St. James Episcopal Church
Friday, December 19, 2014
Located on Historic Route 7A in the heart of Arlington, VT
Frequently Asked Questions
Why are annual pledges important for the church?
Annual pledges, along with fundraising and gifts, support all that we do here at St. James Church. Our yearly budget is driven by the generosity of our parishioners through their annual pledges and gifts. The Annual Pledge Campaign gives the Finance Committee and Vestry insight into the amount of financial support that can be expected from its parishioners for the coming year; thus setting the cornerstone for the annual budget.
Why is pledging important to me?
Pledging is your way offering back to God some of the abundance God has bestowed upon you. Pledging your financial support to St. James allows you to do your part in ensuring that all that we have here at St. James will continue to thrive and grow in the year ahead. It also allows you to join the ranks of the many vested members that have sustained this parish community since 1784. “Our pledges are tangible expressions of our faith.” Pledging also shows that you claim St James as your spiritual home.
Why should I pledge when I usually put money in the offering plate?
Loose funds collected each week do help to support the ongoing life of the parish. However, pledges are very important because they enable us to plan responsibly and establish a parish operating budget for the coming year.
What is the difference between making a pledge and putting money in the collection plate on a weekly basis?
Making a pledge shows that you claim St. James as your spiritual home, is your way of offering back to God some of the abundance God has bestowed upon you over the year, and helps the Finance Committee responsibly plan our annual operating budget.
Placing money in the plate on a weekly basis is important also but for different reasons. While it may show that you claim St. James as your spiritual home and that you are offering back God some of the great abundance given to you, it doesn’t provide the Finance Committee with an accurate amount used to establish our annual budget.
Plate offerings are important ways to offer to God above and beyond your pledge and to respond to special requests made by the clergy and vestry such as contributing to The Rector’s Discretionary Fund, The Arlington Food Shelf, Disaster Aid etc.
How does St. James spend the money received from the annual pledges?
This money supports all of the operating costs of our ministry programs and the numerous building expenses such as heat, water, and general upkeep; as well as maintaining the historic integrity of our building, which was completed in 1830. Staff and administration operations such as the Rector, Music Director, and Nursery Caregivers are also funded through our annual budget, as well as our support towards the Episcopal Diocese of Vermont.
How much should I give with an annual pledge?
I have often heard it said that “our standard of giving should reflect our standard of living”. We ask that each parishioner consider giving a pledge that is both responsible and significant based on his or her own financial situation. The Bible tells us that we are to ‘Bring the full tithe to the storehouses, so that there may be food in my house, and thus put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, see if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you an overflowing blessing’. (Malachi 3:10). A tithe as defined by the Oxford Pocket American Dictionary of Current English as, ‘one tenth of the annual product of land or labor.’ This is our goal as Christians; to pledge at the tithe level. The Stewardship Committee suggests that as you work toward that goal, you calculate what percent of your income you are currently pledging or giving to St. James and over time increase that amount to the tithe level, 10% of your income. Of course pledging above this percentage is also welcomed.
I’m not sure what I can afford this year. How can I pledge?
A pledge can be adjusted throughout the year if your circumstances change. We suggest that you pledge responsibly based on your best estimate of the year’s income. If you have not pledged in the past and are unsure of where to begin, please consider the following: Pledge the equivalent of 1 to 2 hours of your normal hourly pay per week. If you think you are able to pledge more then this maybe you should consider proportional giving (see below).
What does it mean to give proportionately?
Proportional giving is based on the premise that the fruits are given back to God in grateful response to what God has given us. It refers to a conscious effort to determine an appropriate level of giving and asks that each parishioner consider making an annual pledge proportionate to their income. Proportional giving is done by pledging a certain percentage of your annual income. See chart below.
Annual Income Percent pledged Annual Pledge Monthly Pledge
$30,000 5% $1500 $125
$30,000 6% $1800 $150
$30,000 7% $2100 $175
$30,000 8% $2400 $200
$30,000 9% $2700 $225
$30,000 10% $3000 $250
Can my company match my gift?
Corporate matching gifts are welcome. Giving through the St. James Foundation makes it possible for companies that are unable to give to churches to help support St. James. If you have questions about matching gifts, please see our Treasurer.
When should I return my annual pledge card?
Please bring your pledge card to church on Ingathering Sunday, November 15 and place it in the offering plate as a symbol of your commitment to St. James or mail it to St. James Episcopal Church, PO Box 25, Arlington, VT 05250 prior to that date. Pledging by November 15 is important as we use total pledge amounts to help establish our budget for the upcoming year.
Nevertheless, pledges are welcome anytime throughout the year.
Do I have to pay when I pledge?
No, in fact at this point it is better if you can wait until after January 2010 to make your first payment. Returning your pledge card is simply your intent to pay.
Can I pay in installments?
Yes, on your pledge card you are given options as to how you would like to make your payments. You may fulfill your pledge in as many payments as you wish throughout the year 2010. The Stewardship Committee offers weekly pledge envelopes designed to help you with your payments. Please speak to our Stewardship Chairperson if you would like a pledge card or envelopes. Pledging can occur any time during the year.
How do I fill out my pledge card?
- Prayerfully consider the amount you can pledge to St. James trusting in God’s great abundance.
- Calculate your annual pledge amount and place it on the pledge card. An example of how to calculate that annual pledge is:
- If you regularly give $25.00 per week to St. James your annual pledge amount would be $25/wk X 52 wks in a year = $1,300.00.
- Indicate your payment preference on the card (weekly, monthly etc).
- Indicate if you would like to receive pledge payment envelopes.
- Sign your pledge commitment card and return to St. James on or before November 15, Ingathering Sunday.
For Your Information
If you increase your pledge by 10%, what would that mean to St. James and you.
If our current pledge amount is about $ 60,000. A 10% increase would be $ 6,000 for a total pledge amount for 2010 of $ 66,000.
The $6,000 increase in pledging would reduce our draw on the endowment by an additional $ 6,000 or by about 13%; from about $ 45,000 to $ 39,000. This is significant!
The draw on the endowment reduces the amount of interest income we receive each year which goes into our operating budget, thus requiring an increased draw on the endowment to meet our budget.