Why is making a Pledge so important?

St. Paul’s is self-funded by our parishioners. We receive no funding from the regional or national Episcopal Church.  We count on pledges from our annual stewardship campaign to fund approximately 80% of our day-to-day operations. 

Pledging is about your relationship with God and St. Paul’s Church.  Pledging to St. Paul’s is different from financial contributions you might make to your alma mater or charitable organizations.  A pledge acknowledges that everything we have comes from God.  It allows you to share your many blessings while simultaneously furthering God’s mission of love and compassion in the world.  Pledging gives you an opportunity to put your faith in action and deepen your connection with God.

St. Paul’s depends on your financial contributions to do its work and ministry.  Making a pledge enables our Vestry and Finance committee to better plan how to use our resources.  The Vestry establishes an annual budget based on the total amount pledged during the stewardship campaign.  While regular non-pledged giving is important, a pledge helps the Vestry plan more accurately and better enables our ministries to thrive and grow.

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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Take me to the annual campaign main page.

What are our pledging goals?

This year, we are not going to focus on a number as our goal.  We ask that you consider your pledge amount one of the spiritual building blocks of our community, and prayerfully ask that you consider raising your pledge to cover the anticipated increases in our costs.  Our hope is for 100% participation to help keep St. Paul's thriving.

We believe that this will help us meet budgeted operating expenses for next year.

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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What does 100% participation mean?

Everyone who considers St. Paul’s their church home should make a pledge of financial support, no matter how big or how small.  Without a doubt, the importance of making a commitment to support our church far outweighs the amount of each pledge.  The act of pledging – of all of us being a part of something together – is a powerful way for us to support one another, regardless of the dollars involved.

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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How much does St. Paul’s need to raise in pledges?

We need to raise just over $400,000 in pledges for 2014.  This is based on what the finance committee and Vestry believe will be needed to have a balanced budget in 2015 and to keep our current ministries going.

If you consider St. Paul’s your church home, please join with your fellow parishioners and make a financial pledge to support the ministry and operations here. Whether you are a new or continuing pledger, please take some time in determining your 2014 pledge. 

Want more detail? The following chart shows the sources of income for St. Paul’s:

 

As you can see, nearly 80% of our operating budget comes from our annual pledge campaign. 

 

 

 

 

This chart shows how the money is spent: 

 

The majority of our budget supports fixed expenses such as staff salary, building maintenance, and the assessment from the Diocese of Massachusetts to support programs and ministries which are coordinated by the diocese.  Each Sunday in our worship services and in the events throughout the week, we see our pledge dollars at work to help spread God’s good news. 

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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Take me to the annual campaign main page.

How can I communicate my annual pledge, and when?

There are many options for communicating your pledge.

Pick what’s easiest for you:

  • Pledge Card: Pledge cards are available at the church entrance, on our bulletin board in Sherrill Hall, or can be downloaded here.  Place it in the offering plate or mail it to the church office (39 East Central Street, Natick, MA 01760).
  • Pledge Online:  This will be communicated directly and confidentially to the church office.
  • Email: You can also simply email the church administrator with your pledge information. The office email address is info@stpaulsnatick.org.

Please submit your pledge anytime between now and the end of November.  We will be keeping everyone updated on the progress of the pledge campaign each week.

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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How should I determine my pledge?

With all of the tasks on our to-do lists, the pledge card could be treated as just another paper in the pile or bill to be paid.  What is an alternative approach? Please try these steps:

  1. Pray.  Begin in prayer. Pray and ask God to guide you in this important decision.
  2. Reflect. How are you feeling blessed?  How can a spirit of gratitude, vs. obligation, inform your contribution to Christ’s ministry through St. Paul’s?  If relevant, set aside time for reflection with your partner/family.
  3. Consider. Many Christians strive for a tithing goal, or 10% of their financial resources. This may not be possible for you now, but consider choosing a pledge that represents a percentage of your income (perhaps it is 1%, 3%, 7% or perhaps .05%).  The table below can be a guide to consider proportional giving.
  4. Pray. Once you have turned in your pledge, please keep praying that your offering will be like the loaves and fishes…magnified by the Holy Spirit to support God’s message and mission in our community and the world.

  

While the amount of your pledge is essential to the work of St. Paul’s, even more important is the decision to make an annual pledge.  A pledge is a statement of your commitment, faith, and gratitude for what God has given you. Thank you for taking the time to prayerfully discern how you might honor your blessings in your annual pledge to St. Paul’s.

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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What does our pledging profile look like at St. Paul’s?

Given the number of active families at St. Paul’s, we need an average pledge of $2,500 per pledging family to fund the operating budget.

For 2014, pledging statistics were as follows:

  •  Total number of pledging households:  173
  •  Range: $35 - $14,000
  •  Average pledge: $2,259

 

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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How does the annual pledge drive relate to the Comprehensive Campaign?

Our annual pledges in response to the stewardship campaign cover the expenses needed to operate the church each year, without making major changes to staffing, facilities, or programs. In other words, these funds 'keep the lights on.'

On the other hand, the TogetherNow Campaign is designed to address our long-term vision of how the church can respond to recent growth and make needed improvements in staffing, facilities, or programs. Payments on these pledges are stretched over several years, and will help us strengthen our staff, refurbish Sherrill Hall and Gale House, and take other steps identified through our long-range planning effort. A portion of these funds also go to the Diocese for projects that are of common interest to all parishes.

It's a bit like a home renovation.  The TogetherNow campaign is like the long-term project you have known for some time needed to be done, but had been put off.  You save for it while you are also keeping up with your regular expenses.  Over the long term, we'll reap the benfits of TogetherNow.  At the same time, our annual stewardship pledges will be funding all aspects of St. Paul's daily, weekly and annual operations.

Annual pledges make everything we love about St. Paul's possible, day in and day out. 

 

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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If I fulfill my pledge in a way other than putting my envelope in the offering plate, what should I do when the offering plates are passed during the service?

There are two options for people who are uncomfortable not physically contributing anything on Sunday mornings.  1) Feel free to put some money in the plate anyway!  Loose bills and change do make up a portion of our budget, and they are much appreciated.  2) Take a laminated yellow offering plate card found in the pews and in the back of the church, and put that in the offering plate instead.  These cards indicate that your gift to St. Paul’s has been given in other ways.  

 

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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Do I have to pay when I turn in my pledge card? Can I pay in installments?

Returning your pledge card, or notifying the church of your pledge, is a commitment to pay that amount over the course of the year. Once you've made your pledge, you can fulfill it in as many payments as you wish during the year.

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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Does St. Paul’s keep a record of my pledge payments?

You will receive quarterly and year-end statements of all payments made toward your pledge.  For those who itemize deductable gifts on their tax returns, the IRS requires documentation for all contributions made to charities, including those made by cash.  If you’ve never pledged before, this is one good reason to start: if you simply put a $10 bill in the plate each week, we have no way of tracking or documenting that for you.  But if you pledge, for example, $520 a year ($10 per week x 52 weeks), and then fulfill that pledge by putting $10 per week in the plate in a pledge envelope, St. Paul’s will document that on your behalf.  The year-end statement that the church sends will substantiate your generosity to St. Paul’s and can be used in the preparation and filing of your tax returns.

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

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What if I make a pledge but can’t fulfill it due to a change in my financial circumstances? Or, what if I’m unsure about what I’ll be able to afford next year?

We are very sensitive to the current economic environment and fully understand the difficulty in making a commitment if the upcoming year is full of unknowns.  We believe in families taking care of themselves, and in the people of our church home taking care of each other.  Your pledge should be necessarily realistic, as best you can estimate, and it can always be adjusted throughout the year, either up or down, if your circumstances change.  If at some point during the year you find yourself unable to fulfill your pledge, please let the treasurer or stewardship chairs know so that the leadership can plan for any budget implications.  More importantly, if you are facing any personal or professional hardship, please reach out to Jon or Paul for pastoral care, prayers, and support. 

 

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What about our endowment?

In 1996 we were fortunate enough to receive a gift of $900,000.  Although we never intended to draw on this investment to supplement our operating expenses, sadly, we were forced to do just that in order to make up the shortfalls that befell us annually over the last decade.  Relying on our eroded endowment to make ends meet is not a prudent way for St. Paul’s to plan for the future and the church leadership is trying avoid this.

 

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Is there a way to endow my support of St. Paul’s in perpetuity?

Yes.  By including St. Paul’s in your will or other estate plans, you will be helping to sustain our church’s commitment to liturgy, preaching, study, service, and stewardship in our community well into the future.

 

I'm ready to make a pledge online now.

I'd like to print a pledge card.

Take me to the annual campaign main page.