To the Saint James’ Church family,
In Fr Ben’s letter that we all received last week, he concluded by praying that we had “experienced the joy of adventuring with our Captain, Jesus Christ.” As I have thought about his prayer for us, it occurred to me that “adventuring together” has been the leading edge of Fr Ben’s ministry with us for the last three and a half years. Here are excerpts from Fr Ben’s first letter to us in February, 2013:
“One of my passions in ministry is forming loving Christ-centered communities committed to the care of one another and respectful sharing and appreciation of differences.”
“I love inviting people into living a fuller more gratifying life, more consistent with the life they were created to live.”
“Finally, I am convinced that the mark of a healthy, faithful parish is service to others. The work of the church is squarely to meet the unmet needs of a community.”
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we have indeed sailed from the shore and we already are out on the high seas! But there are many miles still to go, and we need everyone’s gifts of time, talent and treasure to forge ahead. Each fall, Saint James’ asks you to make a generous financial pledge for the upcoming year. Realizing that much has been and will be asked of you, we have set a 3% increase as the congregational goal for next year’s budget, with a stretch goal of 5%, which will help us meet our goal since not everybody can meet the Church’s 3% congregational goal.
At the end of this letter you will find some financial information about how we gather and spend the money necessary to support our adventure together. Many households determine their pledge to the Church as a percentage of their income, so we have also included a proportional giving chart on the back of the pledge card. For new households this chart may provide a starting point; others may use it to set long-term goals.
If you have any questions about your individual pledge, please contact Laura Cline, our accountant, directly. Remember that a pledge to fund our mission and ministry from 2017 is not a binding contract. It is your faithful response to God, and if circumstances change in your life, you may adjust it up or down during the year simply by contacting Laura. No questions asked.
Finally, our “Celebration Sunday” for the campaign is on October 30, but we would love to report encouraging progress towards our 2017 goal of 170 household pledges, so please consider making your pledge as soon as you are able. You may drop the envelope in the plate on a Sunday, mail it in, or make it online.
I conclude with Fr Ben’s final sentence from his first letter, “I am convinced that incredible ministry awaits us as we bend towards God’s purposes together.”
Yours in Christ,
Chair of the Stewardship Committee
2017 Annual Pledge Campaign
Meeting the needs of a growing church in regards to children, youth and adult formation, as well as evangelism and communication, requires additional staffing. Additional music funding will allow us to continue our enhancement of worship at Saint James’.
If you have any questions about Saint James’ budget, please contact Fr Ben or a Vestry member. After the pledge campaign, we will present a final budget for 2017 at the congregational meeting in January.