What is Stewardship?

Have you ever considered that Stewardship should be considered part of Worship and Christian Formation?

We have been talking about the three T’s of Stewardship (Time, Talent, and Treasure) this year.  And in various ways we have been considering them over the past few months (articles, worship announcements, talent project offerings, etc.)       So when you think about the three T’s, we have some of each one of them so that we can do God’s work.  The church needs each one of us to use our time, talents and treasure to keep this church a vibrant, attractive place to hear God’s word and survive the world’s pulling us this way and that.       The church needs your time to serve on committees and help at activities and programs.  Your talents (whatever you do well) to help make decisions, help with maintenance issues, work with others to make the best place it can be.  It is not just a few leaders that make the decisions for the church or keep it growing and prospering.  It is everyone that helps with their time, talents and treasure.  The church also needs your treasure to make this a loving, giving church that also thinks of others more than themselves.       Please think and pray about the time, talent and treasure that you could give to the church.  Join a committee, help out whenever possible and give of your treasure.       Being part of this wonderful church means that each of us has an opportunity and a responsibility to share.  Enclosed is your Pledge Card for 2019.  Your faithful commitment of support by pledging will enable our programs and ministries to grow.  Please complete your card after taking time to reflect on your gratitude for all the many blessings you have received from our Lord, and the joy you feel when the offering plate reached your pew.

What is a pledge?   A pledge is a written document that outlines your intention to donate a specific amount of money to the church during the coming year.  Pledges are paid at whatever interval is convenient: weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually.  Most members choose to donate weekly when the offering plate is passed during worship.  Numbered offering envelopes are provided so your pledge contributions are properly recorded.  Quarterly statements are sent out by the church office so that you can track the progress of your pledge as well as have documentation for tax purposes.       Why do I need to pledge?   Pledges are important for two reasons.  On a practical level, they help our church leaders make financial decisions for the coming year.  Nearly every expense the church incurs, from salaries for our staff to maintenance of the building, is funded by our members’ pledges.    On a spiritual level, making a pledge is a way to put your faith into action.  By making a pledge, you are making a personal commitment to share your own blessings and participate in the life of the church.  Without everyone’s contribution of time, talent and treasure, we could not fulfill the mission to which God has called us.       How do I make a pledge?   You can CLICK HERE to download a pledge card.  Complete the card and drop it in the offering plate or mail/deliver it to the church office.  You can initiate a new pledge at any time.  Our annual Stewardship program takes place in October.  At that time, pledge cards are distributed to all members.  The completed cards are brought forward during worship on Consecration Sunday in November.       Who will know the amount I pledge?   Pledge commitments and pledge payments are recorded by the office secretary.  The Chair of the Board of Trustees is also aware of individual pledges.       How much should I pledge?   This is a very personal decision, and we suggest that, as a starting point, you reflect on the blessings you have received in life and what ECC means to you.       No really, how much should I pledge?   In the Bible, those who choose to “tithe” committed themselves to giving 10% of what they received to God.  That meant 10% of their crops were offered in sacrifice, or 10% of salaries were given to the church.  In today’s world, with competing interests, 10% to the church is an amount that might create financial stress rather than a cheerful gift to God.       The United Church of Christ suggests proportional giving, whereby you commit yourself to pledging a specific portion of your income.  While some members may be capable and comfortable with 10%, others may be more comfortable with something less.  The important thing is to make a commitment and give joyfully.   The chart below lists proportional giving amounts.       Can I just give what I’m comfortable with each week when the offering is taken?   While these gifts are gratefully received, they do not give your church leaders an idea of anticipated support so that they can plan for the year to come.  Pledges allow them to do that more confidently.   Are pledges the church’s only source of income?   The income portion of our operating budget consists of pledges, investment income, loose plate offerings and miscellaneous income.  Currently about 70% of our budget is funded by pledges.       What happens if my financial circumstances change?   Your pledge can be increased, decreased or cancelled at any time by contacting the church office.  You are not legally required to complete your pledge, and the church will not pursue unfulfilled pledges.       Does the United Church of Christ provide financial support to ECC?   Actually it’s the other way around.  We support the Connecticut Conference of the UCC and the national UCC each year so that ministry and outreach might be possible in struggling areas of our denomination, our nation and the world.       I am not member of ECC.  Am I supposed to pledge?   Even if you have not officially joined our congregation, we hope that, by getting to know us and joining us in worship, you would feel comfortable supporting ECC and its ministry.  Your pledge is a way to express your endorsement of who we are and what we do.       And if I have additional questions or concerns?   You can address your questions to any member of the Stewardship Committee, church lay leader or pastor.   Thank you for your prayerful consideration!     Need the chart of giving % for different income levels