"The miracle is this ... the more we share, the more we have." -- Leonard Nimoy
"If we are to use anything as the gift of God, we are to use everything as God's gift." -- William Law
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." -- Winston Churchill
Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also --Luke 12:34
Commonly Asked Questions About Stewardship
People always have questions about Stewardship. We've created this page to try to answer some of the most frequently asked questions.
What is Stewardship?
Stewardship is our response to all the gifts that God has given us. Think about your time, talent and treasure -- they are your greatest gifts, given to you by a God who loves you unconditionally. As you consider these gifts, pray the following prayers:
Heavenly Father, in you I live and move and have my being: I humbly pray you so to guide and govern me by your Holy Spirit, that in all the cares and occupations of my life I may not forget you, but may remember that I am ever walking in your sight; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Almighty and gracious God, I give you thanks for the fruits of the earth in their season and for the labors of those who harvest them. Make me, I pray, a faithful steward of your great bounty, for the provision of my necessities and the relief of all who are in need, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
O merciful Creator, your hand is open wide to satisfy the needs of every living creature: Make me always thankful for your loving providence; and grant that I, remembering the account that I must one day give, may be a faithful steward of all your good gifts; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Why Give Money or Time to A Church?
The Episcopal Network for Stewardship reminds us that "stewardship is not a program, it is not about raising money, and it is not here today and gone tomorrow. Stewardship is a journey. It is about life – a way of life." Put simply, giving is our response to what we have received. We are created in God’s image, as we read in the Book of Genesis, and God gives. God gives us life and love, forgiveness and mercy. Stewardship is our response to God’s gifts, in which we give of our time, talent, and treasure so that the church can carry on its ministries of worship, formation, and service. Stewardship is our giving back to God, in thanksgiving, a portion of the blessings we have received.
What is a Pledge?
A pledge is your commitment of a certain amount of money to help this community do the work that God has given it to do.
Is giving to St. Clement's by-the-Sea the same as giving to God?
Today, there are many worthy charities doing good work. They deserve your financial support. Many of our members do not limit their giving to their local congregation. However, for nearly 2000 years, this is what we know to be true: making a decision to give back to God through the ministry of the Church is an essential way for us to carry on Christ’s work of reconciliation in the world.
What about gifts of time and talent?
The ministry of St. Clement’s could not survive without the countless hours of donated time and the generous sharing of talents and gifts by so many of our members. The gifts of time and talent are invaluable to our common life and are very much appreciated.
Why fill out a pledge card?
Each year the Vestry of St. Clement’s asks the parish members to make a financial offering in the form of a pledge. Only when the signed pledge cards are received and totaled can the church’s leadership adequately plan for the upcoming year. The overwhelming majority of the church’s total operating budget is funded by the pledges of our members. Without a broad-based financial commitment through pledging, we would not be able to offer the kind of pastoral care, spiritual formation, support of worthy outreach ministries in the community around us, and the quality worship that we have all come to appreciate.
Doesn’t the diocese help our congregation cover our expenses?
No. In this country, the church is funded from the bottom up, not the top down. It is the local congregations, through the pledges of its members, who support the work of the Diocese. The Diocese, in turn, sends money to the National Church in support of our larger national and international mission.
Should one make a pledge as an individual or a couple?
There is no hard and fast rule. Most married couples sign one pledge card. Some people feel strongly about making their own individual pledge. Each young person who has been confirmed by the bishop is invited to make his or her own pledge, as well as those adults over the age of 18 living in the family home.
What if one decides not to pledge and instead puts cash into the Sunday collection?
All monies given to the church are offered to the glory of God. However, the total yearly amount received from collection plate offerings accounts for a small fraction of the monies needed to fund all that St. Clement's does in this community of faith and the community of San Clemente. As Jesus said while being tempted in the wilderness, "One does not live by bread alone." Nor can this congregation flourish through collection plate offerings alone.
Is it true that each household or individual that pledges gets a quarterly bill?
Not exactly. When a pledge is made, a number is assigned to the giver. Pledge envelopes distributed the first of the year all have the giver’s envelope number printed in the corner. Whenever you use your pledge envelope by putting it into the collection plate or mailing it to the church office, the Treasurer is able to give you credit for what you contributed. That is why it is beneficial to use the pledge envelopes rather than putting loose cash into the collection plates. Quarterly statements, not bills, are mailed out to remind members of their progress in paying their pledge for the year. Since the church has expenses throughout the calendar year, it is important that most members stay current with their giving. For those that have requested envelopes but have not pledged the statement reflects their giving for the time period covered. The year-end statement mailed to each household or individual that has envelopes is an essential document for those who claim their gift as a tax deduction. It pays to request and to use the pledge envelopes!
Suppose my personal financial picture varies from month to month, year to year?
One of the most frequent reasons people offer for not making a pledge is that they are uncertain about their overall financial picture in the year ahead. In today’s economy, your personal financial picture may change from month-to-month, year-to-year. When you make a pledge for the upcoming year, should your income drop dramatically, please know that you may decrease your pledge by speaking with the Rector. On the other hand, should you experience an added bonus or dividend during the year, you are of course free to increase your pledge.
What if I was not able to pay your pledge in full in years past?
Each year the slate is wiped clean. We send you an end of year statement, and if you can catch up in the coming year, great! We appreciate that. However, if circumstances prevented you from fulfilling past pledges, do not allow that experience to discourage pledging for the upcoming year. Simply throw away the old pledge envelopes and begin the New Year with the new envelopes issued to you in December for the coming year.
When Do I Pledge?
You can make a pledge to the church at any time. There are pledge cards in the pew racks in the church for this purpose each week. Pledges are most helpful when made prayerfully as a year-long commitment during the annual pledge drive in the fall, normally the end of October/beginning of November. Most people fulfill their pledges in installments, every week or every month, throughout the year.
How much should I pledge?
In truth, we can never give back to God as much as we have been given. Each one of us needs to ask the question "how much is enough" and answer it for oneself. Some of our members -- including and especially our Rector -- have been tithing – giving 10% of their income – for years, and they speak with great passion and joy for what the discipline has meant in their lives. You are invited and encouraged to make your pledge a proportional gift – a percentage of your household gross income. If pledging is new for you, you may want to start small. Begin by giving 2% or 3% of your household gross income and try to increase each year until you reach 10%.
What is St. Clement's Endowment Fund?
This parish, historical landmark #1 in San Clemente, has been a beacon of love and hope in this city for more than 80 years. In order to ensure that we are here to care for those that God brings to us for 80 more years and beyond, we have established the St. Clement's Endowment Fund. The Endowment Fund is designed to meet the long range needs of this parish, ensuring in times of great need or expansion that we have the resources necessary to meet whatever financial burden those times will require. Planning ahead -- participating in Planned Giving -- ensures that St. Clement's will be around for generations to come.
What is Planned Giving?
It is the integration of charitable giving with tax-advantaged estate planning that can occur both during your life and at your death.
Endowment vehicles include:
Simple Bequests in a Trust or Will
Life Income Gifts
Gifts of Life Insurance
Gifts of Real Estate
Gifts of Appreciated Property
Gifts of Unused Retirement or Pension Funds
For more information, please contact the Rector, Finance Chair or Treasurer at the church office at 949.492.3401.