PLANT THE SEED – GROW THE PARISH
“All shall give as they are able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God that He has given you.” The Book of Deuteronomy 16:7.
January is Pledge Month at St. George. Each year every parishioner is asked to make a pledge of financial support to the parish. Our pledge is part of the requirement for membership in the parish. Parish membership implies that we participate in the Liturgical life of the parish, receive the Sacraments and pledge to the financial stability of St. George Church. The St. George Pledge Program allows us to fulfill our financial responsibility to our faith community. In order to achieve a sound and solvent financial picture with a balanced budget, it is essential that everyone contribute honestly and generously. Each of us is the seed that together grows the Church. “With every gift show a cheerful face, and dedicate your offering with gladness.” The Book of Sirach 35:11.
Last month, our Ways and Means Committee prepared our projected budget for 2019. This budget was reviewed and approved by the Parish Council at our 17 December meeting. At our Annual Parish Meeting on Sunday 10 March, this budget will be presented to the parish membership for official approval.
This year our budget runs around $560,000. It takes about $47,000 a month to keep the Church open. With a current parish census of 1569 people, each person would need to contribute $357 in order to meet the budget. We know this isn’t realistic so we rely on pledging units – a household – a family – parents and children together – to offer their one pledge. A family of two adults and three children constitutes one pledging unit. A single adult living alone is also considered a pledging unit. The two pledge amounts will not necessarily be equal, but each will plant their own seed so that the Church might grow.
This year we budgeted a pledge revenue of $265,000. Presently, St. George parish consists of 611 units eligible to pledge. If every unit pledged $435 a year [$36 each month] we would meet this budgeted pledge amount. If every unit gave just $915 a year we could meet our entire 2019 budget. We should all think seriously about our own place in this financial picture and plant our seed accordingly.
Unfortunately, nearly one third of our households pledge nothing at all to the church. Thankfully, one hundred households are pledging in the $500 to $1,000 range. Thanks be to God, there are seventy six additional households pledging in the $1,001 and over category, with five of them offering over $5,000 per year.
Our financial support of the parish is not an option, it is our God given responsibility. “When you collect money for the work of God’s people, I want you to do this…Each Sunday; each of you must put aside part of what you have earned.” St. Paul in 1 Corinthians 16:2. The Bible asks each of us to prayerfully consider the amount we intend to pledge in thanksgiving for the blessings we enjoy. The seed we plant represents our thanks to Almighty God.
Each of us will receive a series of letters explaining the Pledge Program along with a Pledge Form. This year we included a pie-chart break out of our financial profile, we all need to take a good look at it and decide how we will grow the ‘Pledges’ slice of the St. George pie. This illustrative chart is posted on the main bulletin board, we will add a ‘Pledge Thermometer’ and an updated list all pledge range categories as they are received so that parishioners can monitor the success of the program. This will also be published in the weekly ‘Bulletin’, the monthly ‘Messenger’ and on-line at our web site.
We should all read the letter and pamphlet carefully and discuss our pledge with our family members. We should complete the Pledge Form and return it promptly to the Church. “Each of you must make up your own mind about how much to give. But don’t feel sorry that you must give and don’t feel that you are forced to give. God loves people who love to give.”
St. Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:7.
The St. George Pledge Program offers us a truly Christian way of giving. Our open and freewill pledge is the best way for us to support the parish and meet our financial obligations. Our pledge is a symbol of the love and gratitude we have for our community and the faith we place in our mission as a parish. We give generously because we believe in the mission and work of the parish. Our pledge to the work of the Church is an extension of our own hopes and aspirations. Our gift to the parish advances the goals we have set for ourselves, our families and our parish.
Our pledge to God’s Holy Church is our response to the blessings we have received. Our wise use of the gifts and talents God has given us makes it possible for the parish to live up to its vocation as the Body of Christ. With our pledge, we are able to minister, to teach and to heal in this challenging world.
The mission of the Church and the success of St. George parish is impossible without our loving and generous support. We love God and recognize all He is doing in our lives. In thanksgiving, we are asked to share an honest portion of our wealth to support His community. The St. George Pledge Program asks that our level of support is proportionate to the gifts and blessings we have received. Pray earnestly, give generously. May God continue to Bless us in all good things as we plant the seed that grows His Holy Church.
Blessings, Fr. +Timothy