Why Give to the Church?

We encourage our members to make a planned financial pledge to St. Paul’s. It’s not about paying for the show, and it’s not about paying dues to a club. Financial giving is a spiritual practice that helps us assess what we truly need and reminds us Who gave us what we have. If you’re not up for giving 10%, start by giving anything at all; just make a practice of giving something. You can place the enclosed pledge card in the offering plate or mail it to the church office.

Welcome! What is Stewardship?

Stewardship, in spite of its reputation, is not just about money.

It is about all that we do in our lives. Stewardship is about all that we do after we recognize that God has given us everything that we have.

It is a Christian's fundamental belief that God is the creator of all that is. Even the skills that we use in our life, to earn a living or just use for fun, come from God. If we are successful, we are successful because we have worked hard using God's gifts.

Once this knowledge becomes part of our lives, the question is, "How do we respond to God's gifts?"

God gives these gifts freely. We cannot repay them. We can only use them in service of God's work as an act of thanksgiving. As it says in Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace you have been saved through the gift of God – not as the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”

Another thing we believe is that God creates and represents abundance, not scarcity. Much of our life is controlled by a sense that there is not enough, so we strive to control all that we can to assure that we get what we need.  This makes us selfish, mean, and unhappy. It is also counter to what God is telling us we should be. 

Jesus calls us to be loving, caring and giving. Jesus tells us that if we would have life, we need to die to self. How different the world would be if we truly lived the way Jesus calls us to live. We would find that God provides enough for the whole world and it is only our selfishness and greed that causes scarcity.

We invite you to join us as we strive to learn what these truths mean in our life and work to make them our guiding principles in our daily living.  Click on any of the topics listed and learn more:

Scripture

Thoughts

Over our life time, God has blessed us in so many ways.

The only way we can thank God for all God gives us is to live lives worthy of those blessings. We know how to do that during our lives, but we also need to think about how we manage the end of our lives.

Over time, we have probably accumulated many assets. How will be dispose of them? That is what planned giving is about. Helping us make decisions about how we want our legacy to continue.

This purpose of this web page is to help you to do this. Look for updates from time to time as we improve this page.

If you have any questions about the best way for you to benefit through a planned gift, please call Fr. Whitmore. (733-2890) He will put you in contact with a member of the Parish Planned Giving Team, who be will be very pleased to help you.

Check with your financial adviser for more information. As you think about your financial future, please consider how you could help sustain the work of St. Paul's.

Father Chuck

 For a more thorough explanation, click here: ecwwgift.org

I can think of no more loving gift to leave your family than a well-planned and well-articulated set of wishes for the Celebration of your Life.
— -Bishop Rickel

If you or I were suddenly in an accident or became ill and incapacitated, who would speak for us?

That’s a very important question, but not one that’s easy to face when we’re healthy and life seems to stretch out before us.

I’ve recently joined the Community Advisory Board of Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement with the view to supporting their work to promote the value of planning our end-of-life choices.  I believe in this mission.

We’re promoting the value of asking this question: If you and I were suddenly in an accident or became ill, who would speak for us?

Our aim is to “normalize conversations about end-of-life health care and to increase the number of people in our city and county who have advance directives on file.”

To this end, we are promoting End of Life Choices: “an advance care planning process to help us, over the course of our lives, to understand, reflect upon and discuss goals, values, and beliefs for end of life health care.”

Advance Directives are the written plans by which we communicate our choices to our loved ones and to our doctors.  Advance Directives make life much easier for all concerned, taking a burden from your loved ones and from doctors and other medical professionals who need to know our wishes and desires to do the right thing in our case.

It is important to act now, while we are healthy, to choose a health care agent – a person you authorize to make health care decisions for you if you are incapacitated.  It is important to choose the medical care you want at the end of your life, and to indicate what medical care you don’t want.

If we don’t make these Advance Directives, we can be sure that others will decide for us what care we receive.

The caring thing to do is to make our own plans in advance, becoming part of a community of caring.  A community of caring is one in which we all know what to expect of each other, having informed one another.

Over the next several years Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement will attempt to equip this community with the resources we need to become this caring community.

I invite you to explore the website of Whatcom Alliance for Healthcare to further explore the end-of-life resources they are making available to our community.  There’s something in there for you, whether you are looking for Community Education Events, Advance Directives, or a handy Workbook with resources to help you organize your entire effort.

Advance Directives are only part of the picture of your end-of-life planning, of course.  I also recommend the Life Planning Manual provided by our Episcopal Diocese of Olympia, which will help you coordinate all your end-of-life planning .  There’s information in here to help you plan a funeral service, make a will, and organize your documentation in one place.

Finally, if you don’t make a plan for your estate, the State will do that for you.  That’s not what you or I want to happen.   Our Diocese of Olympia has a terrific resource for Planned Giving.   If you want help from St. Paul’s with any of this, please contact one of the Clergy and we will do whatever we can to help you.

May God bless us all as we give thanks for the gift of life and make prudent plans to become a more caring community.

In love,

Father Chuck Whitmore


Good Stewardship means

accepting

that the difference

between what we say and what we do

is reconciled

by Jesus


Enter My Small Life

Lord, Give me courage and love to open the door and constrain You to enter, whatever disguise You come in, even before I fully recognize my guest!

Come in! Enter my small life!

Lay Your sacred hands on all the common things and small interests of that life and bless and change them.  Transfigure my small resources, make them sacred.  And in them give me Your very Self.   

Amen

Evelyn Underhill


PRACTICAL WAYS TO GROW IN GIVING

  1. Write your pledge check first. It then becomes a top priority rather than something you do after other “important” bills are paid and you have only discretionary income left. You are offering God the first-fruits of your labor.
  2. Decide to become an intentional percentage give and increase the percentage each year
  3. Take small steps to increase your giving—and keep doing it.
  4. Decide you want to grow in giving—both to your local congregation and to other places where you see God's work being done.
  5. Read or listen to other people's stories of how they've grown in giving.
  6. Share you story of spiritual growth and growth in giving.
  7. Examine and assess your attitudes toward giving.  Do you give for external or internal reasons?
  8. Decide to move toward becoming a generous, joyful giver and then a small practical step in that direction.
  9. Give the income from you first hour of work each week. This could be in place of, or in addition to, your current church pledge.
  10. Decide to tithe.
  11. Increase your giving as major commitments are paid off ( car, home, medical, etc.)
  12. Examine and assess your attitude toward money. Is it your servant or your master?
  13. Give 10% away when your get a raise, bonus, tax refund, inheritance, etc.
  14. Look around you church and community; see the good work that is being done; and decide how you would like to help financially and with your time and particular skills
  15. Add your own ways to this list.

Scroll down for a selection of Bible passages that have a stewardship theme. This is not an exhaustive list, but only a sample.  They will give you some food for thought as you strive to understand the concept of being a steward for God. To help you think about these passages, here are two ideas:

A little more directed way of letting the Bible passages speak to you:

Read the passage again, and ask yourself these three questions:

What is God asking me to do?

What is God promising me?

What barriers prevent me from responding to God?

God's Story:  The News

We need to remember our Christian story. At the heart of our story is Jesus, who lived and died and was raised from the dead so that there might be no final barriers to doing God's will. And to tell us that despite all these barriers, God loves us anyhow!

Jesus forgives me everyone of these and will not hold them against me. Because God knows I would change every one of them if I could. God loves us, and forgives us, and asks only for our love in return!

Our life is a response to this Good News!

“ It is evident that the early Christians believed that the Spirit has a particular care for the church, supplying the community with all its needs.  The Spirit does so, however, in a peculiar way.  The gifts you need the Spirit gives to others.  The gifts you are given are meant for others.  The Christian community can live only by the giving and sharing of these gifts, exercising its generosity not only within its own circle, but toward outsiders as well.  Jesus after all, came for the outsiders.  None of us has any higher claim on God than the claim to God's willing forgiveness.  We are all outsiders, miraculously included within the community of the Gospel of God's call.”

                                                                                    William Countryman

                                                                                    “The Good News of Jesus”

The Bible Passages(A few are presented here for you convenience and more are listed below that you can find in your Bible.)

Proverbs 3:9-10

Honor the Lord with your substance
   and with the first fruits of all your produce;
then your barns will be filled with plenty,
   and your vats will be bursting with wine.

Mark 8:34-38

 He called the crowd with his disciples, and said to them, ‘If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake, and for the sake of the gospel, will save it. For what will it profit them to gain the whole world and forfeit their life? Indeed, what can they give in return for their life? Those who are ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of them the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.’

Luke 6:36-38

Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

‘Do not judge, and you will not be judged; do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven; give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap; for the measure you give will be the measure you get back.’

Luke 12:16-34

Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’

 He said to his disciples, ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you—you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.

 ‘Do not be afraid, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell your possessions, and give alms. Make purses for yourselves that do not wear out, an unfailing treasure in heaven, where no thief comes near and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 9:5-12

5 So I thought it necessary to urge the brothers to go on ahead to you, and arrange in advance for this bountiful gift that you have promised, so that it may be ready as a voluntary gift and not as an extortion.

6 The point is this: the one who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and the one who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. 7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9   As it is written,
‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor;   his righteousness endures for ever.’ 10 He who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed for sowing and increase the harvest of your righteousness. 11 You will be enriched in every way for your great generosity, which will produce thanksgiving to God through us; 12 for the rendering of this ministry not only supplies the needs of the saints but also overflows with many thanksgivings to God.

Other Stewardship Passages:

Exodus 23:14-19                     Leviticus 27:26-34                  Deuteronomy 14:22-29

Proverbs 11:24-28                   Malachi 3:7-12                        Jeremiah 31:31-40

Jeremiah 32:37-44                   Ezekiel 36:34-38                     Matthew 6:19-24

Matthew 13:31-45                  Luke 19:1-10                           John 5:1-10

2 Corinthians 8:1-15               1 Timothy 6:11-19                   2 Timothy 1:6-10