A Season of Stewardship
Dear People of God at St. Benedict’s,
“I planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the growth.” (I Corinthians 6:3) St. Paul’s words to the church at Corinth frame our 2022 pledge campaign and remind us what God does with our offerings. Over the last couple of years, St. Benedict’s had a double portion of waiting. Even before the pandemic, our congregation was in a “wait and see” mentality. Looking for a new leader and some necessary stability, we “paused” as we waited for our new rector, and paused some parts of parish life as we waited for the pandemic to pass. Our 2021 pledge season was challenging. And yet even in the midst of what felt like waiting, God was growing seeds that had been planted long before.
A Reflection on Stewardship
We both grew up in spiritual homes. Our families attended church each Sunday and our parents taught us the importance of giving. One of our earliest memories is dropping a dime or quarter in the offering plate. Neither of us came from wealthy families and we watched our parents cut coupons, scrimp, and save, but there was never a question about not pledging or not giving. As little children, we watched and learned. When we married almost 15 years ago,
building our gift to the church into our budget seemed as natural as breathing because the importance of giving was ingrained from a very early age. For us, giving is a spiritual practice that is one way of showing our commitment to God and to our church family. However, we give for very practical reasons too. We understand that it takes money to operate a church. Salaries must be paid, and buildings and grounds must be maintained.
Having managed budgets in the corporate world as well as in our own household, we understand the importance of a budget. As members of the vestry and finance committee, we realize the importance of a budget also applies to St. Benedict's. The budget guides our parish’s spending throughout the year. It is developed from the pledges received. We then calculate what we are able to spend. We can’t commit to paying staff salaries and pensions or maintain buildings and grounds if the money hasn’t been pledged. Each year, the finance committee develops a budget and they use the pledges that each of us makes to create that budget. The vestry then approves the budget. We don’t assume that money will be given or just show up if it hasn’t been pledged.
In 2021, the finance committee had to approve a budget deficit. The pledges received were not enough to meet our minimum operating expenses, meaning we’d need to dip into savings for the church to function. That was a daunting task and one we didn’t undertake lightly. It was understandable that pledges were down. We were in the midst of a pandemic, the economy was uncertain, many in our congregation had to step back from careers to take care of family or were unsettled about their job status. As vaccination rates increase and things return to normal, we pray that more families will be willing to pledge. This is where you can get involved. If you’ve never turned in a pledge card before we know it can be daunting, but by taking this first step you are helping St. Benedicts develop a budget and make plans for watering the seeds that have been sown in previous years. With the seeds that have been sown and our watering, we marvel at the possibilities for spiritual and physical growth that God will enable.
Greg and Christie Stevens
“I planted, Apollos watered, and God gave the growth.” (I Corinthians 6:3)
Make a one-time or recurring gift to any of our ministries or on your pledge.
Bill Pay Through Your Bank
One of the advantages of paying through your bank is that there are no fees associated with this method and St. Benedict's gets the full amount you intend to contribute.
Most banks now offer online bill pay services that can automate recurring payments to St. Benedict's Episcopal Church. Most services allow you to select the amount and the day of the month you want your check to be sent to us. Our address is 2160 Cooper Lake Road SE, Smyrna, GA 30080.
Did you know that giving stocks or other planned giving is easy?
Contact our bookkeeper, Ashley Brown, for more information.
You are invited to commemorate a thanksgiving or honor a loved one through the gift of flowers.