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(Everything you ever wanted to know about pledging, but were afraid to ask!)
by the Reverend Chris Harris, Associate Rector
Today we mark the culmination of our Annual Stewardship Campaign with a celebratory procession, rich in symbolism and hope for the expansion of God’s mission through Christ Chruch Cranbrook! If you have no idea what an “In-Gathering” is or have never pledged before – here is everything you need to know to participate! However you are able to participate this year, know that God blesses it all and will use it all, to love and serve the world as the Body of Christ.
What is a pledge? At its most practical level, a pledge is an estimate of what you plan to give to support the church’s mission and ministries for the year to come. Pledging also helps transform your giving into a spiritual practice because it becomes something you do regularly just like worship or prayer, while at the same time letting God into an area of our life most of us would prefer to keep to our selves – our money!
What is an “In-Gathering?” Each week prior to communion, the ushers take up an offering and bring it to the altar. This “offertory” includes not just the elements of the Eucharist (bread and wine) but also our money, because money is symbolic of the self-offering we have made of our entire lives – our life and our labor— to God and God’s mission of reconciliation. The “In-Gathering” is essentially an offertory for the year to come, as we bring our pledges to the altar and symbolically pledge of our lives to God and God’s mission.
Why pledge? Why not just give each week? Because pledging allows your church to be bold! Annual pledges allow the church to budget and to launch amazing ministries that reach more people with God’s love than if we had to rely on tentative, week-to-week giving.
How much should I pledge? The best standard of giving is the tithe – or 10% of our income. By giving a percentage of our income, we ensure that our standard of giving is proportional to our standard of living. If that seems like to much of a stretch for you, start at 5% and work your way up each year.
This is a big place, does my pledge really matter? Absolutely! Nearly 2/3 of our mission and ministry is funded though pledges. But more than that, pledging is about commitment to a faith community. We give because we want to belong to one another and to God. And so our pledge is a sacrament – an outward and visible sign of a deepening spiritual relationship with God and eachother.
But what if my circumstances change? Can I change my pledge? Absolutely! Life happens and we sometimes have to adjust our giving. Just notify our Financial Officer, Gina Morgan (or any of the clergy) if you ever need to make a change.
What if I cannot pledge right now or am just not ready? Giving of your time is a terrific way to begin a life of generosity and to feel more connected to a new faith community. On the back of the pledge card are different ways you can contribute your time and talent and Christ Church. Let us know your willingness to serve and we will help you find a place to start.