How your Pledge Impacts Ministry: Worship
Worship at Christ Church is the light of our communal life as people of faith. We gather to offer thanks and praise, to be fed and nurtured, to be renewed and sent out. We gather at different times of our lives. Services throughout the week include Sunday services and services at Westminster Canterbury. Other services include funerals, weddings, children’s chapel, retreats, and special services in the community. It is appropriate that a large part of our gifts of time, talent, and money support our worship.
Overall, Worship accounts for 35% of our annual operating budget; it is the largest part and the heart of our parish.There are many ministries which can go unnoticed because they help enhance our worship with as few distractions as possible. It makes sense that a large part of our clergy, staff, volunteers, properties, and support supplies/services go to our worship life.
We have many people, both paid and volunteer, involved with preparing and conducting our worship programs. Clergy plans and leads services, prepares sermons, provides liturgical leadership, and coordinates with all who contribute to worship services, especially staff. Music is an integral part of our worship. The music director (a paid position) and choir do much of their work behind the scenes in preparation and practice. Volunteers for worship include those serving as Lay Eucharistic Ministers, readers, acolytes, altar guild, choirs, and ushers.
Our worship happens in a beautiful historic church, which requires ongoing maintenance, repair, and support. The church pays for fire alarm and security systems, property and liability insurance, HVAC systems, gas, electric, water and sewage systems, and internet. Our sexton (paid) provides routine maintenance, care, housekeeping, and minor repairs for all our facilities. He also helps setting up and taking down for parish events.
In addition to the sexton and music director, Christ Church staff provides vital support for our worship through preparing of the bulletins, keeping the church worship calendar, working with ministries such as altar guild and laity scheduling, handling the organ tuning, paying the copyright fees for our music (and all other bills related to worship), and live streaming our services.
The considerable time and effort our clergy, staff, and volunteers, combined with the properties and support supplies/services, all come together to create our worship life at Christ Church. Each of these ministries, though they may be largely unnoticed individually, are all vital to our communal life as people of faith. These ministries show the vitality and care people have in serving our Lord. Your pledge supports all of these necessary components of worship.
How your Pledge Impacts Ministry: Parish Life
The purpose of Parish Life and Fellowship is to gather and care for our parish family. We create opportunities for fellowship and bring members of our church family together to form relationships. We also strive to warmly welcome all visitors to the church and engage newcomers in the life of our church. Functions and volunteers who fall under Parish Life include Coffee Hour, Sunday service greeters, Men’s Group, OWLs (Older, Wiser Laity) and newcomer programs. In addition, there are receptions, the parish picnic and the Shrove Tuesday pancake supper.
All ministries benefit from Parish Life, and all work together to form the whole body of Christ Church. For example, greeters participate in worship. Men’s Group participates in Outreach (Winchester Rescue Mission, WATTS, etc.). Coffee hour is sometimes hosted by different ministries to increase awareness. And, receptions are held in conjunction with worship and other special services.
Parish Life operates as a committee, and depends on parishioners who volunteer their time and donate food and other items to help with these events. While they rely on the generosity of church members, they also use church funds to maintain the kitchen and purchase supplies. The food for this year’s Parish Picnic, which was well attended, was paid for from the church budget.
Additionally, there is the expense of the building, maintenance and utilities, as well as clergy and staff, who spend about 15% of their time in planning, scheduling, communications, expense tracking, and participating in Parish Life.
The Parish Life Committee is happy to see an increase in participation in Sunday Coffee Hour and receptions. People or groups who host Coffee Hour, typically provide food, but the coffee and other beverages are paid for by the church. We would like to continue to expand Parish Life with more fellowship opportunities, but this requires a bigger budget (only possible through increased pledging) and more volunteers. Whenever we welcome a sister or brother, we welcome Christ, Himself.
How your Pledge Impacts Ministry: Christian Formation
The Christian Formation Ministry helps us to strengthen our knowledge and understanding of God’s Word, increase our faith and grow in a continuous conversion. There are opportunities for parishioners of all ages to learn and a variety of ways to be
involved. Anyone can take part in Christian Formation as a participant in a lecture or class or by volunteering as a Sunday School teacher or assistant and cultivating a young person’s spiritual formation.
Children’s Formation: There are typically three Sunday School classes for children from preschool to 5th grade. The church pays for curriculum and supplies. There is a supply of supplementary books, which needs to be updated. We have a paid part-time director and nine Sunday School volunteer teachers who rotate Sundays.
Children’s Chapel is offered during the 10:30 am service for children age 2 through 3rd grade. The focus is on the same readings as the adult service, with the addition of an age-appropriate game or activity and prayers. There are two volunteer adult chapel leaders in rotation, aided by youth.
Vacation Bible School is a shared ministry of Christ Church and Grace Lutheran Church which has been
offered for over 30 years. We share leadership, teachers, volunteers and costs. VBS is for our children in the parish, but it is also a huge community outreach, welcoming children from the community at no cost. In 2023, we used a curriculum which cost our church $5,000 in 2020, but was not used because of the pandemic. We will need to include at least $6,000 for 2024 VBS in our upcoming budget.
Each year, there are some special programs for children, such as Advent wreath-making, the Christmas pageant and the Christmas procession, pretzel making during Lent, community-focused activities, etc. Donations of time and money from volunteers make these activities possible. We are grateful to the teachers and volunteers who donate their time, money and resources. More volunteers are needed however, and we will need to increase the budget for 2024 to cover the costs of additional books, equipment with wi-fi capabilities, and curriculum for Vacation Bible School.
Adult Formation: There are many programs available for adults in their journey of faith—from Adult Forum on Sundays at 9:30 am to just about one gathering each day of the week, including a virtual bible study. Typically, participants purchase their own books for the adult classes, but there are other costs associated with these programs, such as time spent by clergy reviewing and preparing for the classes.
Other costs incurred for Christian Formation are payroll for time spent by staff communicating and scheduling, as well as ordering supplies and paying bills. We need space for meetings and classes, so costs associated with the buildings, maintenance, and equipment are also part of the budget. Technology to communicate and connect, such as Zoom classes, has been made a necessity in recent years, and it is an ongoing technical and financial challenge.
Closely linked to Worship & Music and Parish Life, Christian Formation is a large part of the body of our church and is an investment in our increase in faith. Giving to the glory of God in service of Church supports this growth of spirit and community, and shapes the future as we teach our children and youth.
How your Pledge Impacts Ministry: Outreach
The Outreach Committee at Christ Church aims to assist ministry partners locally and globally. While their line in the operating budget supports their programs directly, support from other areas makes outreach ministries successful. In the past several years, the Outreach Committee has committed to work with five local agencies, though opportunities to support others are always considered. The five are :
Bright Futures provides food to local kids in school. Christ Church sends money each month for Bright Futures to purchase cereal to include in their meal packs. There is also a team of parishioners that assembles food packs at the Bright Futures warehouse each month.
WATTS provides shelter for the homeless in Winchester. Christ Church acts as a host for the shelter each winter, providing both shelter, food, some medical care, and companionship to guests. Christ Church’s sexton, Tuffy, plays a large role in the success of this week, as do the many, many parishioners who volunteer their time. Additionally, this outreach heavily uses our facilities and utilities.
CCAP provides assistance to the area’s needy—providing food, clothing, and other services. The Outreach Committee supports CCAP in a number of ways, notably promoting their need for donations in our publications and social media by the communications coordinator in the Church Office. A bike tour this summer raised money for CCAP and Christ Church had a team participate, too.
The Salvation Army also provides assistance to the homeless and hungry in Winchester. While they have
received money from Christ Church, we also partner with them on the Angel Tree program each holiday
The Winchester Rescue Mission provides housing and counsel locally. One way Christ Church supports them is by providing dinners. Some of the cooking is done on-site in the kitchen in the Parish Hall.
The Outreach Committee is also having two meal-packing events for Rise Against Hunger in 2023. Again, hosting an event like this in our facilities costs money for utilities and requires support from the sexton.
All outreach events require office support for varying degrees of advertising, coordination, and bookkeeping.
Your pledge supports all of Christ Church’s outreach efforts and the facilities and staff that help them occur and make a difference for those in need in our community and beyond.
How your Pledge Impacts Ministry: Pastoral Care
Pastoral Care at Christ Church encompasses efforts aimed to care for the Christ Church family and extended family. While Pastoral Care isn’t a huge piece of the operating budget, they do rely on the clergy and office staff, and sometimes use the facilities.
The Knit Unto Others ministry crafts prayer shawls for the sick , meeting in the facilities once a month.
The Intercessory Prayer Group is a small dedicated group of parishioners who pray independently (and at
special services) for those members of the congregation who have requested prayers. The prayer list that is published in the bulletin each week is an output of the group, so coordination with the Church Office is required.
The Christ Church card ministry sends hand-written cards for birthdays and anniversaries, and sympathy cards as needed. These cards are prepared in the Church Office, written by a volunteer, and then mailed by the Church Office. The office also maintains the lists.
Shepherd’s Table is a group of volunteers who provide meals in times of need. Again, the group does not meet at the church, just asks for support from the Church Office occasionally.
The Parish Nurse team counsels parishioners on health-related matters, visits the ill, and is the liaison to community resources and services. We have three volunteer parish nurses on staff who have an office, phone and computer in the Church Office, though most of their work is done in the community. The Parish Nurse team spends money on things like books and classes that they share with parishioners. They host events in the Tilford Room occasionally and often ask the sexton for assistance with getting medical equipment to parishioners from their room of equipment to loan.
Your pledge supports Pastoral Care—whether it’s a birthday card for a parishioner, Webster’s time to visit someone in the hospital, or a workshop on memory loss to attend. Caring for those in the parish is an important ministry.
Each fall, we have a stewardship campaign and ask you to make a pledge to Christ Church for the next year. These pledges provide the groundwork for funding all our programs and ministries in the coming year. As much as we are thankful for any gifts given to the church, we cannot use unpledged giving in our planning and budget. That is why pledges are so important.
To understand pledging better as we look forward to our stewardship campaign, we think the following questions and answers might be helpful:
What is a pledge?
A pledge is a commitment to give to Christ Church in the year ahead. The pledge card asks you to think and pray about what you are called to give, and then to communicate that amount by filling out the card. Your pledge helps us figure out what the parish can do and budget for in the year ahead. By giving, we live out our commitment to “work, pray, and give for the spread of the kingdom of God” (Book of Common Prayer, p. 856)
Is my pledge a binding contract?
No, a pledge is a statement of intent, not a contract. It’s an estimate of giving, made in good faith. It’s not like paying a tax, membership dues, or a mortgage. If your finances change where you cannot maintain your pledge, just simply advise the church bookkeeper that you wish to modify your pledge. And, if your financial situation improves, increasing your pledge is always available!
How much should I pledge?
That decision is always yours, hopefully after prayerful consideration. It’s helpful to think about your pledge in terms of a proportion or percentage of your annual income. Some people calculate an amount like one hour’s income per week, or one day’s income per month. A chart that shows proportional giving at different income levels is below.
How do I make a pledge?
Pledge cards are mailed to everyone. You can also print one here or submit your pledge electronically. You can return your pledge card via the offering plate on Sunday, at the Church Office, or mail it to the Bookkeeper. Instructions are on the back of the card!
Is my pledge confidential?
Yes, only the church bookkeeper knows the amount of individual pledges. Quarterly statements are available upon request.
If I pledged last year, do I need to fill out a card again?
Yes; we base our budget on the amounts people pledge specifically for the next year, and don’t simply assume your pledge will continue. Filling out a card every year is a way to reflect on your commitment and what you want it to look like in the year ahead.
How do I fulfill my pledge?
You will receive a set of envelopes for checks, which you can drop in the offering plate on Sundays, or mail to the church office. If you’d like to set up electronic bill pay for your pledge, call our bookkeeper to learn how you can do that with your bank.
Here is a chart which shows proportional giving from 2% to 15% monthly. If you would like to use an online calculator to evaluate proportional giving options for your family, please visit: http://www.nacba.net/documents/tithe.htm