As many of you know, talking about money is one of my least favorite and most despised tasks – but it must be done. Please forgive me for the necessity of bringing up this crass subject.
At our recent parish council meeting it was noted that although attendance at the parish continues to go up, contributions to the support of the parish have gone down. Remember that this Church is our Church and it is our responsibility to keep it up, keep the bills paid, keep the doors open, keep the lights on and so forth. The expenses of the parish Church are just like the expenses of your family home – if you neglect your own home, the electricity and water get turned off, there is no food and the house gets foreclosed by the bank. It is our task together to support the parish, to keep the doors open and the lights on – to be a haven of peace and prayer in a chaotic world. There is no other source of income – no “grants” or state payments or taxes that support the Church – we are the only support of the local Church.
In order to keep up the temple of God, in the Law, God Himself instituted the tithe – that is a tenth of one’s income – that is given to the Church in order to “pay the bills”. This is not charitable giving that we do or not depending on our resources and inclination – this is a duty that we owe to God. In the Christian Church the “tithe” of the Law is given to us as a guideline, but it does not define the limit of what we can give. While the “tithe” can be a minimum, it is always good and desirable to give more than that if you able. Anything that is over and above our regular expenses goes towards improving (or in some cases, adding to) the building, maintaining the property in good order, and towards charitable works that the Church does (aiding the poor, providing scholarships to conferences for both youth and adults, etc). Remember that in the Church in Jerusalem, during the time of the apostles, the Christians gave all that they had to the Church for their mutual support and well being. Many of the saints spoke about dividing their income into thirds – one third for their home and family, one third for the Church and one third for the poor.
Let us each look at what God has given to us and begin to regularly support our parish. You can directly put a check or cash into an envelope marked for the support of the Church and put it in the box at the candle table. You can put cash or checks into the offering basket after liturgy. You can have your bank automatically send a check to the Church each month drawn from your account. We also are working on setting up a new automatic giving option so that money is transferred directly from your account to the Church’s account. As soon as this option is available, we will send email to everyone on the Church membership list with instructions on how to subscribe.