You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies;
you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Psalm 23:5 ESV
Our annual stewardship focus begins this Sunday. In today’s message, I will describe what we will be doing, and then share my thoughts on how Holy Trinity is doing financially. Today and on the next two Sundays you will receive a stewardship message (like this one). Then, on November 22, we will place a small box in the nave by the baptismal font. This is where you may deposit a card upon which you have indicated your estimated tithes and offerings for 2016. We will leave the box in-place for a few weeks to be sure everyone has a chance to participate.
Asking you for your estimated giving is one of the things we do to practice good stewardship of your gifts. It gives us numbers in which we can be confident to prepare a meaningful budget. We believe that your good-faith estimate (not a promise or contract of any kind), rather than our guess, is a better input upon which to build next year’s budget. Last year, an amazing 98 percent of you gave us an estimated giving card for which we are truly grateful.
How are we doing financially? In our eleventh year as a congregation, God continues to bless us with abundance as you have blessed us with your faithful giving. Your actual tithes and offerings (money given towards our regular operations and maintenance) generously continue to exceed 2015 estimated giving, and actual income has been tracking ahead of expenses all year. This blesses us beyond our ability to imagine. Truly, our cup is overflowing (Psalm 23:5). This has made it possible for us to do more and to give more as a parish.
Over the last three years, Holy Trinity significantly increased giving to our diocese with an explicit objective of the vestry to reach the point where our giving to the diocese would be at least a tithe (10 percent). At our June meeting just before the diocesan synod, the vestry voted unanimously to report to the synod that Holy Trinity will give a full tithe of our own tithe and offering income. This year, we have also been able to generously increase our giving to worthy ministries in our community and beyond.
Jesus said, “give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” Luke 6:38 ESV