Pledge distribution from 2015
Dear Beloved People of God at St. Matthias Church,
We now approach the time of the year where we do our planning for the next year to come.
So much is going right at St. Matthias today. We have relevant worship with ancient roots, which has brought us a lot of new younger families. We are doing inventive things with formation through online learning and intergenerational sessions. We provide space for groups and organizations that could never afford it otherwise. Books and Cooks is making a difference in the lives of children and their families experiencing homelessness.
On the financial side, we are making great strides. However, as most of you probably know, we are still struggling with a deficit budget. Our pledge and plate income peaked in 2001 and then fell steadily to a low during the pledge campaign for the 2008 year. Since then, it has fluctuated some, but improved greatly. On the expense side, we have slashed expenses by over 141K since their high in 2007. We operate on less money now than we did as a parish 15 years ago.
On the link to the side below the Pinterest board, you will find a PDF with the current distribution of pledges in $500 “Steps.” One of the more revealing pieces of it is that a small number of pledgers currently fund a large portion of our budget. This is dangerous to the congregation’s health as it makes us dependent on the fiscal well-being of a few very generous people. We are hoping we can count on our members to continue to increase their financial support as we move forward in mission. Please prayerfully consider if you might be able to “move up a step” in support of the mission of St. Matthias.
For the past couple of years, our pledge form has included a “Rule of Life” option. This year, we are focussing on one specific area from that rule. One of the most exciting developments in our life as a parish has been our increase in direct outreach. As governmental money becomes less available to non-profits that deal with poverty and homelessness, important programs that deal with basic needs and education are being squeezed. St. Matthias is doing its part to address this within our community.
We have partnered with Hope Center (formerly Cooperating Congregations of Waukesha County) for years in their feeding program and continue to do so. We take donations to the Waukesha Food Pantry every week from the basket behind the pulpit. But perhaps the most fruitful partnership has been with Hebron House of Hospitality. First of all, they are headquartered at St. Matthias. During the week, St. Matthias is the hub of work on homelessness in Waukesha County. Your financial support of St. Matthias literally helps keep the lights on. Secondly, our Books and Cooks program works to promote the love of reading among homeless children while providing cooking education and community to their parents. It is an amazing program that needs to be experienced to be truly understood. Both the diocese and Penzy’s Spices have recognized its potential and given us support. As far as I know, no one else is doing anything like it.
As I preached in my sermon on Sunday, the reason we give and serve is not out of charity, or duty, or a desire to feel good about ourselves. We serve because it transforms us in the way Jesus wishes for us. When we work alongside the homeless instead of simply just giving something to them, we hear their stories. Barriers and stereotypes fall away and we recognize each other’s common humanity. We are transformed and made better followers of Christ. As your pastor, the reason I encourage participation is to lift up our hearts to the Lord and see others as God does. When we are transformed, we have the possibility of transforming the world.
Therefore in addition to the financial portion of the pledge form, there is an opportunity to select times to serve at Hope Center and with Hebron House. Please consider checking a few for your families. At this point, this is not a solid commitment, but a way to let us know to contact you and ask if you are available.
To families with children, I highly commend coming to Books and Cooks. It is a transformative experience for your children and also helps out the program by adding some stability to the literacy program. My daughter Brigid loves coming and always asks when the next one is going to be.
Our intention is to try to have our campaign wrapped up by the first of Advent, which is November 29th this year. You can respond by clicking the button at the bottom of this page and filling our our online Stewardship form.
Thank you for your generous support of St. Matthias Episcopal Church!
P.S. - Consider having your pledge withdrawn from your checking account directly or giving online. Giving online has the advantage of allowing you to change payment dates and funding sources at your convenience, the option of paying from your cell phone, and instant tax records.
The Rev. David Simmons, ObJN