One of the things that I hear about church is that “they are always asking for money.” I don’t think that is technically true, but I understand the feeling.
I pay to go to the gym. In the contract, after the fee for joining, there is an additional “maintenance fee” to be paid every 6 months. In addition to upset, it piqued my sense of irony. What is my membership fee paying for if not the maintenance of the equipment?
The leadership of St. Paul’s needs and asks for the support of every member; to sustain and expand the ministry done by all our members; and to maintain the facilities where we worship, offer some of our ministries, and administer the whole enterprise. Our Abundant Living Action Team is tireless in building the context of this giving. Money is AN area touched by Stewardship.
The needs of the world around us are great and as a community of people who care, we are asked to help. We try to filter the requests so that they are not constant and so that they have a connection with our mission as a Parish. Everyone is asked to help, none must, some will. There is no judgement made about givers or non-givers.
For 3 years, Susan and I did not earn any income. During that time we gave nothing to the church or to any charities. As our situation has changed, our giving has changed. It seems like that is the way things should work.
This Fall and Winter St. Paul’s will be asked to support these outside needs:
Desert AIDS Walk: For 24 years our membership has supported this effort by the Desert AIDS Project. Our members include staff, volunteers and clients of the DAP. Our parish was an early place of comfort for those infected with HIV/AIDS. We hope to have a large team walking and many people supporting.
The Desert Blind and Handicapped Association: This group offers rides to the disabled who need assistance. As I am writing this message, lunch is being prepared for the clients of the association in Hogarth Hall and I will give God thanks for them and for the food in just a few minutes.
The United Thank Offering: On November 11th we will receive the Fall Offering for the work of the UTO. This is the oldest offering in the Episcopal Church and possibly the widest. The Episcopal Church Women use this offering to make a difference in our Diocese, in the Episcopal Church, and around the World.
Re-Build Our Church in Haiti: The Diocese of Haiti is the largest and the poorest diocese in the Episcopal Church. In the aftermath of last year’s devastating earthquake, the people of that Diocese asked for help rebuilding their Cathedral Center. This is not like building a cathedral in the United States or in Europe. This is a center for education, healthcare, nutrition, as well as a place to worship God.