Why are we having a Stewardship Campaign?

On Sunday 21st May, Jacqueline launched our Stewardship Campaign, preaching a sermon drawn from Paul’s message to the Corinthians in Chapter 8 vv 1-7. Over the following few days we should have all received an envelope in which there is an explanation of the current financial situation of St. Johns and why it is necessary to seriously review the level of our regular giving if we are to avoid running out of money in the not too distant future.

For the last three years, the church has incurred an annual operating deficit of about £20,000.  This means that, excluding the Centre which is planned to generate income to cover its annual expenditure and development, the church has been spending significantly more than it has been receiving. We have kept going because we have had reasonable reserves in the General Church Fund. But there is now less than £12,000 left in it and the Budget for this year is predicting a £22000 deficit. And this is after the PCC has rigorously reviewed all items of expenditure.

These two charts show where we expect to have to spend our money

and where we expect our income to come from in 2017.

A measure of the issue is that it would need an average increase of £20 per month from all our current regular givers for the gap to be bridged and our financial situation to be put on a reasonable footing for the future. Of course, our individual responses will be unique to our own circumstances but our problem is collective.

The literature we have received from the Churchwardens and Clergy Team explains the situation, the need and the possibilities for action in more detail. The more people who sign up to regular giving, using the Parish Giving Scheme, Gift Aiding our donations and inflation linking them, the more the problem is shared and the solution more likely to be achieved.

We are also being asked to consider making a legacy to St. John’s in our wills, which would be an expression of our gratitude and thanksgiving to God by making a significant contribution to transforming the Church’s future work in Merrow.

Brian Taylor (01483 571712) and Sara England (01483 504205) have kindly volunteered to help in confidence anyone who would wish to speak further on the subject.

If there is anyone who by chance hasn’t received the pack, please let us know.

In the love of Christ

Robert and Helen.

 

Summary of Jacqueline’s Sermon

on Sunday 21 May

 

Our Stewardship campaign rests in that circle of love that exists for Christians between God and his people through the power of the Holy Spirit brought to us through Jesus.

 

WE ARE people responding to the call of Jesus to be here together on our journeys of life that are not so much about pounds and pence but about peace, fulfilment, freedom and friendship - and about service and passing on God’s hope and love.

 

It is about being part of a community spirit that dwells in a house of God – St John’s – a house that can survive the demands of the world-pull and stay functional and fit for purpose so that we can join in with God in building his kingdom by experiencing all that good news of the Gospel for ourselves and the wider community and beyond…

 

We are called to come together - as a family - and pull ourselves out of the glitch in our daily budgeting finances – to get us back on track. We can do it because we are loved by God beyond measure and because we love him in return.

 

The time is now and it is down to us to try our best to become more sustainable and smarter so that such a situation is less likely to happen again…. And that is all that is asked of us – that we do our best…

 

And as Christians, our best is to follow Jesus - to live out heavenly ideals in earthly ways that he taught us. Jesus knew that dealing with money and stewardship matters is part of following him as disciples and in fact, one in three of his parables are embedded in a story and meaning about money – two masters, the rich man, the talents, the love of money…

 

Giving in Grace - giving in the safety and security that God is with us and for us and through us in Jesus's name - will be key in all of us doing what we can together – not with a worldly ’them and us’ attitude – but a spirit-filled togetherness, finding confidence in numbers

Remember the Macedonians who showed us that overflowing thanksgiving and joy is what giving is about – not overflowing wealth… (2Cor.8:1-7) – We can all be thankful and joyful that this grace-filled community of St John’s is always there for us through thick and thin. Giving is sharing, and sharing is caring…

Remember also that it isn’t simply about £5 or £10 or £20, but about a heartfelt intention to do all we can…

Ideal action = £20 more – Ideal intention = our prayerful best…

Please use the spiritual tools – the prayer – the devotional booklet – the stewardship ‘friends’, Brian and Sara, and remember that God WILL be with us in our best efforts…

May the Lord Bless and Keep us all – now and always….

Jacqueline

 

 
 

 

St John’s Stewardship Prayer

 

Lord of Life,

We thank you for your generous and loving grace.

Help us to be assured that all we have and need

comes from you alone.

Guide us to be wise and responsible in our stewardship

of all good gifts bestowed upon us.

Direct us to be confident shareholders in your kingdom

here in St John's, and to give what we can

in faithful trust that financial sharing

empowers rich and spiritual flourishing

for ourselves, our community, and all who turn to you in faith.

Help us to respond each day to those

generous promptings of the Holy Spirit

so that together we can offer generosity of spirit in return.

In the name of your Son our Saviour, Jesus Christ.

Amen