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  • The Rev. Barbara Ballenger

Rector's Note: All Hands on Deck Again!-10.19.23

Updated: Oct 20, 2023

Stewardship season is again upon us. This Sunday we will kick off our month of reflection and discernment of how we give our time, talent and treasure, culminating in Ingathering Sunday on Nov. 19. On that day, individuals submit their financial pledges, estimating their 2024 financial giving. That, in turn, helps us anticipate income as we draft our 2024 budget.

We will again use our theme of All Hands on Deck!, which we inaugurated last year to celebrate St. Peter’s spirit of generosity and giftedness. Look for a return of the All Hands on Deck theme song, with fresh verses by Dave Mosteller. Our Rolling Online Time and Talent show will soon appear in our e-newsletter and on our Facebook page with short videos featuring parishioners’ passions, hobbies and talents. And members will also share brief reflections on giving at the end of each liturgy, after which we’ll raise the flag of our All Hands on Deck schooner to mark our progress.

This year we invite everyone to prayerfully consider what they can afford with a call to “let the Spirit lead you.” Pledging is a deeply personal and prayerful act, involving an honest assessment of one’s financial health compared to the previous year. Next week, I’ll discuss ways to help prayerfully discern your pledge.

Remember that the pledge is just an estimate of your giving for 2024. It can be adjusted up or down, and ultimately will take the form of what you can afford to offer to help sustain St. Peter’s staffing and programming throughout the year. Pledge cards, which are turned in on Ingathering Sunday, will be available starting next week. You can also send your pledge online right now using this link.

In addition to the pledge for everyday expenses, this year’s pledge card includes a line for any contributions toward the boiler fund that you plan to give in 2024. Many parishioners have pledged a regular ongoing contribution for the next few years to help fund our new boilers. You can indicate such giving on this year’s pledge form as well. So far, we have reached more than two-thirds of that goal and hope to close the gap this year.

Meanwhile, here are some of the benchmarks from 2023 that will help us assess how we’re doing in 2024:

  • Parishioners’ pledges, or estimates of 2023 planned giving, totaled about $160,000 by the end of 2022.

  • Parishioners’ actual giving for 2023 is expected to reach our budgeted goal of $180,000 by the end of the year. This reflects promised pledges as well as donations that were not pledged ahead of time. We are so grateful for this ongoing support!

  • By Ingathering Sunday of last year, 50 people had submitted pledges, a number that increased to more than 70 over the year.

Our hope, of course, is to grow our financial giving from last year, and to pass 2023 giving benchmarks if possible. In 2023, we budgeted $382,375 in expenses, the bulk of those being personnel and building expenses, and we expect cost of living increases to drive those up in the next year. Most of those expenses are paid for with parishioners’ donations and income from our tenants. An update on parishioners’ total giving appears in the e-newsletter and leaflet each month, so we can track how we are doing.

This past year has been an exciting time of growth, as we’ve welcomed new parishioners, celebrated new ministries and ministry leaders, and continued time-honored programs and traditions. As we enter a new program year and anticipate our financial and spiritual health moving forward, I have all confidence that the Spirit will continue to lead us, empower us and keep us on course.

Thank you for being part of this exciting effort!

Rev. Barb

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