Did you know that over two-thirds of our income at St. Mark's comes from the support of parishioners and friends? You might find this handout from our treasurer, Michael Ida, interesting. Last Sunday the vestry met for their monthly meeting, and we discussed the finances and stewardship practices of the parish. Phyllis Shimabukuro, the chair of our stewardship team, recently attended the diocesan stewardship day, and she shared the information from the presentations. St. Mark's has already been doing several of the ideas that were presented.
One new stewardship practice that we have begun is online giving through the parish website. You can easily set up an account, and you can donate for a variety of parish ministries. You may even set up recurring payments. One of the things that we heard from our younger members was that St. Mark's was the only institution for which they wrote checks. All other donations and bills were done online. We are trying to catch up with the current trends. Online donations to St. Mark's may be made via your bank accounts or credit cards, and many have stated that they are happy to use their credit cards for the sake of earning airline miles. You also have the option to pay the transaction fee, and the treasurer has happily reported that most donors have chosen to do this. Personally, I appreciate that when I give online, I immediately receive an email documenting my donation.
But if you give online, doesn't it look as if you do not support the church when the collection plate passes on a Sunday? Isn't there something important about visibly supporting the church with our offerings? How do we set the example to newcomers that we give to the church regularly? Beginning this Sunday, there will be small index cards on the back table of the church. If you support the church with your pledge or other donations online, please pick up a card when coming to mass. When the collection plate comes, you may place the card in the plate as a sign of your support. When the offerings are blessed at the altar, your online donation is also blessed. When the offerings are counted, the cards will be removed and returned to the back of the church.
We are hearing more and more in the media about the unprecedented wealth in our world - about the creation of a super class of extremely rich people. Conversely, Jesus talks about money and wealth more than any other topic in the scriptures, and its ability to keep us trapped in fear and anxiety. If the church is to be faithful to Jesus, we must teach generosity and the need for every human to share their resources. The vestry hopes that online giving is one small way that all of us may grow in generosity of spirit.
Father Paul Lillie