FAQ's about Stewardship
1. What is stewardship?
We are all caretakers or “stewards” of God’s creation. As Christians, we know that everything we have comes from God. Stewardship means thankfully returning to God a portion of what God has given us, in the form of our time, talent and treasure.
2. What is a pledge?
A pledge is an amount of money, which a person or family promises in advance to contribute to the church in the coming year. A pledge allows you to show your commitment to the work of our parish in a tangible way. Your pledge allows the church to budget accordingly and be good stewards on behalf of the congregation. It is a response to God for the material blessings of life.
3. Why should I pledge?
Pledges allow the church to maintain its ministry, and the Vestry to plan the parish’s budget by knowing how much money to expect in a given year from parishioners.
4. What is the Parish's operating budget?
In 2019, it cost $259,371 to maintain St. John’s staff, programs of worship, study, fellowship, and service. This does not include clergy housing as the Diocese of Long Island is currently supporting us through this cost while we reconstruct our Rectory into new housing.
5. What does the Parish budget cover?
Our Rector, Mother Shelley McDade
(Father Matthew Moore is non-stipendiary)
(Salaries and benefits, FICA reimbursement, guest clergy.
Currently, the diocese pays $39,600 for clergy housing.)
Worship and Music:
(Music Director part-time salary, Sunday Choir stipends, music costs)
Lay Leadership and Christian Education:
(Sunday School and Nursery, Educational events, and Vestry development)
Evangelism and Fellowship:
(Signage, Outreach efforts, pastoral care and fellowship activities)
Administrative Staff and Expenses:
(Parish Administrator, Bookkeeper, and Sexton part-time salaries. Postage, telephone, computers, printing, supplies, etc.)
(Primarily property and liability insurance, utilities, and building supplies)
Work Beyond the Parish:
(Diocesan Assessment, Designated Giving, such as Episcopal Ministries)
Other expenses, funded outside the operating budget, include landscaping, and major repairs to the buildings. These are all funded by interest from designated endowments, special grants and gifts, or, from time to time, special appeals.
6. Does my pledge support Christian Service
Yes. In addition to our Outreach ministries, St. John’s provides space and other resources to various groups such as AA, Good Dog, Brooklyn Conservatory of Music, Concerts on the Slope. Annual grants are made from the budget to Episcopal Charities. Finally, a portion of your pledge goes to the Diocese for support of our sister parishes and for national Christian service.
7. Who supervises the budget?
The Finance Committee of the Vestry prepares the annual budget, which must be reviewed and approved by the Vestry. The Finance Committee oversees expenditures throughout the year, and the Treasurer submits monthly reports to the Vestry on all income and disbursements.
8. Does everyone pledge?
The majority of our active parishioners do pledge, along with our clergy. Our goal is for every member to show support for the work of the church by pledging and/or service.
9. How do I make a pledge?
Complete a pledge card on line, on paper or on our website with the total amount of money you plan to give to the parish during 2019. You can pay this amount in whatever schedule is easiest for you – weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually (in one lump sum). To make it even easier, you may receive pledge envelopes which can be mailed to submit your pledge payments, in cash or by check, or you can make donations using your credit card through the app Tithe.ly.com
10. Is my pledge confidential?
Yes. Only Mother Shelley, the Treasurer, and the Bookkeeper will have access to the amount of your pledge.
11. Are my contributions tax-deductible?
Your pledge contributions are 100% tax-deductible. Each quarter you will receive a statement showing the record of giving for the previous quarter.
12. How much should I pledge?
No one can tell you the right amount to pledge. The pledge amount that is right for you is whatever you feel reflects your thankfulness to God and your commitment to the church, based on what you can afford. For example, calculate what you can commit each week, then multiply that by 52 and that is your annual pledge amount. You can also consider a percentage of your income – for example, the Biblical tithe, which is 10%, is a goal many are working toward. For first time pledgers, the act of pledging is more important than the amount, since the pledge reflects that you have made a personal commitment to the ongoing life of the church. Please see our Pledge Chart on the back of your pledge card as part of our “10-200” Stewardship Campaign for help.
13. What if I pledge, but because of changes in my job or for other reasons, I cannot fulfill my pledge?
The church recognizes that unforeseen problems do arise. To change a pledge, simply inform Mother Shelley, our Church Treasurer, or Bookkeeper. Your support of our parish should not place you in a difficult financial situation.
14. I already pledge. Do I need to increase my pledge over last year?
Because we are working toward closing the gap on our current deficit we are asking everyone who is able to increase their current pledge amount by 10%. If you are unable to increase your pledge please consider bringing in two new members into our faith community. Every year we look for an increase in pledge income to cover the normal rise in costs of every kind. Many parishioners set a goal for proportional giving, such as the tithe, which they move closer towards year by year. In this way the level of stewardship is always growing.
Three ways to give . . . Incrrease your Pledge, Invite new People, Intentionally Pray.
Thank you for your prayerful support of St. John’s Church.