Frequently Asked Questions about Stewardship

What is stewardship?
In the big picture, stewardship is what we do with all that we have all the time. We all have 24 hours in a day; we all have a certain number of resources, certain talents. What does the way we use these things say about who we are as Christians? In particular, at this time, we are focusing on how we use our money. What percentage of the financial resources that you have do you give to God’s work at St. John’s?

What is pledging?
Each year St. John’s leadership ask each of us prayerfully to consider what percentage of our income we will give to God’s work through our church and to fill out an estimated giving card. This amount will be your pledge for 2012. By pledging, you say that with God’s help you will make a financial commitment as an act of thanksgiving for all the blessings you have been given

Is a pledge a contract?
Your pledge amount is a covenant, a promise you make to this community of faith. As we plan our budget, we expect that every person who makes this covenant will follow through with their commitment. If during the year, your circumstances change and you wish to give more, let us know that. If you are unable to give all you thought you might have, let us know that as well.

Who oversees the church’s finances?
The Deans and Vestry of St. John’s are primarily responsible to oversee the appropriate use of the financial gifts God’s people have given to this church. They are assisted in this work by a treasurer, a bookkeeper and a finance committee. Financial reports given to the Vestry are available to any member of the congregation.

Can’t we rely on our endowment?
In generations past, wealthy members of our congregation provided for St. John’s with financial gifts, usually in their wills. Over many years, much of this money was used for various purposes. Our current financial crisis has also greatly diminished the value of our assets, so the little that remains in our endowment must be held in trust. Thus a small percentage of our budget comes from some ongoing gifts as well as rental income on our property. Financially we rely most on your participation by joining this community in giving to God’s work. You are crucial in this ministry. Primarily, we rely on God to provide through your generosity of spirit and in the joyful sharing of the fruits of your life and labor.

Can we still contribute to our endowment?
It would be a great legacy for members of our community to remember us in their wills or by other gifts in addition to their pledge that may b placed in our endowment. Please consider St. John’s in your financial planning. Please ask one of the clergy to arrange a conversation regarding a legacy gift to St. John’s

Isn’t this just another name for fundraising?
Many non-profit organizations do fundraising. Financial stewardship is not about simply meeting the budget. Rather, our Lord asks us as disciples to examine how we expend our resources and to give back a portion of what we have as a thanksgiving for all we have been given. Financial stewardship is primarily about developing a spiritual practice in which we exercise our discipleship by joyfully giving to God’s work.

Do the clergy pledge?
Absolutely. When seminarians are in their formation program with the Diocese they are asked specifically if they pledge and are asked to tithe (give 10%) of their income. Every clergy person at St. John’s pledges sacrificially. We lead by example.

Is there a specific amount I should pledge?
There is no one amount. That is between you and God. The discipline of giving requires that we look at all our financial resources and then prayerfully ask God to assist us to make a realistic commitment of a percentage of our income. How much every week will we give to God’s work?

Is it necessary to pledge to be a member?
Everyone is welcome at St. John’s and you don’t have to pledge to participate in the community of faith here. Yet, to be a member means that you are in a covenant, a spiritual relationship not only with God, but with your brothers and sisters at St. John’s and we are accountable to one another, So if you are part of this community and seek to share the most significant events of your life such as weddings and funerals, you should demonstrate that commitment by a pledge of some amount. Only you know what you can give. In the Episcopal Church we have the privilege of being able to vote for our lay leaders, called the vestry, and sometimes vote for changes in the by-laws of our organization. This privilege belongs to those who have demonstrated their mature commitment to this church by giving of their time, talents and financial resources and by following through with their promises.

Since we are the Cathedral, does the Diocese support us?
Our ministry as a Cathedral is overlaid on our parish ministry. The Bishop and Diocese pay for the costs of specific diocesan. In addition, grants from our Diocese have provided us with our bathroom renovation, our altar platform, our altar and many of our vestments. However, the day to day running of St. John’s still comes from our own resources primarily from every member’s financial contributions to our church.