On giving

“Money is not the only commodity that is fun to give. We can give time, we can give our expertise, we can give our love or simply give a smile. What does that cost? The point is, none of us can ever run out of something worthwhile to give.” ― Steve Goodier

The annual pledge drive is underway, most often we talk of stewardship, that is "all we do, with all that we have".  Certainly God (and the church) desire a commitment, one well beyond money.  Money is only one aspect of how our priorities are known, but an important one.

Our pledge and general giving to the church is different than all the other ways we use money.  It is not an exchange of goods or service like most of the money we spend.  It is even different than other charitable giving.  Giving to the church ought to be part of our spiritual disciplines, even in small amounts.

Our regular giving generally comes from our regular income.  It makes sense that in changes as our income and circumstances change.  Many are generous to make gifts to particular ministries as well.  This is helpful to ensure funding for specific ministries, but is ideally 'additional' giving, once some support to the regular budget has been offered.  Sometimes special gifts are offered as a gift or memorial, these often hold some special purpose in the church as well.

In addition to your pledge, I hope that you would consider two other aspects of financial support.  First, capital gifts, that is additional support for 'capital improvements'.  While we are still in planning stages, the staff and vestry are preparing for a capital campaign.  More information will be offered soon, but I believe it is important to note this as we plan.  Capital gifts often come from one's wealth or irregular income.  Perhaps you have pledged as a part of your income and want to direct giving from a bonus or inheritance.  Many have gifted stock as well, it is a way to share from one's wealth as well as eliminating a tax liability.

The other aspect is planned gifts.  I know that we are included in the estate of some of the members at Ascension, I believe others have also provided such an accommodation, but may not have shared their plan.  Planned gifts are often used to plan for the future of the church, these too sometimes come with a directive.  Many churches create a foundation or endowment for such gifts to ensure the intent is honored.

I am grateful for all who support Ascension.  I hope that these thoughts help offer some insight as you consider who you continue to support Ascension.  May the Spirit guide and direct us as we prayerfully consider this aspect of our faith.

Blessings -

Fr. Paul 

Rector's Reading: "Option B"

My dad sent me a copy of "Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy" a few months back.  This isn't unusual, my dad sending me books.  He knows that I tend toward those things that have been recommended, giving even higher priority to books that he recommends (maybe because he also sends me copies).

I finished it last night.  As I began, I wondered what I'd really get from it.  I have read other accounts of people overcoming hardships and loss.  I have read other works meant to build our pastoral understanding and response.  However, the further I got into the book the more I found it helpful.  It is personal and touching.  It is helpful to anyone who wants to be supportive of others who have suffered loss, particularly the loss of a spouse, maybe even more so the loss of a spouse "before their time".

I found myself telling Sarah (my beloved) that she needs to read it, particularly if I die.  That may have been what I said, "When I die, you should read this..." she is accustomed to odd instructions at this point.  I do believe the book offers a great deal for anyone who wants to support their friends and family.  It steers us away from those things that aren't helpful and toward both practical and emotional supportive means.  If you need a copy, mine is available for lending.