Jesus – to be alive in Christ. As I think back to last fall when I was meeting with the Search Committee as we together discerned where and how God was leading, I was time and time again inspired by the faithfulness of the people who call our parish home. Now as we have begun a new season of ministry together, continued to walk the wobbly terrain of pandemic, and shared many joys and losses together, I continue to be touched by all the ways in which this community is indeed alive in Christ.
As we look to 2023, I ask that you prayerfully consider making a financial commitment to support the ministry of this parish that reflects the ways in which God is calling you to walk in Christ. Earlier in his letter, Paul describes Christ as, “before all things, and in him all things hold together.” When we speak of being rooted in Jesus, this is the rich soil from which we grow and are sustained. It is through being rooted in Jesus that we discover we have all that we need. We give not out of our own resources but out of the abundance in which God has given to us.
Over the next several weeks you will be receiving a few additional letters and hearing from fellow parish members about how this practice of stewardship, giving of one’s resources, has impacted their lives. I ask that you spend time in reflection and prayer as you discern how God might be calling you to give in this season. The funds generated by our annual stewardship campaign serve as the foundation for the church’s budget in the following year. Still, more importantly, the spiritual practice of stewardship shapes us into a people who bear witness to and live out of the abundance and generosity of our God. Our acts of stewardship nudge us to be rooted in Jesus, and as a result, abound in thanksgiving.
In a future mailing you will receive a pledge card that can be used to indicate your financial pledge for the 2023 calendar year. We are intentionally waiting to mail these to encourage each of us to prayerfully consider how God is leading us to give. On Sunday, November 13th, we will gather and bless all of the pledge cards we have received at the altar as we again proclaim that we indeed have been made alive in Christ as a people rooted in Jesus, established in faith, and abounding in thanksgiving.
Grace and peace,
WHAT IS A PLEDGE?
When we say ‘pledge’ at St. Thomas, what we mean is a financial promise. Our pledge is our promise to support the mission and ministry for the upcoming calendar year as stewards of God’s generosity. We ask every household to consider making a pledge, no matter the size. The vestry depends on pledge commitments in order to accurately prepare an operating budget that meets the needs of our ministry efforts and day-to-day operations for the year.
HOW IS A PLEDGE DIFFERENT FROM PUTTING MONEY IN THE OFFERING PLATE?
Any donation will benefit the ministries of St. Thomas, and we are grateful for generosity of all kinds. A pledge, however, has some added benefits to the church, and helps the parish be a good steward of its own resources. Through your pledges, the vestry has the information they need to prepare an accurate, balanced budget for 2023, and make decisions for staffing, programs, and maintenance.
HOW MUCH SHOULD I PLEDGE?
The amount of your pledge is a prayerful decision between you, your household, and God. You might begin reflection by looking at how your spending reflects what you value. Everyone’s circumstances are different, and as the Apostle Paul says, “Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Cor 9:7). What amount will not be coerced through guilt or shame, but given in joy, freedom, and generosity? Some parishioners commit to the biblical model of giving, which is 10%. Others choose to grow their habit slowly, increasing their pledge each year by an incremental percentage. Some reflect on what small sacrifice they might make this year— the cost of one dinner out per month, the equivalent of streaming services— to build on their pledge. Last year, pledges at St. Thomas ranged from about $5 a week to just over $300 a week. There is no wrong answer, and no amount too small.
WILL MY PLEDGE MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
Yes! Every dollar, every hour of service, every offering of love and prayer is of infinite value to our church community. Your generosity, no matter the size, is a blessing to your church home.
IS MY PLEDGE TAX DEDUCTIBLE?
Absolutely! St. Thomas provides a receipt at year-end for your tax-deductible contributions for that year, but only if you pay by check, credit card, bank draft, online, stocks or use a pledge envelope for cash so that we can accurately credit your account with each gift.
IS MY PLEDGE CONFIDENTIAL?
For purposes of record keeping and accounting, only the parish administrator, treasurer and rector see your gift amount. For the purposes of thank you notes or follow up calls, the vestry may see the list of names of pledging families on occasion, but never the amount.