This week we are forgoing the homily to allow the Stewardship Team to share a message about the Stewardship Campaign.
Good Morning Everyone: For those who don’t know me, my name is Barbara Coughlan and I’m part of the Stewardship Team. When Father Craig asked me to speak on behalf of pledging and what does pledging mean to me, I then had to go back many years prior to joining St. Peter’s and ask myself why I never made a pledge to my prior church. While I was married, my family attended a church for about 25 years and where my children received their sacraments. We would attend services every week and our monetary contribution was only through the offering plate. If you would ask me why only the offering plate and not a pledge, I am not able to give you an answer — simply I don’t know why. Perhaps I just considered the church only a place of worship and nothing more.
About 8 years ago DeWayne and I moved to this area and decided to do some church shopping. I prayed and asked God to lead me to a church that I can grow in. When I walked through the doors of St. Peter’s not only is it a historical church with such beauty but I was welcomed in a manner that made me feel like I found a new spiritual home. I felt it is not only a place of worship but it is a community of faith. I wanted to be a part of this. I got to know people, people got to know me, and soon it felt like a spiritual family. People cared and I have been “friended” by all of you. Shortly after joining St. Peter’s I was approached and asked if I would be part of the Hospitality committee. I then felt wanted. Now, why do I give money and why do I do that? It is because of all that I have mentioned to you I knew then that it was an important decision to make a commitment of financial support. Not only did we made our annual pledge, we also responded to raise our pledge in 2016 to bring our giving to the average pledge. On a more personal note, most of us has sacrificed something for our family, friends, our careers. DeWayne and I made a choice and we were willing to cut back on something in order to meet our obligation to St. Peter’s. I call it a sacrifice but it was a decision to make this offering to God. Making and keeping promises is an important spiritual discipline which fosters faithfulness. The budget is the foundation for planning. Pledging helps the church plan more wisely and anticipates what giving may look like
for the coming year.
With all that I have said, I ask the question Who are we? St Peter’s is self supporting. Our dollar support fits into the great scheme of things — Worship, music, administration and assessment, outreach, Sunday School, pastoral, community market, preschool. Pledging is an important spiritual exercise which allows you to reflect on the gifts God has given you and show your thanks for those gifts by giving back to the Church. The gifts are your time, talents and treasure make things happen at St. Peter’s. We bear a responsibility for the world around us. What we pledge supports people and organizations beyond St. Peter’s through the work of our clergy and staff, through the use of our building and through the outreach ministries we support. We want you to participate, we want you do do the best you can. Our mission is to welcome, serve all who enter our doors. All of what I have mentioned inspires me to pledge
“All things come from you O Lord and from your own have we given to you”. These words remind me that there is a very deep significance behind the giving of gifts in worship. As Christians we believe that we belong to the Lord. At times we all get lost. We take the wrong turn or we get stuck in a situation and don’t know how to get out. Some would say ”that’s what a GPS is for. True, and when you miss the turn or start going the wrong way it will usually say “recalculating” Isn’t that so much of life. We sometimes need to back track a little or alter our course always trying to listen to our inner GPS. That still small voice of the Holy Spirit inspires my efforts at recalculating. Each one of us has received blessings upon blessings. The question we have to ask ourselves is what we’re doing as stewards of those blessings and how we’re working to give back to God from all we’ve received. You’ve given me this beautiful space to share with you. My inner GPS leads me to be part of this wonderful community. Making a financial pledge is promising to give a specific dollar amount of your financial resources to operating budget of St. Peter’s over the course of a calendar year. It is a matter of saying, in a pledge, yes Lord, I will do this and it is a matter of following through. With faithful stewardship, truly we receive much more than we give. As each of us gives, we reap the benefits of generosity and faith. We grow closer to God. It is that simple. That is a first and important step for each of us on the path of gratitude and generosity. If you currently do not pledge but contribute by putting money into the Sunday offering plate, you might consider pledging a percentage of that amount this year. We do fervently urge you, however to pledge something and remember that each pledge is a treasure. You decide on your own schedule of payments whether it be weekly, monthly, annually or on some other timetable. You can pay your pledge by putting checks in the collection plate, pledge envelopes are available or automatic payments. You will be receiving an annual appeal letter around the beginning of October. The letter include a pledge card that is returned to the church by (Nov. 1. The card asks you to record the amount that you plan to donate to the operating budget of the church for the next calendar year, beginning January 1.
We are all in this together and we ask for your participation to support this Church.
Thank you and may God bless all of us. I would like to conclude with this little prayer. There is no light more bright than the light that shines within us because God placed it there.