I have not gotten an email that one of you bought a lottery ticket in Altadena, CA (and haven’t looked at who the actual winner is), so we will have to rely on tried and true methods for funding our next year: giving to God what is God’s as an act of spiritual discipline and as a commitment to God, one another, our faith, and our community.
For over 60 years St. Hilda or St. Patrick — and since 1974 St. Hilda St. Patrick — has served the Meadowdale (and originally Eastmont) area. Photos from these many decades continue to be on display in the Rotunda as we join the saints who’ve gone before in our weekly prayer for the church and for the world. Some of you have recently found wonderful documentation about all the changes this congregation has gone through and are hoping to begin the work of cataloguing and keeping good archives for us. On Sunday we’ll celebrate the Feast of St. Hilda of Whitby, transferred.
As we move toward the end of the year — journeying with the saints toward God’s ultimate judgment and justice in Advent, the beginning of the Christian year — we begin to make plans for our resources for next year. You can pledge at pledging.sthildastpatrick.org or with pledge forms that will be available starting on Sunday. The deadline and blessing for these will be December 18, the Fourth Sunday of Advent.
Based on first predictions, with no pledges made, the budget for next year is running just over $40,000 deficit. This is a big number that may make us anxious or worried about the future of the church. Adopting such a budget year over year is not sustainable, that’s true. But there’s no need for us to do that this year, let alone year over year. While none of us can likely make a single pledge to plug that hole, increasing our pledges by a proportion of our current pledges, pledging (perhaps for the first time) a proportion of our income, or increasing the proportion of our income (working to the Biblical standard of the 10% tithe) would close the gap, if not give us a surplus! A chart of proportional giving up to 10% is included at the end of this email.
If you are currently pledging $100/month thank you. Could you consider an increase of 20%? That’s $120/month. Could any of us, regardless of what we give, consider an increase of $20/week, especially relative to the way we may toss $20 a week to flowers or coffee or over $100 to gym memberships or smart phone bills. As Jesus tells us, where our treasure is, there our hearts are.
All of our situations are different. What we have in common, though, is that we are stewards of the gifts God has given us. We have been hearing parables from Luke about stewardship for the last month. They haven’t necessarily been about money, but have been directions on how to live until Jesus’ ultimate return. Some of you have been stewards of this Christian community since the beginning. Some of us have joined the stream of saints more recently, but we stand on the shoulders of those who’ve come before — and hope to continue its live far into the future.
The initial, expected shortfall is a startling number, to be sure, but we are not without hope. The budget is very trim, and the harvest is plentiful. This year we want to know not just what your financial commitment for next year is, but other ways you steward your time. This year the pledge form asks about volunteering you do away from the church. Lives are being transformed by your work and by your supporting this community! We’d like to know about it!
Again, you can pledge at pledging.sthildastpatrick.org or fill out a pledge form that will be available starting this week. The ingathering / blessing will be December 18, but there’s no need to wait until then! Budgeting gets better the sooner we have information. We won’t be providing updates, though. This is not a fundraiser; this is an act of caring for what is already God’s and giving back to God in gratitude for what God has made available.
A laborer in the vineyard,
PS: There is Bible study tonight despite the cross-through on the webpage. All are welcome to join and there are no prerequisites! Join the call by clicking here.