At the beginning of a New Year we traditionally reflect on the past, think about the things that are important in our lives and make plans for the future.
In the same way, our church re-assesses its mission both in the local community and in the world as a whole. It also reviews priorities and also the practicalities of maintaining the church and extending its mission.
Last year we tried to provide the historical context of the building of our church and how it has grown through the generosity of the congregation over the years. St John’s is your church and its future depends on us all. The Stewardship Committee would like to thank you for all your support to the church in 2016.
In practical terms, the church has to live within its means as it receives no external funding. It has to ensure that there is adequate funding to support the church and its mission. Lent is the time to reflect on the spiritual aspects of giving in accordance with Christian teaching and also consider practical ways in which we can support the church.
This month the Stewardship campaign will be launched to encourage the congregation and wider community to pledge their time, talents and money to sustain the church in 2017.
The leaflet “Giving to your Church” is available at the back of the hall, which describes the various methods you can use to support our Church. Please take some time to read the leaflet and quietly think about how you personally will help support the Church in its mission.
All giving is extremely welcome, but we would specifically ask anyone who currently does not give by standing order to consider setting one up. We are sure that you will appreciate, regular giving is much better from a budgeting point of view.
We would also ask those of you who are taxpayers to Gift Aid the donations you are able to make if you are not doing so already. Individually this may not seem that material, but taken together it does make a huge difference. The necessary forms are available and the treasurer, or a member of the Stewardship Committee, can assist you in setting one up.
We would also ask you to consider whether you are able to raise your current level of giving. As always, the Stewardship Committee is very aware that many people face tight personal financial circumstances and that, for some, just maintaining their giving, let alone increasing it is a challenge. We simply ask you to do what you are able.
We are confident that this call for your generosity in 2017 will be met. For that, we thank you.
The Stewardship Committee
When do we need something done?
The answer is usually –yesterday!Let’s consider the Audio Visual System (AVS)! The PCC approved requirements for improvement in July 2012!
Those who attended the Crib service on Christmas Eve praised the endeavours of both the children and the organisers but in truth, there were many, unfortunately, who strained to hear. This is just one recent example of being let down by inadequate resources. We need to update the AVS system
The service of Nine lessons and Carols was excellent and the challenge to a visiting organist bravely undertaken! Did you appreciate the anthem “Crown Imperial” which David, our own organist, played at the end of a recent service? Had you spoken with him you would have some idea of the difficulty and of the hard work and expertise needed in its performance. We need to renovate our organ and gain full value for another 60 years
Both of these tasks are vitally important. Remember-
1. “The sooner the better” we need the benefits of the AV system now rather than later.
2. Costings usually go up, rarely stand still or go down!
Turning to our collective future, to run our church in 2016 we shall require £31,000 to cover such necessities as heating, lighting and insurance, £81,000 for our Parish share- the benefit of much of which flows back to cover the costs of our church, and £16,000 to maintain our strong tradition of Mission giving - a total of £128.000. To avoid a deficit an increase of around 5% is needed from every single giver! As it is acknowledged that there are some people who simply cannot increase their giving we ask those who are able to increase by 10%.
Three questions come to mind which need to be addressed urgently!
Can you be more regular in your giving?
Are you able to increase your giving?
Do you, could you use Gift Aid?
A £5 donation becomes £6.25 a £20 donation becomes £25 and the effort is minimal to you but infinitely beneficial to the church.
The committee acknowledges the need to encourage those who use our church only occasionally to give more and at all forthcoming Baptism services we will! We also appeal to you, our parishioners to increase your support wherever you can and let’s achieve the two vital goals set out above, whilst continuing to meet our existing regular financial commitments. Thank You.
Making a will, and keeping it reasonably up-to-date, makes good financial sense for your family, friends and dependents as well as your own peace of mind. But it is also part of our Christian discipleship.
As Christians, the Bible teaches us about God’s overwhelming generosity to each one of us, especially in the gift of Jesus. In his old age, King David organised a huge collection to fund the building of the new temple by the next generation:
Everything we have has come from you, and we give you only what you have already given us! We are here for only a moment, visitors and strangers in the land as our ancestors were before us. Our days on earth are like a shadow, gone so soon without a trace. O Lord our God, even these materials that we have gathered to build a temple to honour your holy name come from you! It all belongs to you!
1 Chron 29, 14-16
God provides all our wealth and possessions on loan, and expects us to enjoy them and be generous to others, particularly our families and those more needy than ourselves. Jesus said:
Give to Caesar what belongs to him. But everything that belongs to God must be given to God.
Matt 22, 21
Yet true religion with contentment is great wealth. After all, we didn't bring anything with us when we came into the world, and we certainly cannot carry anything with us when we die.
1 Tim 6, 6
Many of us regard Christian giving as important, as much our response to God’s amazing generosity to us, as giving to pay the bills of our Church. It’s part of our walk of faith. Making decisions about what will happen to our money and possessions after our deaths is also an important part of our discipleship - making appropriate provision for our families and loved ones, choosing how to express our thanks to God, and expressing generosity by supporting the causes and concerns that are important to us.
Legacies enable us to fund specific items or projects at St John’s. We have benefitted with altar frontals, the kitchen water heater, the new heating system and the Garden of Remembrance, to name a few.
Copies of the Diocesan leaflet “How you can make a lasting difference to the work of your Church” are available on the table at the back of the hall. Please help yourself.
The Stewardship Committee