Like all churches, St. Luke’s depends on the voluntary giving of its members. There are many ways to give, and they are not all about money – many people give generously of their time and their talents – but we still need to fund an annual budget that is close to $700,000.
St. Luke’s has no large endowments to fall back on, so it depends mainly on its annual Stewardship Campaign in which members are asked to pledge as much as they feel they are able to give for the upkeep and running of the church. Stewardship is about giving back – acknowledging how God has blessed us. It is also about choices – the choices all of us are called upon to make about how we spend our money and what priority we are prepared to give to God’s work and God’s church.
Aside from supporting the church on an annual basis, there are other ways to give, and the Rector and members of the Vestry are always willing to talk to you privately about them.
Stewardship (Annual Pledging)
The Stewardship Committee works closely with the Finance Committee and Treasurer to set goals for the annual giving campaign, which funds all church operations, including staff salaries. The committee is charged with developing strategies for meeting the goal and seeking the commitments of all parishioners in supporting the church. Though the committee’s members may change annually, the group’s philosophy remains consistent
“If St. Luke’s is truly your spiritual home, then surely it is a place that is worth supporting to the best of your ability.”
If you are interested in stewardship and would like to volunteer (or give!), please call the church office at 908-234-0002.
Frequently Asked Questions About Stewardship And an Estimate of Giving (Pledging)
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is using the gifts God has given us, to do the work God is calling us to do. We are stewards of the many gifts we have received through God’s grace and love. Stewardship is about the choices we make about how we spend our lives in response to God’s love and generosity. Our ability to pursue the mission and ministries to which God has called us depends on the generosity of spirit of those who are a part of our community of St. Luke’s. Giving of your time, talent and treasure or financial resources makes it possible for St. Luke’s to assist and nurture people and to teach about God’s love.
What is an Estimate of Giving?
An Estimate of Giving is a written estimate of the financial support you are willing to give for the year to help carry out the ministries, programs and day-to-day operations of the parish of St. Luke’s for the year. This estimate of what we hope to give is an affirmation of our commitment to give back to God a portion of the gifts God has given to us. Our written estimate is an intentional plan to give our gifts from the top, our first fruits. It reflects the need to put God first. A commitment of oneself to God includes a pledge of our financial resources.
I put my money in the offering plate. Can’t I just do that?
Loose offerings in the plate are appreciated and help to support St. Luke’s. But by writing down an estimate, you are making a purposeful decision to put God first instead of giving based on what happens to be in your wallet. In addition, it is difficult for the Vestry to plan and operate the church based on plate offerings. By providing an estimate of giving, you will support the Vestry’s planning of the operating funds for the year to sustain our ministries, programs, and day-to-day operations, which support every parish family and others beyond our church community.
How much should I estimate or pledge?
This is between you and God. Scripture calls for 10% of our time, talent and treasures or a tithe. Some tithe and many have made a commitment to work toward tithing by starting with a percentage of income and increasing it over time. Another way is to estimate your weekly income and determine how much to give each week.
The important thing is that we give in gratitude for all our blessings and make a conscious effort to determine an appropriate level of giving for today and allow our giving to grow in the future. For giving back to God is an act of worship enabling us to grow deeper in our faith. Giving is to experience God’s grace.
What happens if I need to change my estimate or I encounter financial hardship?
In the event your circumstances change, please contact the office or our rector, not only to revise your pledge downward or upward, but in case you might also desire pastoral care and support. You are a valued member of St. Luke’s no matter how much you give. God honors your faithfulness.
Can I submit an Estimate of Giving any time during the year?
Yes, you don’t have to wait until the Fall Stewardship Campaign to submit your estimate or to change it.
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Most monetary gifts to the church are given to help fund its general operational expenses. It is also possible, however, to give to one of our endowments, or to dedicate a gift to a particular ministry or cause, or a piece of equipment. If you have such a gift in mind, please talk to the Rector or a member of the Vestry about it.
Donations & Bequests
Donations in any amount are gladly received at any time. Many people like to make a donation in memory of a loved one or in thanksgiving for a particular event or person. Others make a decision to leave a bequest to the church in their wills. The Rector and the Parish Office can provide helpful advice on all such matters.
Contributing to the Capital Campaign
In 2013 St. Luke’s achieved the target figure of its Vision Legacy Campaign, and the results of that campaign can be seen in (among other things) the magnificent new Dorothy Dillon Allen Room, the new entrance from the parking lot – disabled-friendly, beautifully landscaped outside and wonderfully lighted inside – and a ministry endowment. It was decided to keep the campaign open so that further contributions might be made to the church’s endowments, on the one hand, and to individual improvement projects, such as a new sound system for the church and air conditioning in Greene Hall. The Rector and the Parish Office can provide helpful advice at any time.
It is a tradition at St. Luke’s that the altar flowers are funded each Sunday by donations made in memory of family members or friends. Those family members or friends are always included in the Prayers of the People on that Sunday. If you wish to make such a donation, please call the Parish Office at (908) 234-0002.
The Memorial Garden
Adjacent to Anne’s Garden for Little Children, the Memorial Garden had its beginnings in 1972 “as a place for the burial of the ashes of parishioners”. The official parish history, “The First Hundred Years”, published in 2000 for the centenary of the church, describes it thus: “In the center of the garden is a large stone on which stand bronze birds in flight, depicting the Resurrection. A tablet on the wall contains the names of all those whose ashes are buried in the garden in chronological order of burial. No dates are given, in the spirit of emphasizing the eternal Now. Many parishioners have contributed memorial gifts as well as their labor and love to maintain the beauty of the garden.”