From our Rector
Thanks be to God; our church is flourishing! We have enjoyed another strong year of growth. Giving has increased, and our expenses are well managed by our treasurer, staff and vestry. Your financial support and participation allow St. Dunstan’s Church to continue making a difference in people’s lives and in the world. For all this, I offer my heartfelt gratitude to you and to God.
In the Highlights this week and next, we will give you the information you need as you make your pledge to support St. Dunstan’s Church in 2019. This week we will describe our mission and some of the ways we are working to fulfill it. We will describe proportional giving as a way of trusting in God’s abundance in our lives. We will also tell you about the sources of income in our budget and how much our members are giving.
Next week we will describe the ways we are spending your gifts to fulfill our mission. We will give a report on how we are doing (very well, thanks be to God!) and we will describe some of our hopes for our mission in 2019.
Yours in Christ,
We give to support the St. Dunstan’s Mission:
Inspired by our worship together, we grow in Christ through
welcoming the stranger,
feeding hungry bodies and spirits,
giving of ourselves, and inviting others to join us in this journey of faith.
We are empowered to do the mission because we worship together and grow in Christ. Worship is both the heart of what we do together and the foundation for our community. All areas of our work, fellowship and mission flow from worship in one way or another, as is evident by the central prominence of our worship space.
We welcome the stranger
In the past six years we have hosted five homeless camps on our campus. We welcome people to our worship, to our campus for 12-step meetings, and to our Community Dinner on Tuesday nights.
We are the church that feeds people
We fed over 16,633 people already this year, and just this week we began delivering food to an additional 40 people living in a homeless shelter of tiny houses in North Seattle. At our Harvest Dinner, the St. Agnes Guild fed us, including several people whose association with St. Dunstan’s is through our feeding program.
We Give of Ourselves
We give of ourselves in many ways, from responding to prayer needs on our Care Teams, to teaching children in our Sunday School, to washing dishes after a meal, to lifting our voices in prayer and song as we worship together.
There is a component of invitation in our mission. We are inviting people to be welcome and to participate in a welcoming community. We are inviting people to be fed and to participate in acts of feeding. We are inviting people to receive our gifts and to participate in a generous community that gives of itself for the blessing of others.
Proportional Giving: The Gift of Abundance
When people choose to give of the first fruits of their lives by giving a proportion of their income to God first, they experience a sense of abundance. Ask someone who tithes what happened in their life and they will say something like, “I would have thought that we would feel stretched, tight with our money, but the opposite happened. When we started tithing, we experienced abundance in all our life.”
We encourage our members to consider their pledge as a proportion of their income. The Biblical standard, and the standard of the Episcopal Church, is the tithe, or 10%. Whether you give 10% or 3%, we encourage you to calculate your pledge as a percentage, or proportion of your income. This is a way of giving the “first fruits” of our life to God and it puts all our spending into the context of our faith.
Proportional giving is a way of deciding how much to give. It is not a specific dollar amount, based on what we think we should give. It is a specific percentage based on what we have received; the gifts from God. If we give proportionally off the top, money will be a tool that reinforces our trust in God’s providence and care.
Proportional giving shifts our thinking from “fitting our giving to the church in with our other bills” to putting our commitment to God first. Proportional giving shifts our thinking from scarcity to abundance. We give back to God out of the abundance of what God has given us. This simple act can shift our entire relationship with money from one of fear to one of hope. Jesus said, “where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Mat 6:21). What we do with our money has a profound effect on our spiritual life. Proportional giving puts our faith in God first.
Here is an exercise to consider as you make your pledge for 2019:
- Look at your pledge from 2018 (or the amount you gave).
- Calculate your proportional giving rate by dividing what you gave by your income.
- Consider increasing your pledge by 1% of your income, moving you closer to the tithe (10%).
FYI: The average pledge in the Episcopal Church is somewhere around 3% when considered as a proportion of the average income. If you are giving less than 3%, please consider coming up to that national average. Whatever you give, thank you for your trust as we do God’s work together.
How much do our people give?
Sources of Income for 2018
As each of us is a steward of what we have been given from God, the vestry is the steward of what the parish receives from those who give from their own resources. We would love that each person makes a pledge as his or her commitment to this parish. The vestry then allocates those gifts to support the mission and ministries of the parish.
Since we have adopted a balanced budget, our total operating income is $380,692. Our sources of income are from parishioners, other users of the building and the earnings from our general investment funds.
Your pledges for 2018 of $303,623 form the basis for our ministries and budget for 2018. The total number of pledges increased from 79 households to 97 households, an almost 23% increase. This is a demonstration of the growth of the parish and your commitment to our mission.
The average pledge at St. Dunstan’s Church is $3,400 per year and half the pledges are $2,000 or less. Even a small pledge adds to the good work we can do together. Please consider making a pledge at whatever level you can afford.
Parishioners also support our programs through special contributions at Easter and Christmas, as well as support for the Community Dinners. The total we expect to receive from our parishioners for 2018 is $359,356. We also receive income from those that use our building for their meetings and programs and the earnings from the investment funds.
Yours in Christ,