Living Faith & Life Together — Stewardship 2023
What is stewardship?
Stewardship is an expression of gratitude and thankfulness for the blessings of life that come from God. It is love shared and love returned. A life lived in gratitude is a life lived in love.
Why does the Parish of the Epiphany call stewardship a spiritual practice?
Any spiritual practice is based on faith—faith that the act repeated regularly will increase our awareness of the presence of God and will gradually remove from our lives walls we erect that block God’s grace. Spiritual practices include worship, prayer, silence and meditation, contemplation, reading scripture, and giving. Giving (financial stewardship is our focus here) has numerous spiritual benefits. Here are just three:
Is my stewardship defined only by the money I give to the church?
Absolutely not. Time and service given to others is a critical component of stewardship. Our church and the broader community can’t function without these gifts of time and service.
Why is my pledge important?
Two reasons. First, pledging yourself to any spiritual practice increases the likelihood that you will actually do it. In the fall each year we ask you to commit to the practice of giving. We’re most concerned with your commitment to this practice, and less concerned with how much you give. Second, your vestry does its best to operate the church on a sound financial basis, and having a good handle on the revenue the church can expect enhances the vestry’s ability to plan responsibly. We hold our stewardship campaign in the fall, because that’s when the vestry develops next year’s operating budget.
What percent of the church’s annual budget is supported by pledges?
About 90%. The rest of the operating budget is supported by cash offerings, donations, some income from the use of our buildings by others, and income from our small endowment.
What percent of households fulfill their annual pledge each year?
What happens if I make a pledge and find I cannot fulfill it?
Your pledge is not a contract. It is a spiritual commitment. It is very important to our financial planning, however. If you let Maryann Badejo, our bookkeeper, know (confidentially) that you need to make a change in the amount of your pledge, she will do so. No questions asked.
Why is the Parish of the Epiphany trying to increase electronic giving?
The goal is purely a both practical one for the church (it helps to even out our cash flow and makes financial management easier) and a matter of convenience for many parishioners.
Do I have to pay when I pledge? Can I pay in installments?
Once you've made your pledge, you can fulfill it in as many payments as you wish throughout the year. If you would like them, we can provide pledge envelopes that match the schedule you wish to follow. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you have questions or if you encounter any difficulties.
How much should I give? Am I expected to tithe?
If you asked ten different members of the church this question you would likely get ten different answers. We encourage you to give a gift that is meaningful, even sacrificial, and we encourage you to increase the percentage of your household income that you commit each year, if you can. If it helps as you think about this, Epiphany has annual pledges of $100 and annual pledges that exceed $25,000. Our average annual pledge was $2400 last year, our median $3800. If we can all give a gift that is meaningful to us, we will be able to achieve the vision for Epiphany that Rev. Nick and the vestry have put before us.
Have you considered using an IRA Charitable Rollover to fulfill your annual commitment to Epiphany?
The IRA Charitable Rollover provides you with an opportunity to make a gift from funds that would be subject to multiple levels of taxation if they remained in your taxable estate. Under 2015 federal legislation, you can use your IRA to make a gift to a charitable institution, including Parish of the Epiphany. If you are 70 ½ or older, you can request that your IRA administrator to transfer your gift directly to Epiphany and exclude the amount of the gift from your gross income for income tax purposes.
By making an IRA charitable rollover gift, you can:
Some things to remember:
To make a gift, simply instruct your IRA administrator to mail a check, payable to Parish of the Epiphany, direct it to Maryann Badejo, Bookkeeper, Parish of the Epiphany, 70 Church Street, Winchester, MA 01890. Please make sure that your IRA administrator includes the following information in the memo line of the check, or in an accompanying letter: your name, the designation of your gift (specify 2022 or 2023 pledge payment), and a notation that this constitutes a qualified charitable distribution from your IRA.
Please contact email@example.com with any questions.