Dean’s Letter: The Joy of Pledging

Hello St. Paul’s,

By now you have likely received and read your 2023 pledge materials. Some of you have already made generous pledges, and I could not be more grateful. I enjoy writing each of the thank-you notes at this time of year, and I think of your faces as I write your names, giving thanks for your faithfulness. Our St. Paul’s family comes together from a number of different religious traditions, and you may still be unsure as to why we pledge.

On the practical side, receiving pledges in advance allows us to plan for expenditures in the year ahead, giving our staff some confidence that their jobs are stable and enabling us to schedule all kinds of events that bring the community to our doors.

 On the spiritual side, Scripture is very clear that we are to bring the first fruits of our labors to God: in fact, the tithe is the Biblical standard. Tithe is an old English word that means a 10th, so if you interpret Scripture strictly, we are to give 10% of all we receive, off the top, to God. For most of us that means giving it to our parish church where we come together to worship, to experience God’s close presence, and to serve God’s people.

In fact, relatively few Episcopalians actually tithe, and we are usually pretty shy about even asking people to consider it. Sometimes we talk about proportional giving, meaning that you settle on a percentage that seems reasonable, start there, and work up to a tithe or more over time. For me, the simple answer is to give 10% of my gross salary, which is my sole source of income. A small portion of that 10% goes to a couple of Episcopal organizations close to my heart, but the bulk of it makes up my pledge to St. Paul’s. Each year I increase it by the same percentage that my salary increases by. I tell you this, not to brag, but to assure you that I am with you in this spiritual discipline of giving. Most of our staff are parishioners, and they pledge too.

There is something incredibly freeing about making a decision to tithe and sticking to it. I strive to live in gratitude, and this gift, that I see going out of my bank account at the beginning of each month, reminds me of how blessed I am to be here with you.

Last year we received 21 pledges for $10,000 or more, out of a total of 259 pledges. That is an amazing and wonderful fact. As it happens, my pledge falls consistently within the top ten  – that’s not unusual for parish clergy, by the way. But I want to offer you a gentle challenge: for those of you who can afford it, please see if you can bump me off the top ten this year. For those of more modest means, I invite you to increase your 2022 pledge by at least 7%, which is the COLA increase the Bishop has asked us to give all parish employees. And, if you have never yet made a pledge to St. Paul’s, let this be the year you begin, and let’s see if we can reach a total of 300 pledges or more, for the first time since 2017.

God loves a cheerful giver, according to our patron saint, St. Paul. I hope you experience the joy of giving this year.

See you on Sunday.

Your sister in Christ,

Like this post? Share it with your friends and family...


Leave a Comment


Because of you, we can continue to serve as a center of transformative love, faith and service!

Have questions or need to make changes?
Feel free to contact us, and we will be more than happy to answer all of your questions.