Giving: The Art of Living
We think giving is an important part of our lives and an especially important part of belonging to a community.
At Fauntleroy Church, people want to give of themselves for many reasons:
- We believe God is more gracious and generous than we know, but we know that the way to keep the divine spirit of generosity going is to give to others
- We believe that life is not static, but is designed for us to receive and to give. In fact, there is a famous prayer by Saint Francis which says that, "It is in giving that we receive."
- As part of a community, it is important that everyone contribute what they can to the common good. We believe the church is such a community.
- Exercising one's body often makes us feel more energetic and alive, so giving of ourselves and our resources helps us feel like we are more alive.
- In the end, we believe that everything belongs to God, and our responsibility is to be good stewards of the gifts that God has entrusted to us.
Giving is Part of Worship
We do not require dues or membership fees, but every Sunday, as part of our worship, we make an "offering." We pass a plate around and those who are able give what they can. Then we place the offering on the altar and say a prayer dedicating these funds to God. It's a symbolic thing. It represents giving of ourselves as an act of worshipping God.
Giving comes in many forms
- People contribute by showing up. Worship and meetings are important parts of being part of a community. Just by showing up, you offer yourself.
- Every year, usually in the spring, we invite people to commit some of their financial resources, their abilities and their time to Christ's mission through the Church. We call these commitments pledges. We often refer to this annual process as our Stewardship Campaign.
- Sometimes folks are not able or willing to make a pledge, but they give what they can as they are able. Pledging is not a requirement for membership or attending Fauntleroy Church.
- Giving in one way or another is encouraged, because often people feel like they have more of a stake in the life of the church when they give of themselves to it.
- We also have special offerings--about four times a year--for special projects, like homelessness, justice work or helping people around the world.
- Currently, we also have a special Capital Campaign to remodel parts of our building.
Without the gifts of members and friends this church would not exist, let alone thrive.
We believe that stewardship is what we do with all that God has given us. We do not own our lives, the lives of people we love, or the world we live in. But, we bear responsibility for how we act and handle the gifts that have been entrusted to our care.
In the church, however, we often define stewardship more narrowly. Every year, usually in the spring, we invite us all--members and friends of the church--to consider our lives and how much of ourselves and our resources, we will give through the church in the coming year. (Our fiscal and program year runs from July 1st through June 30th.)
Typically, after Easter, members and friends of the church receive a letter from a committee in the church recalling the moments of the life of the church, the mission and purposes we are striving to fulfill and the needs of our common life. These are also discussed in worship and sometimes in small groups or personal conversations.
Usually, in May, we have a Sunday set aside for Re-Covenanting. We say the church covenant and we put a card with our pledges of money, time and talent into a basket. We celebrate God's abundance!
The Pledges of time and talent are then distributed to the heads of our Ministries, who call on folks during the year when and if their talents are needed. As a congregation, we are only able to accomplish as much as each of us individually are willing to work on.
The pledges of money are given to our Finance Committee, who then put together a budget for the coming year. This is presented to the Church Council and, when approved, given to the Congregation for its final approval in June.
Updated: 04/30/09: D. Kratz: B. Ackers