Stewardship & Giving
What is Stewardship?
We all know deep inside, don’t we, that God really does care about how we spend our lives – how we spend our time, our money and our love. After all, God is the source and owner of everything in this world, and we are just here for a fleeting moment. There is Native American wisdom that supports this idea of humanity’s responsibility for preserving creation in an on-going way. In the Constitution of the Iroquois Nation, written in the 1200s, it says, "In every deliberation, we must consider the impact on the seventh generation.” The Bible also teaches us that, in our short time on earth, God asks us to care for and protect what belongs to God, to keep it for future generations. We are managers, not owners.
Good stewards believe that God cares about how we spend our time, our gifts, our money, and God cares about how we treat our bodies and other people’s bodies, and our natural world. God cares because all of it is God’s. And yet, God entrusts some of what God owns into our care. It’s all God’s – our bodies, our vocations, our passions, our children, our resources, our minds.
Over the past year or so, many of us have been mapping our faith journeys or contemplating anew how God has worked and is working in our lives. We have explored how we have been drawn to a spiritual life together in church. This type of reflection is also important for stewardship, because it helps us to see the hand of God resting upon our lives. We are created. We are beloved. We are called. And we are claimed. All by God. Thank you, God. Now what do you want me to do with this precious life?
Our Primary Stewardship Resource: Embracing Stewardship: How to Put Stewardship at the Heart of your Congregation’s Life by Charles R. Lane and Grace Duddy Pomroy.
In the United Church of Christ, the financial foundation of our churches are the gifts we receive from members and friends. Your estimates of what you can give each year are the most essential part of the overall church budget. Annual gifts make up more than three-quarters of FCCOWT's annual operating income.
Ministry teams build our budget with a focus on fulfilling our mission. Prior to presenting a new budget, the Financial Development Board makes recommendations based on estimates of giving and additional projected income. The Treasurer prepares a budget for review by the congregation. The church budget is then presented in March to the members of the church for final approval. A full financial statement can be requested from the church office.
What Are The Pledge Cards For?
Pledge cards enable you to formalize your financial commitment to this church and allow us to anticipate what resources will be available for our ministries and missions.
To pledge, include your personal information on the card and include how much you plan to give, either weekly, monthly or quarterly for an annual total. These pledge cards can either be placed in the offering plate on any Sunday morning, or mailed to the church office.
How Can I Make A Pledge?
Pledge contributions may be sent by check payable to "First Congregational Church of West Tisbury", dropped in the Sunday offering plate in a numbered envelope, or consider setting up FCCOWT for automatic giving through your bank’s bill payment system.
Check the box on the pledge card to request envelopes. If you forget your assigned envelopes, you can find extras at the church entries. Just fill in your name and the amount will be credited to your quarterly statement.
What If My Financial Situation Changes?
You may revise or cancel your pledge should your circumstances require. Please let our financial secretary, David Fielder, know and we can adjust our records and the budget accordingly.
Do I Need To Be A Member To Pledge?
No. We have many friends of the church who lend their support through pledges and donations.
Will I Receive Statements of My Giving?
As an annual giver, you will receive quarterly statements of your financial gifts for your records. Annual statements are mailed for all other contributors. If you have questions regarding your annual statement, please contact our Financial Secretary.
How Do I Know What To Give?
If this is your first time pledging or you are considering deepening your pledge, here is some basic information that might be helpful:
For all of us, our giving decision invites us to focus on the abundance that comes from God. Giving stretches us to be more aware of what really matters to us and more alive to the blessings that are always surrounding us and our loved ones.
For some, the concept of giving back 10% of what they have received is inconceivable; for others, it’s the least they can do.
One way to determine the annual gift that is right for you is by considering your annual income and then identifying which percentage of that amount might be appropriate as a weekly gift. This approach allows you to consider how your pledge commitment corresponds to your other weekly expenses.
The majority of our pledges in our congregation fall within the $1,000-$5,000 range, but we have leadership gifts that range from $5,000 and $20,000. Nearly 80% of our budget income comes from our church families. We leverage the dollars that we have with volunteer hours that allow us to benefit many times over from the gifts which we receive.
If you feel that you are ready to estimate your annual gift to the First Congregational Church of West Tisbury, please download and fill out the Estimate of Giving Card. Drop it in the collection plate, mail it or drop it off to the church office.
Planned giving allows an individual to respond to the desire or need to "pass it forward". So many that went before us did exactly that. Gifts both large and small from faithful members have enabled churches to remain alive through their generosity, estate planning gifts, trusts and other charitable instruments.
To make sound financial plans, one must take into account their own needs and those of family, as well as commitments to church and charities. God calls us to not only be faithful stewards now, but also to join the mission into the future.
Prior generations have hoped to share the gifts which they enjoyed in this special place with those who would follow them. The endowed funds that have continued to grow from those gifts have provided us flexibility to stretch toward goals that we might otherwise not have risked.
A planned gift or deferred gift, is a gift that is planned for during the donor's lifetime but not actually received by the church or charity until the donors death. These can include bequests, life income gifts, and certain life insurance arrangements.
Life income gifts include gift annuities, pooled fund, and charitable remainder trusts. All provide the donor with income for life. Again, following the donors death, the remaining principle of the gift is paid to the charity designated in the donor's agreement.
We welcome your inquiries concerning Planned Giving Program at First Congregational Church of West Tisbury. Appointments can be arranged to talk about the many ways one may share their love for this church and help to brighten the lives of the generations to follow.