Stewardship is what we name the process of asking each other to commit to funding the North Parish Mission and budget. It is the financial side of our covenant to walk together as a congregation. Each member is asked to make a “pledge” or promise of their own financial commitment to the congregation, and then to follow through on that commitment. With pledges, we can plan. With fulfilled pledges, we can live out our commitments to our staff, sustain our facilities and fulfill our Mission.
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The North Parish has between 340 to 350 members and a number of active friends, which translates into about 200 Pledging Families (as some of those members are part of two-member couples). Including children and youth, our congregation is about 600 people. It takes about $475,000 per year to run the North Parish in the manner we all approve with our votes at Annual Meeting, which is a little under $1,400 per member ($2,800 per couple).
In the spirit of our covenant, the stewardship team asks all members to do what they can, and to consider monthly or percentage giving, recognizing that we all bring different resources to the table. If you are under financial duress, even a representative “curveball” pledge of $1 per month (or more) is a way of signifying your membership commitment. The only way we can enjoy and build our diverse congregation is when all members share the responsibilities of membership.
Across denominations and faiths, Americans give an average of 2.5% of their gross personal income to their religious communities. For those new to congregational participation, this may seem quite high. For those used to a religious tradition of 10% tithing, this may seem quite low.
Stewardship is a matter of personal conscience and covenant; it is your choice of what you are able to give. However, we invite you to reflect on this idea of percentage giving because it is a “fair share” way of funding our Mission across all income levels. In other words, someone who makes $20,000 a year and someone who makes $200,000 a year can be equals in their giving if they both give 2.5% of their income.
Percentage giving is also a spiritual practice, a way of affirming one’s commitment to larger community and a larger reality on a regular basis, much like attending services on a regular basis. Some of us find ways to apply it to other organizations we support, and thus grow over the years in the practice of generosity and the spirit of abundance. Some even find that if we add up all our giving to various community organizations, we, too, tithe 10%! Now that takes spiritual maturity and discipline… and leads to the satisfaction of knowing we have contributed profoundly to improving life on earth.
To make a gift of securities to the North Parish Church please contact us for the stock donation delivery instructions.