Stewardship Renewal 2017
St Margaret's church is playing an increasingly active role in many peoples' lives. As members of the congregation it has always done so. We are starting to see new members of the congregation (often with young families) making room for St Margaret's in their lives. The church is also reaching out to more people outside the congregation via the Junk Food Café, Craft Aid, concerts and social events (e.g. monthly afternoon teas). It is alive! It is vibrant! But it isn't free.
Like any organisation, the church needs money to cover the basics (e.g. wages, office supplies, heating) and money to cover religious activities (e.g. services, choir). Some of this money comes from fund raising and the parish centre but the overwhelming share comes from the congregation.
During June 2017 there will be a stewardship renewal at St Margaret's focussing on giving. This will ask us three basic questions:
- The value that St Margaret's has in our lives.
- To review our giving to see if we can increase or give smarter (e.g. gift aid, standing order).
- To decide what giving to the church means to us.
What does our church do for us and for the community in Horsforth?
St Margaret’s costs money to run: our clergy must be paid; the church buildings maintained; activities funded. It costs £2700 a week to do this. Currently St Margaret’s only has £2000 a week coming in, so we need £700 more.
Some of our money comes from fund raising and the parish centre, but most comes directly from the congregation as giving.
The sale of the church hall has provided a temporary way to cover the weekly difference between income and costs. What happens when this money runs out? Instead we need to invest in our church to make it sustainable; ensuring that St Margaret’s has a future.
Let us look at the last year’s planned giving.
The bottom rungs of our giving ladder are sagging under the number of people on them. Can we give a little more and climb up to the next rung?
We need to cultivate what St Paul calls the grace of giving. We need to think carefully about all we receive from God and prayerfully review our giving.
“But just as you excel in everything ... see that you also excel in this grace of giving”
2 Corinthians 8:7
The Church of England encourages members to work towards a giving target of 5% of net income to and through the Church, with a further 5% to other charities and mission organisations.
“Do not let your hand be stretched out to receive and closed when it is time to give.”
What could you do with £5?
An extra £5 a week from everyone would fix our money problems. Would we miss it?
There is no one, easy answer for everyone. We are called to love God and our neighbour, and our giving is an expression of that love.
- increase our giving to meet our church’s needs;
- give proportionately – a percentage of our income given to fund ministry;
- join the planned giving scheme with weekly envelopes or a standing order;
- optimise our giving using Gift Aid if we pay tax
- make a legacy gift when we plan for the future of those we love and care for.
How much to give is a thoughtful, prayerful decision only we can make individually. Love is generous, love is kind and love is selfless – we see that in all God gives to us; how will we respond?
Lord, accept our service and our giving to your church as a mere token of the love you give us day after day.