STEWARDSHIP SUNDAY 30 NOVEMBER/ 1ST DECEMBER 2013

 

 On Advent Sunday we will be taking a look at our stewardhip in the parish and our planned giving.

Please do take a moment to consider the following:

 

Six steps in Christian giving...

 

Where are you?

 

Our Christian stewardship can operate on a number of levels.

 

Survival. I give a bit when I'm asked because I hope the church will be there if I need it, though with any luck I won't have to. My giving is a bit of an insurance policy, really.

 

Supermarket. I'm happy to pay for the bits of the church that I want to enjoy. I can ignore the unchallenging or boring parts of the church, and still enjoy some benefits.

 

Support. I think the Church is important and that I'm a member of the supporters' club, so I'm happy to play my part in sustaining it.

 

Subscription. I see myself as a member of the church and want to contribute my fair share of the costs. Church membership is part of my identity, and others recognize that I play an important part in the life of the Church.

 

Submission. My understanding is that if I am to be a Christian I should put God first in my life. My giving is more about God than the institution of the Church.

 

Sacrifice. My Christian calling is to be Christ-like. I really do believe that God 'demands my soul, my life, my all'. Because God has given me so much, even his own Son, I want to give back, joyfully and sacrificially.

 

Where are we now?

 

Where would Christ like to see us?

 

Can we move up a level?

 

We invite you to complete the card prayerfully and carefully and bring it with you after Stewardship Sunday or next time you are here and place it in the offertory.

 

Remember:

 

• Your card will only be seen by the Recorder – someone chosen because of their discretion. Only you, God and the Recorder will know the amount you are promising to give.

• The card is not a legal contract. If your circumstances change then you can give less, or more, during the year.

• The pledging is part of our self offering to God. As such, we rightly bring it during the offertory at Mass.

 

So, as you make your response, try and make your gift:

 

• a proportion of your regular income, an amount you give ‘first to the Lord’ before any other commitments;

• a regular commitment, an amount you intend to give each week, or each month;

• sacrificial – not just something you’ll never miss, a tip for God!

• cheerfully, not grudgingly. Remember, ‘God loves a cheerful giver’ – 2 Corinthians 9:7.

• a statement of your personal commitment to Jesus and the mission of his Church;

• something of which you are not boastful, proud nor ashamed;

• prayerfully – seeking God’s guidance, not your own selfish interest.

 

How much to give?

 

The Old Testament encourages us to tithe - that is give 10% of everything we have back to God. 'All tithes from the land, whether the seed from the ground or the fruit from the tree, are the Lord's. All tithes of herd and flock, every tenth one that passes under the shepherd's staff, shall be holy to the Lord. Leviticus 27.30, 32

Although Jesus doesn't speak specifically about tithing, two thirds of the parables are about money and wealth. There is much in the New Testament about our attitudes to money - that we can't serve both God and money. In the stories of Zaccheus and the rich young ruler we are challenged to look at our attitudes to money.

In the early church people supported one another by selling their possessions and distributing to proceeds to those in need. Everything was held in common. (Acts 2.45)

A fundamental question of discipleship is to ask what we give back to God? Is our discipleship a priority in our lives, and therefore our giving important, or do we just give the leftovers - the loose change at the bottom of our pocket, or the five minutes between listening to the news on the radio and doing the washing up?

Unless our money gift has cost us something, it is not really a thanksgiving but more like a tip. And one of the tensions in our discipleship lies in whether we live our life and give to God the odd crumb, or whether we give to God first, and then manage the rest. If the Christian disciple does the first, he will never be satisfied: If he does the second, he will always have enough.

 

We appreciate that many of our church family are already working towards giving between 5-10% or their disposable income (after paying Income Tax, Council Tax and National Insurance) to St Dunstan’s. If we all give proportionate to our income, we all give equally, showing that God has priority in our lives.

 

All wage earners might give one hours salary a week to the church and do so by standing order on a monthly basis. All non wage earners ( pensioners, parishioners on benefit, students ) might give what they can afford, also by monthly standing order.

 

Next...Giftaid it!

 

Gift Aid - What's That?

It's the government's way of encouraging people to give to charities, including the Church, by allowing the charity to recover the tax you have paid if you complete a simple declaration.

 

How simple? I hate long forms!

So do I! But this one really is simple. All it asks for is your full name and address, including your post code, and the date.

 

I see. But I bet there's lots of small print to read!

No, only a couple of lines. The declaration contains the name of the charity (your parish church), a statement that you want the church to recover tax you have paid on your gift or gifts, and a reminder that you must pay enough tax to cover the amount to be reclaimed.

 

So the church can get back tax on anything I give?

Well, it isn't quite that simple. The church has to be able to prove it's had the money from you. So it must be given through the envelope scheme, or by cheque or standing order to qualify. On the other hand, you can backdate your declaration, so that tax can be reclaimed on any gift you have made since 6th April six years ago in any of these ways.

 

It must cost me something - where's the catch?

There isn't one. As long as you have paid enough tax—on earned income, investments, or capital gains - the church can reclaim 25p on every £1 you give. If you only pay tax at the lowest rate, ask our church Treasurer for advice - the church will still recover tax at the 22p rate regardless! If you pay tax at the higher rate, you will benefit, too. You will save 23p in tax on every £1 you give—enabling you to give even more!

 

But I suppose I'm committed to giving a set sum for several years?

No - although it helps the church to budget if you can give on a regular basis. But if your circumstances change, you can change the amount you give. If you no longer pay tax, or move, you can cancel your declaration simply by writing and telling us. If you die, your declaration is cancelled

automatically. And if you want to increase your giving, this will be covered by the declaration, too. There's no need to fill in another form, ever.

 

 

ST DUNSTAN’S CATHOLIC CHURCH

KEYNSHAM

PLEDGE FORM

 

Name(s)

 

Address

 

Telephone

 

Email

 

Recognising God’s goodness, and my/our responsibility to play my/our part in resourcing his work through his church

I/we will gladly give for the next year:

 

£ ........... (Weekly/Monthly/ )

 

for the mission and ministry of God’s work in my/our parish, in the Diocese of Clifton .I/We understand that my/our giving may be revised or cancelled should my/our personal circumstances make this necessary.

 

Signed Date

 

Please let me/us have a set of weekly giving envelopes

Please let me/us have a monthly Standing Order form

Please let me/us have a Gift Aid form so that every

£1.00 I/we give becomes £1.25 for the church

at no cost to myself/ourselves.

Please tick as appropriate

(Please print out and place in the offertory in a sealed envelope marked 'STEWARDSHIP')

 

 

A Stewardship Prayer

 

Father, I know that I can help in the needs of my parish, Your church.

I am having trouble deciding how and where to serve You.

I want to help, but the immediate needs of my family and job seem to be ever more demanding. Please help me search myself.

Please help me take a good look at what I can do, both in my personal life and through Your church. Help me to steward Your gifts wisely, to cherish them lovingly, to tend to them responsibly, and to share them willingly with those in need.

And most importantly Lord, help me to be that steward in a helpful way knowing that whatever I do for the least of your people,

I do for you.

All caring, all loving and almighty God, I pray that You will bring me to a fulfillment of good stewardship through your grace and direction.

In Your holy name we pray. Amen.