We're blessed with more than we need. We do well to cultivate the virtue of thankfulness and express our gratitude to God through good works. The more we grow spiritually, the more we understand that all things belong to Him anyway. Nothing belongs to us. We're stewards of all that we've been given. Our response is that we give freely from the heart.
It goes without saying that giving to our parish shouldn't be construed as contributing to an organization, or as paying yearly dues. The Church isn't a club. That would be a rather low view of things. Generosity is more dignified than that.
The Church is a divine and human reality: a new creation, something new under the sun, the mystical Body of Christ, which cares about every human being and all of creation. We're the visible hands of God in our world. Let's keep the following in mind:
Our goal is to become a tithing community. This is how we'll bring a full-time priest to the parish. Tithing empowers the church to implement and grow ministries of outreach and evangelism. It also allows the parish to undertake beautifying our house of worship.
We base our stewardship on the biblical precept of tithing (Leviticus 17, Deuteronomy 12, et al.), not on fund raising. In the Old Testament, God's people were required to give 10% of their resources. Even Jesus gave in obedience to the Temple Law of tithing (Matthew 17:27). This is our standard.
Each year we strive to move closer to a biblical tithe. We prayerfully establish a fixed portion of our income and commit that portion to the church in the Stewardship Program.
That portion should represent our best. It isn't the amount per se, but that we truly give what we can, which is usually more than we think. Christ praised the widow who gave only two coins, pointing out that she offered more than the rich because she gave all of her livelihood (Luke 21:1-3).
So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
Give, and it will be given to you: a good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you (Luke 6:38).
We cannot possibly out-give the Holy Trinity. Generosity and thankfulness are natural responses to God in return for all that He's done for us.
Giving is an expression of faith, trusting that God is working through us as a community. Here are some of our principles:
God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).
The ministries and expenses of the parish are enabled through the faithfulness of its members. Thus, our giving forms the basis of planning and budgeting for parish growth and activities in the coming year.
We adhere to sound principles of responsible financial management -- spending or investing that which we receive from the base of all who give. But we don't overspend. The base of our stewards functions as a guide to how we establish our budget.
The annual budget is a tangible expression of our continuing vision for outreach and growth. The stewardship funds are the primary drivers moving these efforts. Here is an overview of our budget process:
Generosity is an expression of our love for Christ. We can't offer our whole life to Christ without offering our treasure for the sake of the Kingdom, and for the sake of the children of the King – our brothers and sisters in need.
If anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or speech, but in deed and in truth (I John. 3:17-18).
While participation in the Stewardship Program is a must in order to be considered a fully active member, anyone who's financial situation makes this a burden on the family has only to speak with the priest. Nothing else needs to be said. There are other ways to contribute.
We still encourage you to fill out and submit the Membership form. Full participation is the goal!