Jesus’ message to us about how we use our resources is one of the most challenging elements of the Gospel. The ministry of Stewardship is an invitation to take up this challenge. When we are generous, we acknowledge the abundance in our lives – and our confidence in God’s bounty. And when we give to St. Margaret’s, we claim this community for our own with its rich tradition of hospitality and service, and its extraordinary potential.
If we follow the tradition of the “tithe,” our challenge is to give 10 percent of our (pre-tax) earnings to support God’s work. That’s hard to do overnight, but many of us at St. Margaret’s start the journey by giving 2 percent and then try to increase that percentage each year. Nothing about that journey seems easy – unless we start by acknowledging the abundance of gifts and resources we have been given.
Each fall, the Stewardship Committee sponsors a pledge drive, asking parishioners to make a pledge for the following year. These pledges help the Vestry build a budget, as our fiscal year is the same as the calendar year. Pledges can be paid in a single gift or transfer of stock, as a recurring charge to your bank card, as a scheduled direct debit from your bank account, or they can be paid throughout the year by putting cash or checks in the offering plate in special envelopes provided for that purpose.
You can also support St. Margaret’s financially through planned giving. A planned gift might be in the form of a bequest, a trust, or by naming St. Margaret’s as the beneficiary of an insurance policy or a retirement account. These commitments support St. Margaret’s in the long term and are gratefully received.
Frequently Asked Questions about Stewardship
Here are the answers to some questions that may arise as you consider making an annual gift to St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church.
I’m not sure what I can afford this year. How can I pledge?
A pledge can be adjusted throughout the year if your circumstances change. We suggest that you pledge responsibly, based on your best estimate of the year’s income. A pledge can be increased or decreased if your circumstances change.
Why should I pledge when I regularly put money in the offering plate?
Loose funds collected each week do help to support the ongoing life of the parish. However, pledges are very important because they enable us to plan responsibly and to establish a parish operating budget for the coming year.
Do I have to pay when I pledge? Can I pay in installments?
Returning your pledge card is simply a promise to pay. Once you’ve made your pledge, you can fulfill it in as many payments as you wish throughout the year. The pledge secretary can provide you with weekly pledge envelope designed to help you with your payments.
When should I return my annual pledge card?
Pledges are actively gathered on All Saints Sunday in November, but they are gratefully received throughout the year.
How can I pay my annual pledge?
St. Margaret’s accepts cash (when included in a pledge envelope), checks, MasterCard, or Visa. If you use a credit card, consider adding an additional three percent to your pledge to cover bank processing costs. You can use the blue donation button above to set up payments from your credit card.
You may also make a pledge payment of stock or other securities. In most cases, such a pledge payment may be considered a charitable deduction to avoid capital gains on the appreciation of the stock. Please contact the church office to learn how to make a gift of securities.
Can my company match my gift?
Corporate matching gifts are welcome. St. Margaret’s has set aside a special account for funds to be used for non-religious purposes to allow companies that are unable to give to churches to help support St. Margaret’s work in the community. If you think your employer might be willing to provide matching gifts, please contact the church office to make arrangements.
What does it mean to give proportionately?
Proportional giving is based on the premise that the first fruits are given back to God in grateful response to what God has given us. It refers to a conscious effort to determine an appropriate level of giving. We ask each parishioner to consider making an annual pledge in proportion to income. It is the teaching of the Episcopal Church and the biblical norm to give 10 percent of one’s income.
How much should I give with an annual pledge?
We believe strongly that our standard of giving should reflect our standard of living. We ask each parishioner to consider making a pledge that is both responsible and significant based on his or her financial situation.
How does annual pledging fit in the ministry of stewardship?
Annual pledges are just one part of the practice of generosity and stewardship that undergirds our parish life. An annual pledge supports St. Margaret’s annual budget. Planned giving is a gift or series of gifts that can help secure the church’s ministries beyond our individual lifetimes. Special gifts fund additional parish priorities such as building renovation, community outreach, and program and endowment support.
Why are annual pledges important?
Annual pledges support everything we do and are at St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church. Our yearly budget is driven by the generosity of our parishioners through annual pledges. These pledges support all the operating costs of our ministry programs as well as our building and staff operations, and expenses such as heating, outreach grants, worship leaflets, and nursery caregivers.
Download your 2017 Pledge Card here!
If you plan to give stock or securities to the church, please contact the parish office for details about the process.