Dear St. Paul’s family,
Some time in the next few days you will find a letter in your mailbox from me, inviting you to make a financial pledge to St. Paul’s Cathedral, for the support of our operating budget in 2024. I will get a copy of the letter too, even though I wrote it, because the envelope will include my pledge card, as well as a one-page brochure illustrating in graphic form the many ways our contributions provide the necessary funding for our shared ministry. I hope you’ll feel inspired by the materials, and by the witness talks you’ll hear on six upcoming Sundays (“living epistles” in place of the Scriptural epistle), to take the plunge and commit a percentage of your income to support the community that supports you in love, prayer, and friendship.
Many years ago I made the decision to observe the Biblical tithe: to joyfully give 10% off the top of my gross income to ministry, 90% of it to my parish church, along with small amounts to several diocesan organizations. There are other good causes that I support, in the realm of civil liberties, public radio, and my seminary, but the lion’s share has always gone to my church, because this is where I most often encounter God, because this is where I get to exercise ministry, because this is a community that empowers me every day to share God’s love with our neighbors, working alongside people I love, and doing my small part to change the world for the better.
We live in a time when institutional support is unfashionable, and making a commitment, whether it’s joining a philanthropic group, replying to an invitation, or taking leadership in the community, is not universally accepted (as it once was) as a normal element of mature citizenship. The church, in this as in so many things, is behind the times, and I am grateful for that. As baptized members we are all called to equip the saints for the work of ministry, to form mature Christians, to commit ourselves body and soul to this unique family of disparate people, people who may have very little in common other than the Common Prayer that is central to our tradition.
So I hope you will join me in this gesture of resistance to an ever more fragmented world, and make your commitment to St. Paul’s this fall. Now, more than ever, the church must be a strong and healthy institution that stands for compassion, generosity, and justice. St. Paul’s can be a spiritual anchor for this city, with your help and with God’s guidance. I look forward to our ingathering celebration in November.
Your sister in Christ,
PS here are some ways to think about your 2024 pledge:
What if each of us raised our pledge by at least 3%, the recommended COLA increase? Even without any new pledges we would add $30,000 to the 2023 total. A small change can have a big effect! I’m planning to raise mine by at least 4%.
What if each of us raised our pledge to the next round thousand? Even without any new pledges, we would add $117,000 to the 2023 total.