Announcement from the Communications Office
Stewardship Brainstorming ZOOM
-the conversation continues-

Wednesday September 9, 2020

6:30-7 pm Introduction to Resources
7-8 pm Brainstorming

Wondering about ways to do year round stewardship?

Pondering new ways to talk about stewardship during COVID time?

New to the stewardship committee?

Looking for ideas and support?

On August 19th, several us had a lively and inspiring conversation about stewardship – they asked for another time to meet – so here it is! If you did not attend the meeting on the 19th, or would like to review the materials and resources from that discussion , join us at 6:30. From 7-8 we can continue brainstorming – and inspiring and encouraging one another! The original article, with links to resources, is below!
Join us for a ZOOM Conversation
September 9, 2020 
6:30-7 pm Introduction to/review of resources
7-8 pm Brainstorming and Encouragement
For an exchange of further resources, ideas, encouragement and inspiration!
Click here to send an email to me and get a ZOOM link for the conversation.

Reverend Pam Mott
Missioner for Congregational Vitality
How Can We Sing the Lord’s Song?
Stewardship Resources
Stewardship is the act of being a steward. A steward is a person given responsibility to care for something of value, something we treasure. Stewardship is about taking care of something considered worth caring for and preserving.
What odd times we are living in! So much has changed for each of us personally, in our churches and in our larger culture. Our church buildings may be closed (or slowly re-opening) but the church has never been closed; we simply (okay, maybe not quite “simply”!) learn to care in new ways. While this pandemic may be unprecedented in our lifetimes, the notion of being in the wilderness and exile where nothing is “normal” anymore has a rich and transformative history in Scripture. When Jerusalem was overtaken and the temple destroyed, many Israelites were carried into exile in Babylon. Psalm 137 reflects their despair and resignation. The Psalmist asks:  How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land? But, as they adjust and seek to adapt faithfully, that turns into a question of action: How CAN we sing the Lord’s song? And they adapt practices that would have normally happened in the temple to their new circumstances. Most scholars believe that the modern synagogue finds its roots in the exile. So, that’s a question for us: How CAN WE sing the Lord’s song in a 2020? How can we adapt and learn? We have adapted to ZOOM worship and FaceBook live, some parishes are now doing outside worship, or parking lot worship. 

And now we come into pledge season when we ponder our financial commitment to our parishes for the coming year. How can we sing this verse of the Lord’s song in this strange time? Of course, Stewardship is a year round venture and needs to be a year round conversation – and it is always about gratitude for what God has given us. It is always about caring for God’s people and God’s creation and we, as followers of Christ seek to do this through our church communities. Some parishes have not skipped a beat in this, others are struggling – either way, this is a good time – any time is a good time - to ponder deeply and act with the same generosity God has offered. The message is the same, the medium may be different!

The Rev. Bernie Poppe offers a perspective on his parish and the larger questions of stewardship:
Resources & Links

The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS)
Username: 1PETER
Password: FOUR:10
Yearly giving themes and, this year, some online webinars.

Giving Magazine
Published online four times a year – themes, articles, materials for pledge campaigns

Diocese of Western MA
Some good thoughts and links for Stewardship on our website
The Diocese of LA
shared a link to the Chronicle of Philanthropy: Ask an Expert: How to Host Engaging Virtual Fundraising Events By Eden Stiffman

The Rev. Bernie Poppe
   Stewardship 2021. Like everything else these days, we have to imagine what it might look like since we can’t know for sure. Sounds a lot like faith, and that’s the starting point for me. We need to make decisions based on what we know now, and not what we fear about the future -and trust God will guide us in filling in the blanks. Constant changes mean we monitor even closer our income and expenses. We make adjustments where we can and as the parish leadership demonstrate our stewardship of the resources and responsibilities entrusted to us. 
 When we begin our Fall pledge drive, we’ll give an open and honest
assessment of where we are. We’ll discuss our stewardship of the building and ministries and ask them again to consider their pledge to the vision we create together. We’ll live into this challenge by asking new questions. Who are we now? What does our ministry look like in the time of pandemic? What does community look like? What does worship and the Eucharist look like? These questions were inevitable and are long overdue, but here they are and we need to deal with them. This is not a can we can kick down the road any longer. Some find the challenge exciting while others grieve the loss of old ways. But there’s no way to go but forward. 

    We stay connected mainly through our recorded Facebook services. There was a learning curve but it’s not rocket science and anyone can learn it. It’s kept us connected and allows us to worships, create fellowship through comments, and keep others informed. We’re surprised and humbled by the range of viewership. Friends, family and even strangers from other towns, states and countries have found their way to our services and it opens up new thinking about what is ministry and witness. Stewardship is so much more than money, but the importance of money can’t be diminished. Our pledges have dipped a little, but not much. Some of our expenses have diminished - but not enough! We’re uncertain about what our pledges will look like for 2021, but so far asking the questions and inviting the conversation has kept people engaged and invested in our community and ministry. Our commandments tell us to love God and our neighbor. Our faith is calling on us to trust God and our neighbor. 
And Dean Tom Callard, Dean of our Cathedral writes about Stewardship from a different angle:
The Very Rev. Tom Callard
 Encouraging stewardship is a matter of maintaining connection with parishioners. In an ideal world I would spend fifty percent of my time calling, visiting, texting and emailing our parishioners, and the other fifty percent of the time out on the street talking with people I don't know, working to share the love of God. And then I would have to find a way to spend fifty percent of the time writing sermons. And fifty percent of the time working on racial justice. But because it's not an ideal world, I spend some of the time doing all those things, but not anywhere near enough time calling, visiting, texting and emailing our parishioners.
 Healthy stewardship and the maintenance of pledges is one of the by-products of staying in touch with people. As we connect in this time of social isolation, even in the smallest way, we become present to people and foster the bonds of Church and kindle the presence of God in Christ with them. We minister to them, hear their concerns and stories, and support them. And stewardship and pledging to the church come out of that. There's nothing worse than making calls to people just to check in on their pledge, especially if you have not spoken to them in months. The impulse for pledging to a church or offering financial support to any organization comes because you've got a healthy relationship with the organization and the people there. The more we stay connected with all of our parishioners, the more likely this will positively affect our pledges and the financial support we receive. Build it into your week. Set aside a small amount of time each day to call or text just a few people from the parish directory. It will make a difference. Financial support is not the reason why we stay in touch with our members, but it is another thing that comes from maintaining contact.
One of the technical aspects of being a good steward that has been important to me is online giving. I simply arrange for the bank to send a check every month to the churches where I pledge. It means my churches get my support, even when I am away! Canon Steve Abdow sent a note to Wardens and Treasurers early on in the pandemic about ways to give remotely. I quote him here as a reminder:
Remote giving can take place in three ways:

  1.  Members mail their pledge payment to the church office
  2.  Schedule automatic payments through your bank’s online banking service (recurring payments are the most reliable and helpful way to fulfill your pledge)
  3.  Provide online giving capability on your website through an established giving platform for either one time or recurring giving.

A recommended online giving platform is Tithely. They offer a discounted to members of The Episcopal Network for Stewardship of which all congregations of the diocese are members. They provide excellent support as a rule. There is no additional fee at all and you can get set up very quickly.

The TENS rate for credit card transactions is 2.75%+30c per transaction. Normally they are 2.9%+30c.

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