Preface: The church is in good shape, building and bank, and your faithfulness is beautiful.
Money is the root of all evil? Not really, no. The root of all evil is…well…evil. Money just happens to be something in our lives that tends to drive us—in some ways leading us down paths of righteousness and in others, down streets of despair. Someone very close to me, during one of our bleaker moments, said something to me that I’ll never forget. He said, “You know, the thing about money is this…you either have it or you don’t.”
Thankfully, we’ve been faithful to our pledges, with few exceptions. For the year, our budget is looking solid and we’re hitting the numbers we need to sustain while also doing small projects to continue the beautification and maintenance of our property. However, I will say that we’re slightly below our pledged budget, right now, and have been for two months. I bring this up for two reasons. The first is obvious—we need to maintain our giving so that we can continue doing the work God gives us to do. Mobile Meals is strong, the Nave looks beautiful, we’re helping folks with food and rent occasionally, and we’re giving coats, trips to various camps, and hope to our kids and kids in the local community.
The second reason is why I’m writing you. One of the most difficult things for a priest/rector/minister/pastor to gauge is the efficacy of her/his ministry. To be honest, we never really know when we’re doing well, but we also don’t know when people are unhappy with us (well, most of the time…). One of the few ways in which we can measure our effectiveness in the church is by virtue of attendance, and by virtue of giving. When people are here and they’re happy, they’re also continuing to give. We’re seeing that, on a large scale. When I say that we’re slightly under the mark for our giving, I mean it. However. It’s summertime, and that means people will be traveling, staying home on the porch for Sunday morning coffee and good weather, or going to do family events. All of these things are GREAT! What I hope this letter will transmit is that, while you’re away, the church still has needs and still needs you. Numbers of folks in pews naturally decline during the summer—it’s expected, although I miss y’all—so, too does giving. But it doesn’t have to.
If you haven’t considered it, I urge you to reach out and discuss ACH payments. It’s a great way to keep current with pledges while still being faithful to tenets of Christianity. Every Monday, I do finances. I fill in the pledges received from everyone; when I’m doing that, I say a prayer of thanksgiving for the gifts we’ve received…just like I do on Sunday. If you’re one of the people who like to put something in the plate, let me remind you that the dollar initiative that we’ve started (placing a dollar in the plate if you’ve gone to ACH) has provided funds for all of our ministries within the church. We’ve tripled those donations and because of them, our ministries have been at ease and functioned with little stress!
Again, I want to reiterate that we’re not in any financial trouble, whatsoever. I am simply reaching out to talk about stewardship during this season because that’s part of what we do, here. Because of our stewardship, five kids are going to St. Crispins. Because of our stewardship, 22 people get fed every Tuesday. Because of our stewardship, our kids get to proudly display their church’s name on plays, sporting events, and music events programs—and they love that. Because of our stewardship, we’re about to get a new sound system. And mostly, because of our stewardship, we’re able to create a space wherein people can come and feel safe, encouraged, comforted, and loved.
We’ll be sending out half-year statements, soon, which is the main reason for this letter. I wanted you to know that we’re in good shape, and to know that your giving is more appreciated that you know. Keep up the good work! But also, if you’re behind, I don’t want you to be ashamed or feel like I’m writing to you, personally. I’m not. Period. I’m just communicating our current position, which has been asked of me by many of you.
So, be at peace. Be at leisure. Enjoy summertime and the weather and the trips. I hope to see you on Sundays, but I understand that sometimes it’s just nice to get away. While you’re away, know that I and Deacon Dion miss you, and we’ll be right here waiting alongside everybody else when you come back. Until then, take care and know that you are loved.