What is Stewardship?
All of us receive gifts, our purpose and life itself from God. Each moment of our life has its meaning. Our Christian stewardship is to understand how we are to use our time and our gifts for ourselves and for others. Life is a process of exchange – we receive from God and then we share those gifts with others. We offer our love, our forgiveness, our practical good works and our resources. Our Lord frequently spoke about money for he knew how central it could be as a means of sharing God’s gifts. His special care was for the poor and those in need.
Each parish, S. Bartholomew included, is the place where Christians come together to create God’s Kingdom on earth. We create a place of worship and of care and become his household of love. We will only achieve this if we all take our part. Each of us has a unique God given talent to offer. Often we find that our faith deepens when we offer ourselves in practical ways for the building up of the church and when we regularly hold our parish in prayer. We can stay on the surface, like the crowds who came to see Jesus and who never drew any closer. But our faith is not supposed to be a spectator sport, faith is for living. All of us have the opportunity to be good stewards of our gifts from God, to do what we can for the building up of his kingdom. It is not what we achieve that is important, Our Lord teaches us that it is that we tried, that we offered what we could, when we could.
Stewardship of our money
At S. Bartholomew every few years we review our financial state. We are not in crisis but the present situation does cause some concern. The wider financial problems in the world are impacting on us. There are many needs and great potential for S. Bartholomew to be working in our local community but we are struggling to respond through lack of resources. Please pray for your church and remember the communities of Stamford Hill, South Tottenham and Tottenham Hale who come within our parish.
Where does the money go?
S. Bartholomew needs about £70,000 a year to meet our minimum expenses. Of that about half the money comes from central Church funds, this leaves S. Bartholomew needing to raise at least £36,000 a year. The church does not receive any money from the government. All churches are self-supporting. The money raised by S. Bartholomew goes on our ministry and worship, our building, its repair, insurance and heating. We are very keen to expand our work for children, those of working age and the elderly and for our church to be active and visible within our community. We are privileged to worship in a church building of particular beauty and distinction. But most of what we do and wish to achieve comes with a price tag.
What we are asking.
We know that many people are facing their own financial pressures at this time and the level of giving that you make to the Church needs to be realistic and manageable. We hope that you will not find our request insensitive but there are certain realities we wished to share with you. We do ask however if you would consider certain simple steps about the way that you give to S. Bartholomew. It would be a huge help to us.
- If you have a bank or building society account please consider setting up a standing order rather than by giving only by cash. What we would ask with this is that you set up at least the minimum that you would like and are able to give per month or year. We can help with the paperwork. It is a simple process where the amount you state is automatically transferred from your account to S. Bartholomew’s account. It has the advantage that once it is set up you have the reassurance that it is done and dusted and it saves the church much time involved in accounting and banking cash or cheques. It is a secure way of giving and only you can vary the amount. Much of our giving at present comes to us through cash or cheques. This is not only time consuming for all involved but it also means we can never budget accurately. If you have a bank or building society account please do make your regular donations through a standing order. It makes life simple and predictable for everyone!
- If you are a taxpayer there is very good news. S. Bartholomew can receive 28% extra from the government in tax relief on all you give to the church if you fill in a Gift Aid form. It really is that simple. Twice a year we will recover the tax from the government. All we need is your signature on the declaration and the figure that you have donated. If you set up a standing order that would make life twice as easy. If you give something additionally to the standing order this can be added to the amount we can claim.
- Please do pray about what you read here. We don’t just want your money as can sometimes come across in such stewardship drives. More than anything it is you who are precious to us, it is your presence as part of our Christian family that is most important. If you are already part of the stewardship scheme thank you for your involvement. If you are not part of the scheme please consider joining. All the information is available at the stewardship desk at the back of church.
Who gets to know how much I give?
The church council has appointed Miss June Gronland as our stewardship secretary. It is only she and no one else who keeps a record of what is given by whom. She has to know this information so that the scheme operates properly and so that tax can be reclaimed. We keep this information restricted to just one person so that everyone is assured of confidentiality. In the same way that we must not be proud of donating a large amount neither must giving a small amount embarrass us. The Lord only asks us to be cheerful in our giving.