The practice of Christian stewardship begins with the recognition that everything we have comes from God. Jesus taught his first disciples to be good stewards of the gifts God had given them: their talents, the earth and their money. 21st century disciples face many challenges and opportunities as we try to be good stewards of all that God has given us.
Every parish community depends on the financial support of its members - Saint Mark's is no different. We are only able to carry out our mission because of the support of all those who contribute to it in large ways and small. We happen also o be the stewards of beautiful and historic buildings as well as several treasures of ecclesiastical artistry. Our care of our buildings and its appointments likewise depends on the support of our members and those who take an interest in this community and what we stand for.
Each year, normally in the fall, a stewardship campaign is conducted in which the parish leadership asks for pledges of financial support for the coming calendar year. For more information, please contact Joshua Castaño, chair of the stewardship committee.
2017 Season of Stewardship
October 1 - November 19
Commitment Sunday, November 19
At Saint Mark’s, Christian stewardship is something we celebrate. Each year, in November, we set aside one Sunday as “Commitment Sunday,” where during the Mass, we in the pews walk forward to place a commitment card into a bowl that was crafted by a parishioner just for this sole purpose. On that card we write what we will commit to give out of our own money to God’s work as it is being carried out at Saint Mark’s Church.
An integral part of Commitment Sunday is our parish-wide celebration. This year there will be a celebratory brunch in the Parish Hall following the 9 a.m. Family Mass and the 11 a.m. High Mass. There’s sure to be lots of food, laughter, and joy.
Pledging - Your Gift Matters!
How do you know how much to pledge? It’s based on your discernment of how God is calling you to be more disciplined and more generous in your giving. Some people try to give 10 percent, the traditional “tithe.” Others focus on increasing their giving by one percent of their income each year—for example, if I gave 7 percent of my income last year, this year I’ll pledge 8 percent of my income. How much you give is your own decision, made with the help of prayer, but we ask you to pledge so that our Vestry will be able to make a wise decision about the parish’s 2018 budget.
The Vestry tries to be as transparent as possible about parish finances. Like all churches, Saint Mark’s has expenses—salaries, utilities, taxes, insurance, music, and more—and these expenses rise each year. The Vestry carefully budgets to emphasize activities that will support the parish’s growth.
Saint Mark’s has a variety of sources of income. Some of our income comes from the generosity of past benefactors, some from events held in the church. A very small percentage comes from non-parishioners who make donations. But a large part of our budget comes from those of us who sing, serve, pray, and grow week by week in the pews. Our faithful giving is an integral part of the vitality of Saint Mark’s.
Every Member Canvass
This year, the parish Stewardship Committee has decided to reach out personally to each household in the parish, whether individuals or families, for a personal conversation about Saint Mark’s and its mission.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the lay leadership of Saint Mark’s will be divided into the two-person teams, and each team will get a list of people to contact. When they contact you, they will ask if they can set up a time to meet—in your home, at a coffee shop, over breakfast or lunch, or even after church. Please welcome their phone calls and e-mail messages. They may be nervous about reaching out, but you can set them at ease!
The purpose of these meetings is not to ask you what your pledge will be. Rather, their purpose is to provide some additional information, to ask questions, to talk about Saint Mark’s mission and ministries, and to bring you a pledge card that you can bring to Saint Mark’s on Commitment Sunday.
You may think you already know about Saint Mark’s mission and ministries, and if so, that’s wonderful. I hope you’ll use this opportunity to discuss with a fellow parishioner about where you fit in at Saint Mark’s and why the parish is important to you.
Over the next few weeks, look forward to being contacted by volunteers from Saint Mark’s lay leadership. Please make time to meet with them and hear them out, and then fill out your pledge card (which they will provide you) in advance of Commitment Sunday, which is November 19. And then please plan to attend one of the three Masses on that day and come to a celebratory brunch in the Parish Hall following the 9 a.m. Family Mass or the 11 a.m. High Mass. Please contact the Verger, Daniel Russell, or the Parish Office to RSVP for brunch.
Jay Blossom, Rector’s Warden