Stewardship 3: Pledging
This week you should receive a letter and a pledge card for the church’s stewardship campaign, which concludes with a dedication of our pledges on Nov. 19. I have already written about the church’s budget process and offered ten reasons that you might want to support the church financially.
Now, here are two reasons for you to make a commitment to that financial support by making a pledge.
The first reason to pledge is very practical. As I wrote a month ago, the Cabinet draws up a budget and presents it to the congregational meeting every January. It includes everything from salaries to organ repair to mission to garbage removal. We can’t approve those expenses, however, until we’re pretty sure we’ll be able to pay the bills with the income we’re going to receive over the course of the year. The more pledges we receive, the more confident we can be that we can carry out the church’s work. So, pledging is good for the church.
The second reason to pledge is pretty spiritual. When we join the church, we are making a commitment to this community of God’s people. We demonstrate that commitment—demonstrate it to God, to each other, and to ourselves—in lots of ways: prayer, caring for other members, taking leadership, singing along, and supporting our shared mission through giving. That commitment, we hope, is a year-round, consistent, come-what-may thing, not a whenever-I-feel-like-it thing. Our pledge shows our commitment. So, pledging is good for us, too.
You may have never pledged before. Maybe you are a student or saddled with college debt. That’s OK—not everyone makes a big pledge. Or maybe you are worried that you will not be able to fulfill your pledge. That’s OK, too—a pledge is not a contract, and we won’t hold you to it.
In the 1930s, in the depth of the Great Depression, the leaders of First Methodist Church in Ames, Iowa, published a list naming every member—adults and children—and specifying what they were expected to give to the church that year—to the cent. We do not do that. What you give is up to you. But we hope that you will consider pledging. It will help the church budget for the next year, and will help you make a commitment to this community of faith.
EVENTS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Stewardship Campaign—The pledge mailing was sent to all members and friends this week, and we hope you will make your 2018 pledge by Sunday, 11/19. Our 2018 budget calls for an 8% increase in pledges, primarily due to the ongoing repairs and maintenance of our historic (almost 100-year-old!) building. If you have any questions, please contact Lisa Jenkins: firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Waking Up White,” 10/29—We’ll gather after worship to discuss Debbie Irving’s excellent memoir about race. In her words: “This is the book I wish someone had handed me decades ago. My hope is that by sharing my sometimes cringe-worthy struggle to understand racism and racial tensions, I offer a fresh perspective on bias, stereotypes, manners, and tolerance.” You’re welcome to join this interesting conversation whether you’ve read the book or not!
Walk to End Homelessness, 11/4—Join our Confirmation/Coming of Age Class for this walk beginning and ending at the Lincoln Memorial (10:30 am-Noon). To register with our Cleveland Park Team and/or donate, see the Friendship Walk link in Thursday’s Moderator’s Memo.
Art Exhibit & Charity Auction, 11/11—Join us from 5 to 7 pm for an Art Exhibit featuring Don Clarke and other local artists. There will be a Silent Auction to raise funds for Joseph’s House (hospice care for those who are homeless) and we’ll enjoy a wine and cheese reception, accompanied by live music. Questions? email@example.com.
100th Anniversary Kick Off, 11/12—Our congregational charter is dated November 1917. We’ll kick off a year of 100th Anniversary events with a special service, followed by a Coffee Hour Conversation on the many fabulous decades of our church led by our very own historian, Richard Bambach.