2024 Annual Pledge Giving
Generous and loving God, we come to you in thanksgiving, knowing that all we are and all that we have is a gift from you. In faith and love, help us to do your will. Amen
October 5, 2023
Dear Beloved of St. Paul’s,
There is no doubt that the Holy Spirit is alive and working in and through St. Paul’s.
We are blessed with a beautiful worship space, gifted clergy, and glorious music to feed and nourish us so that we can go out into the world and be the hearts and hands of Christ. Every day our community is enriched, and our faith deepened, by people who passionately seek to share God’s love through ministries that transform lives within and beyond our campus. With God’s help, we are Building. The Way. Forward.
St. Paul’s is vibrant and growing thanks to God’s grace and your generous gifts. We are grateful to all of you who have said YES to living more deeply into God’s dream for yourselves and St. Paul’s. As we launch the 2024 Annual Stewardship Campaign, we invite everyone to reflect on God’s loving and faithful presence among us.
We are optimistic about the future. Our church family is growing, which is exciting, but we need to be able to fully support the expanding needs of our parish. At present, our resources are being stretched to their limits. In the spirit of embracing God’s dream for St. Paul’s and building the way forward, we ask you to prayerfully consider increasing your pledge or making a pledge for the very first time (40% of us have never pledged).
Your financial support is essential to the vitality of our church. Funds pledged through the annual stewardship campaign are the single largest source of income supporting church operations; pledges are needed and necessary to prudently plan and manage the annual operating budget.
Father Caleb will present his vision for St. Paul’s in a second mailing. Several parishioners will also share their personal stewardship stories over the next month. We hope to receive most pledges by Sunday, November 12, so the leadership team can begin the budgeting process in early December.
As you consider your 2024 financial pledge to St. Paul’s, please be reminded of Paul’s words to the Ephesians: “Glory to God whose power, working in us, can do infinitely more than we can ask or imagine.” (3:20)
With love and thanksgiving,
The Stewardship Team
Karen Day, Jack McElroy, Anne O’Dell, Denise Sheehan, Frank and Marcia Wolf
Rev. Caleb Lee
October 12, 2023
Beloved of St. Paul’s,
The theme for the 2024 Stewardship Campaign has an interesting backstory. Last year, during the annual vestry retreat, we discussed Church Size Theory, which in a nutshell explores how every aspect of a church’s life is directly affected by changes in the size of its congregation. We discovered that St. Paul’s is currently in a wonderful, yet challenging place. We are continuing to grow, but our financial and staffing resources have not caught up. We are at the stage where we need more staffing, but we are not quite able, financially, to support it. All of this puts pressure on the leadership to do more with essentially the same resources. The vestry is committed to Building. The Way. Forward. We are making the necessary incremental changes to build a system that is sustainable for years to come. We are committed to following the Way of Jesus Christ; leaning into his grace and love and trusting that if we keep our eyes on him, we cannot stray from our mission. In following Christ, we know we are always moving forward as pilgrims on a journey; never staying in the same place for too long, and learning that a life of faith often calls us out of our comfort zones. The scriptures remind us time and time again that status quo is never an option. I hope you will commit to our community at St. Paul’s by doing your part in Building. The Way. Forward.
Here are some ways in which your financial support will help St. Paul’s in 2024.
We have been given the gift of part-time retired clergy, who require very little financially, to assist me in serving you through priestly duties. As much as we love and appreciate them, their time is limited to 10-12 hours per week. My desire is to serve you by calling a full-time curate or associate priest who will share all aspects of parish ministry with me; increasing our capacity to serve the community, minister to children and young families, and whom we can prepare for future leadership in the larger church.
Staffing and Benefits
We have wonderful and committed volunteers who perform critical administrative tasks but who are now octogenarians. We will need to pass their knowledge and skills to a new generation of volunteers or lay the necessary groundwork for new staffing possibilities. We have an Administrator position that really needs to be full-time, but we would need to provide health insurance benefits according to diocesan guidelines. We all know that health insurance is not getting any cheaper.
The Ministry of Music
Our music program continues to glorify God and inspire not only the people of St. Paul’s, but our larger community. We have made the Organist and Director of Music a full-time position with the hiring of Brendan Conner. I certainly hope we can all agree that this position is worthy of full-time pay and benefits. We also have costs associated with a music program of our magnitude and reputation. In the past, much of these costs were supported through a separate financial request to specific patrons for a fund called “Music at St. Paul’s.” This fund no longer exists as we decided to incorporate all of our funding for music into the operating budget. Minus the occasional fundraiser or special gift, the music program will now depend on the generosity of the congregation in the form of pledges to the church.
Building. The Way. Forward.
Supporting St. Paul’s growth is essential for the work ahead of us. In the very near future, we will be entering the next phase of our Long-Range Plan and launching a Capital Campaign that focuses on improving accessibility and renewing spaces. That work is not part of our annual stewardship campaign. Our annual stewardship campaign deals with the very basics of operating the church from day to day.
To operate as the St. Paul’s that I envision for us, we need approximately $180,000 in additional funding in 2024.
Pick your jaw up off the floor. Take a breath. It’s ok.
Increasing our income by $180,000 would require a 30% increase in giving by each pledging unit. However, we could really offset that percentage increase by having the 40% of us who currently do not pledge start right now. Pledging is an act of faith and every single pledge matters. A pledge card and postpaid reply envelope are enclosed.
Imagine what we could do if those who pledge increase their gift and if those who have never pledged step up to do so.
Wouldn’t the result simply be amazing? It is not out of reach. We can do it!
Please prayerfully consider how you can help St. Paul’s in Building. The Way. Forward.
Faithfully yours (no matter what you pledge),
The Reverend Caleb J. Lee
Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7)
Give until you are completely happy!