Giving with Gratitude: Stewardship 2022

Letter from the Treasurer – October 20, 2021

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…” James 1:17, NRSV

Every message about our pledge campaign begins with Gratitude, and I am pleased to continue the messages you have received from our clergy and wardens recently as we focus on our annual pledge campaign. Our theme this year, Every Perfect Gift, highlights all the ways in which we have been blessed by God and how that inspires us to give back to our neighbors, our church, the world. In my message to you, I want to focus on our gifts of Treasure, the financial gifts that we make to our community to support our mission.

This year has been so different from other years in terms of what has been asked of us as individuals and as a community. I want you to know, because I have heard your stories and walked with you this year, that I know some of us are struggling with finances, with isolation, with uncertainty. Over and over again, I learn that it is the God we encounter at our church and Jesus who we follow by recognizing him in each other, that keep us together, that provide the consistency in a shifting world.

Every dollar that we raise has a face behind it, a story, a purpose, a mission! We use our financial gifts to serve God, to care for each other, and to show our love for our neighbors. What greater gift can there be? I am grateful for how each of you supports our ministry in our community.

If you are ever in doubt about the impact of your giving, look about you. Whether you have seen your church family through a screen this year or in pews as we have been allowed, every person you see is part of the story of your giving. As you consider making your gift or your intention to give this year, I ask that you also consider how you have been impacted, and how you will impact this church and our neighbors. What is the story of your gift, how will it unfold? How will your blessing be a blessing to others? This is the spirit behind our theme of Every Perfect Gift.

As we begin to bring back the many programs, those things we do that make a difference in the lives of our parish and our community, we need to put some spending back into the budget to fulfill our mission. Our building is again open and being used by groups that help our community. Programs like our tutoring program with Katy Christian Ministries that help students catch up with what they have lost in the pandemic year of virtual school. Sunday School and VBS are back helping our children grow in faith. We are growing again with visitors almost every week. The good news just keeps coming.

I am delighted that we are in pretty good shape in comparison with some parishes and for that I thank you! To keep us moving forward we need to restore some parts of our budget that we set aside during 2020. What we need is to increase weekly pledges by a total $900 per week to reach our goal and fund our mission. That is an increase on average of $20 per week for each pledging family or individual.  We have a large goal, but I am confident that you will all help us move forward knowing that we are making positive strides in fulfilling our mission as we come out of the pandemic. Please return your pledge card on November 7 at either service.

This year I invite you to make your perfect gift, reflective of the gifts you have received from our Creator.

Yours In Christ,

Lianne Jelson, Treasurer

Letter from the Senior Warden – October 13, 2021

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…” James 1:17, NRSV

Every message about our pledge campaign begins with Gratitude, and I am so very grateful for all the ways that this community has met the challenges of this year and found common ways to share a community of love and joy with our neighbors. Thank you.

Our campaign theme this year is about Every Perfect Gift and reminds us how everything that we receive and everything we give comes from God. In Father Mark’s letter to us recently, he focused our attention on the gift of Time in the trifecta of Time, Talent, and Treasure. I would like to highlight the gift of Talent.?

Talents, the blessings with which we are imbued by our Creator, are even more beautiful when they are freely given, as I have seen you do so often in our life together. Talents are a double gift – by Grace you have received them, by Grace and you generously share them.?

“I don’t have a special talent. What can I give?” some might say. But you are, each of you, wonderfully gifted. I have heard it in the voices of our musicians and in the laughs of our young ones being taught by volunteers. I have appreciated your talent in the way you give your wisdom, counsel, and experience to our committees. A talent for hospitality extends beyond the church building to the visits to the Beacon, and soon to The Gathering Place visits that will start up again in the months to come. We are very blessed to have parishioners with a talent for organization, financial management, and even gardening who keep our parish in good shape. Each of you has something you do well, and I am grateful that you share those talents with our community and our neighbors.

As you receive your pledge materials next week and learn more about Every Perfect Gift, please know that your guidance and support are deeply appreciated by me and by this community. I thank you for sharing your gifts with us.

Yours In Christ,

Andrea Smith, Vestry Senior Warden

Letter from the Rector – October 6, 2021

“Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above…” James 1:17, NRSV

Every pledge campaign begins with Gratitude, and that is how I want to begin my message to you this year. I am inspired by your generosity, by the grand acts that you have accomplished this year, by the single acts of love and kindness, and by the unseen work you have done in the service of God and our church community. When we began 2021, we put together a budget that we estimated was $50,000 in the red. I told the vestry and Finance Committee, let’s go for it I know we will be fine. We do not know what this year will bring. We can adjust in June if we need to. I am pleased to let you know that while we are still a little short it is only by about $8,900 and that can be covered with our carryover from 2020. What really excites me is that we are over budget on pledges and gifts by almost $10,000 at the end of the third quarter! That’s incredible news in challenging times. Thank you, I cannot say it enough.

Our pledge campaign this year focuses on our gifts; all of the gifts that we give throughout the year. We frequently talk about the three-legged stool of Time, Talent, and Treasure when we discuss our gifts, without really focusing on the power of each of those elements. I am grateful and aware of the ways in which you have given all three, and today I want to focus on your time.

Time, they say, is the greatest gift, because it is a gift that we can’t replace. I am inspired by the ways that you give of your time to this community. Whether these gifts of time are measured in hours spent running a ministry, participating in our services, or volunteering in the community, or in minutes spent on the phone or in person reaching out to each other, taking care of each other, this community is generous with its time!

In this season where we uphold our gifts, I hold you up in light, love, and leadership. Over the coming weeks you will be hearing more about our gifts from our leadership, in our liturgy, and in our common life together. Some like this will be a written communication. Others will be short videos that will come out in the Wednesday Epistle showing you what a difference your gifts have made this past year.

You are a gift, each of you, and you are gifts to each other and to a world in need of our love; certainly blessed with every perfect gift that comes from God above.

Faithfully,

The Rev. Mark Wilkinson, Rector and the Finance Committee

SHARING YOUR TIME AND TALENT:

Time, talent and treasure are the themes of this year’s stewardship campaign. As we continue to move to some semblance of normal there are many rewarding ways you can share your time and talent.

Serving on the Altar Guild:

Rachel Adcock, the Altar Guild chair wrote this about serving on Altar Guild:

I love being on altar guild. I love entering a dark, quiet sanctuary on Saturday mornings, turning on the light, and walking into God’s house with a purpose, and a smile. I love knowing that altar guilds have been doing this same work for 2000 years – there’s a powerful honor to be part of that tradition. I love the camaraderie of being part of the terrific St. Paul’s altar guild team. I love knowing that while our team works to prepare the space at St. Paul’s, there are teams all over the globe doing the same thing at their home parishes. I love the work, yes, even polishing the silver! (Full disclosure – I do not love filling the candles with oil. Fortunately for me, there are people on the team that don’t mind it.) I love the pride and satisfaction in viewing the space in all it’s glory ready for Sunday Eucharist. And I love that as I say a quick prayer right before turning off the lights, I never fail to be blessed with a sense of privilege and honor to have been called to this work.

There is space for a few on this important team. I’d be happy to talk to anyone who thinks they might love being on altar guild too (click here to email Rachel).

Singing in the Choir:

Another place where you can share your talents is our choir.  The choir rehearses on Sunday morning before the 10:30 so everything is on one day, no extra evening rehearsal. Dr. Oby is a wonderful teacher and I’m sure you will enjoy singing. He is happy to have you join them for a Sunday and see if you want to get involved. For more information email Jason.

Participating in Vacation Bible School:

An important part of our stewardship program is letting you know how your gifts of time, talent, and treasure help us fulfill the mission of St. Paul’s. Loving God and Loving our neighbor. Vacation Bible School works on both of our areas. Vestry member Craig Henderson has prepared a short video about how VBS has touched his family and our community. Click here to watch video.

The Beacon Ministry:

One of our long time outreach ministries has been the Beacon Homeless Ministry. As part of our stewardship campaign I prepared a short (2 minute) video about this important ministry. Click here to watch it.

WAYS TO DONATE TO ST. PAUL’S

There are several ways to make a donation to St. Paul’s. You can drop your check or cash in the plate on Sunday mornings. Many people pay by having an automatic payment sent from their checking account to the church on a monthly basis.

IRA DONATION

If you are over 70 you can make a donation directly from your IRA. Simple tell your broker or IRA fund manager to make the disbursement payable to St. Paul’s and have the check sent to the church. Please be sure to let the office know to look for the check since it will have the fund name on it and not necessarily your name. Please consult your tax accountant about the details of this type of gift.

STOCK DONATIONS

You may also make a donation of appreciated stock directly to St. Paul’s and this may save you capital gains taxes. (Please consult your tax specialist). The donations are made through LPL Financial within Amegy Bank. Please contact Robert Moyes via email or phone at (713) 232-2032 for the details on setting up the stock transfer.