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(Frequently Asked Questions)
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship comes from the idea of managing a household. A steward is someone who runs the house for the owner of the house. God owns the world, all its people, and all its treasure. He allows us to decide what to do with much of it, thus we are stewards of God’s “house”.
Why do Christians give to the Church?
Supporting the worshipping community is a spiritual tradition that goes back for millennia. Being Christian means living through the grace of God. When our lives are focused on God’s grace our lives are centered and it is good for us and the people around us. Giving is an important we way we stay focused on God’s grace. Jesus said “Where your money is there your heart will be also.” When we give we show that God is in our heart and that we are grateful for blessing of life. Giving is also an act of faith as we trust God to care for us. On a more practical level, we give because we want to make sure the worship and mission of our parish thrives.
What is Time, Talent, and Treasure
We support our parish by attending worship and other events, by caring for each other, by volunteering in its many activities, by caring for those in need, by telling others about our worship and programs, and in many other ways. These activities are vital. The Mission of the parish depends on all of us. Our time and talent are indispensable. The most important thing we give to God is our time and talent. The parish also needs our financial support, our treasure.
Why do we have a Stewardship Program?
At the annual meeting we elect a group, the vestry, to be responsible for the finances of our parish. However, all the members contribute toward the upkeep of the church and the pursuit of our mission for God here in Yonkers. The vestry needs to have an idea what the funds will be like in order to decide how to run the parish.
What is a Pledge?
A pledge is an estimation of what you actually expect to give to the church next year. On the basis of the pledges the vestry plans the budget, so it is very helpful for pledges to be as accurate as they can be. We ask you to return this “pledge” on a “pledge card”.
Should I pledge if I am unsure how much I can give?
Yes! Simply include an amount you are confident you can give, even if it is a small amount. One of the ways a parish shows its health is to have a large proportion of parishioners who pledge. You can always contribute more than you estimated if your finances turn out better during the year.
Can I change my Pledge during the year?
Yes. If your circumstances change and you feel you need to change what you give that is understandable. You might also find you are able to give more. Whatever the change it is helpful to tell the church that you need to amend your pledge.
What is “the Tithe”?
Old Testament texts ask the people to give 10% of their harvest (income) to support the worshipping community. They are also asked to give to the poor in additional tot his amount. The Church has long recommended this amount to give to support the church. Some people calculate the tithe by adding what they give to the church and to other charity that cares for the poor. Some pay a tithe to the church and give more to support the poor.
Is the Tithe a good standard for today?
Many people think the tithe is a good standard for today. Some people may not be able to give 10%, some are working toward the tithe, others who are financially fortunate should definitely give more than the tithe, to the church and to support the poor. Whatever a person gives it should be part of a dedicated spiritual commitment, not out of a sense of obligation or guilt. Giving is part of a healthy grateful spirituality. God loves a cheerful giver.
How should I decide how much to give?
It is best to decide based on our awareness of our personal finances. Being a good steward means being organized and intentional about all our money and possessions. It helps us to ask for God’s help in all the details of our life, home, job, children, lifestyle. Then we are able to dedicate a specific percentage of your income. This is called “proportional giving”.
Where does the money I give the church go to?
We spend around $122,000 on our 5 employees. The insurance for our church costs around $48,000. Our fuel oil bill for 2011-2012 was $27,000. Our parish owes “a tithe” to the diocese to pay for the bishop, other diocesan ministries, and to help poorer parishes. We currently pay under half our share, around $15,000. There are utilities, office supplies, snow removal, paper plates, sewer taxes, light bulbs, Sunday school materials, and a myriad of other expenses we incur each year. The church budget runs about $330,000 each year.
How much comes from parishioners?
What the parishioners give is very important. In 2012 our parishioners gave about $85,000. We also received around $156,000 from the Sharing Community for the use of our parish hall, $20,000 from the market, $12,000 from the parking lot and $12,000 from our investments, about $6000 from the Penny Socials. There are other small sources of income.
How much does our parish give away?
Currently we give away far less than we would like. The goal for a parish church is to spend $1 for others for every $1 it spends on its own programs. Most parishes average about 10 cents on the dollar.. Because of our building we find this very difficult. It is a goal for us to give more away, and that partly depends on the generosity of the parishioners.
Why do we have a Restoration fund?
Our building has more than just spiritual value. There are many beautiful churches in Yonkers, but people of many faiths and none recognize that our building has a special claim to historic and architectural importance. This is why we do fundraising aimed at the larger community to support our building. In this way we can focus parishioner giving to spiritual mission of the parish, and still care for this building.
What is the church’s endowment?
The parish has both restricted and unrestricted funds which make up the endowment. Currently there is a total of about $850,000.00. There are legal restrictions regarding the body of the endowment, and the income goes into the general mission budget. Of this amount around $250,000 is restricted, limited by the giver, to the cemetery, the Bushey Scholarship, and capital projects.
Should I include the Church in my will?
Yes. Whether the amount you can give is large or small it is important. The generosity of people over the years has sustained parish churches through difficult financial times. This is why churches have endowments. Some churches have special dinners to honor those who have remembered the church in their will.
Who decides how to spend the church money?
Your vestry makes these decisions and makes a report at the annual meeting. All the members of the parish are encouraged to attend and vote, if eligible, at that meeting.
Who is eligible to vote at the parish meeting?
Persons who are sixteen years of age who have attended faithfully and contributed to the church in the preceding year.
Who pays the church’s bills?
The financial committee is a sub-committee of the vestry. No payment can be made unless the vestry has approved it through either the budget or a special resolution. No payment is made without documentation to support the expenditure. The financial committee inspects all bills to determine if they are appropriate, and then writes a check which requires two signatories. Employees of the church are not allowed to sign checks.