Before I write another word, I want to thank you for your faithful financial support of Ascension’s ministries during 2021. As a community, we continued church online despite many obstacles, we built new systems, gathered outdoors, welcomed new people, offered creative ways for people to deepen their faith and serve the wider community. Your involvement and hope of Good News made all of that possible. Thank you!
Above is a phrase Jesus used in response to the disciples question, “What must I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus replied, “give it all you’ve got” (Matthew 19: 21-22, The Message translation). For the next couple weeks, you will receive a message from parishioners about why they financially give to Ascension. These messages are intended to be yet another chance for you to learn how your peers come to their decisions about pledging and for you to start asking questions:
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What is my family’s attitude toward money? Why do I give? What is enough money for me? What difference has giving made?
I offer my reflection on these questions. In 1986, a parish rector invited me to give a portion of my allowance to the church. He advised that starting to give at an early age would become a spiritual habit as I got older. In 2001, I pledged $1,500 a month to St. Michael’s Episcopal in Brattleboro, Vermont. It was the first time I had ever given such a large amount, 10% of my net income and that decision felt significant. That is when I finally began to take seriously my involvement in church life. When Mike and I married, we decided that our goal is to give 10% of our income to our local parish and 2% to other charitable giving.
Because I have enough to live on and want there to be enough for everyone, I give to create a collective good. I, specifically, give to the Episcopal Church of the Ascension to connect my concern for the common good to this spiritual value and delight when I see changes in my local community.
If we think about our commitment to ministry as the “first fruits of labor” being returned to God, we are living out a solid theology of stewardship. Giving it all you’ve got has involuntarily been required from us this year. As the COVID pandemic continues fatigue, confusion and division runs high. I genuinely believe that giving is an antidote to emotional stress. Giving liberates me from my money. Giving reminds me what I value at Ascension: cheerful spaces of worship, friendly community, safety, service, learning, personalized pastoral care and growth.
There is no obligation to give. Your willingness to show up and be part of Ascension is the very best gift you can give. To sustain the new energy at Ascension we invite you to contribute. The amount that you contribute monthly, in the form of a pledge, to your faith community allows us wisely plan our 2022 budget.
A pledge is a commitment by you to give a stated amount to St. Mary’s for the following year – usually in monthly payments (or weekly or quarterly, if that works better for you).
My income varies, so how do I calculate how much to pledge?
A pledge is your commitment to be in support of your church. While income is not always predictable, a pledge is an indication that there is a minimum amount you would like to commit. If you decide to make more of a contribution because of higher income, that is welcomed.
How much does the Church of the Ascension receive from the Episcopal Church?
Nothing. In fact, Church of the Ascension makes an annual pledge, quite a substantial percentage of our budget, to the Diocese of Olympia every year.
I understand Church of the Ascension prefers that I make a pledge rather than putting money in the plate each Sunday – Why?
Quite simply, Church of the Ascension can rely on your pledge as predictable income – whether you happen to be at church that Sunday or not. This enables us to accurately budget for the coming year’s expenses in all that we are called to do.
What is an appropriate pledge?
The amount of your pledge is between you and God and will obviously be determined by your income (see Proportional Giving chart below).
How do I make a pledge?
You can complete the pledge card mailed to you along with the Narrative Budget, mail it to Church of the Ascension, drop it in the offertory plate or join with the rest of our community on Sunday, NEED A DATE HERE and place your pledge in the offertory plate for the annual ingathering.