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  • 2023 Pledging Frequently Asked Questions


    Frequently Asked Questions

    Your pledging participation is vital to the life and health of our church. Pledging helps us be more intentional with our giving, and it is one of many ways we show our commitment to our faith community. We invite you to learn more about how your giving impacts our church and bolsters its ability to support the larger community in need.

    What is a pledge? How do I make one?

    A pledge is a statement of intention—a monetary reflection of support for the next year for First Congregational Church and the wider community. Each year, we are all asked to make a thoughtful, prayerful and faithful intention to financially support the mission and ministries of our church. Pledging is just one of many aspects of being part of the First Congregational Church.  Just as we join in faith through worship, prayer, ministries and missions, pledging is the monetary reflection of support for our church community. Pledges are confidential, non-binding, and no pledge is too small. 100% of your pledge goes to support active FCCW ministries and we are blessed to receive pledges from a diverse group—active members of the church, new acquaintances, and remote friends of FCCW!

    Pledging is a helpful planning tool for the coming year, both for you and for the church. By communicating the amount that you intend to give for the 2024 calendar year to support the operating budget, you allow the church to understand the level of anticipated annual giving by members and participants and help us to set our annual budget.  Pledges are not binding in the event that your financial circumstances change; you may communicate your change in intentions at any time during the year by confidentially contacting the Treasurer, Janet Hall.

    To communicate your pledge intention, you can click the button below to make a confidential and secure pledge. You may also mail the pledge card you received in the mail to the church or email or call the Treasurer to communicate your pledge.

    Secure Pledge Form

    This information goes securely to our church office administrator. Pledge amounts are known only by the Treasurer, Associate Treasurer, Financial Resources Ministry Chair, Lead Pastor and Office Administrator. 

    Why is my pledge important?

    The ministries and mission of First Congregational Church are solely supported by the generosity, energy, and commitment of its members and friends—present and past. Our congregational community follows a transparent annual budgeting process, consistently aligning the church’s work with its financial resources. Your pledge gives the church a realistic view of the total support we are blessed with to put to work.

    How does my gift make a difference?

    Your faithful giving supports real spiritual and practical needs in the FCCW community and beyond. Our church makes lives better through worship, prayer, mission, Christian education, and outreach, among other ways. Giving in proportion to our blessings provides the church buoyancy in times of plenty and times of want.

    Where does the money come from and where does it go?

    Sources of Operating Funds 2023

    You may (or may not) be surprised to learn that, unlike some other denominations, the ministries and mission of First Congregational Church in Winchester are solely supported by the generosity, energy, and commitment of its members and participants—present and past. 

    Of our 2023 budgeted annual operating income:
    • 63% came from pledges
    • 23% came from an annual draw from our endowment
    • 10% came from rental income
    • 3% came from non-pledge giving
    • 1% came from other income

    Uses of Operating Funds 2023
    • Care of Historic Building  25%
    • Worship, Ritual & Livestream  20%
    • Music & Arts  12%
    • Mission & Outreach  10%
    • Faith Formation for All Ages 10%
    • Church Office Operations   9%
    • Pastoral & Congregational Care  9%
    • Ministries Administration  4%

    How much do people pledge? How much should I pledge?

    The average pledge in 2022 was $5,172, the median pledge (half above, half below) was $2,565, and the most frequent amount pledged was $3,000.

    This chart summarizes the various levels of pledging for this past year, 2023.

    Step Range # of Households Sum of Amt Pledged
    $1-499/year 7 $1,400 
    $500-999/year 10 $5,610
    $1,000-$1,999/year 21 $27,348
    $2,000-$2,999/year 14 $33,967 
    $3,000-$3,999/year 22 $68,690
    $4,000-$5,999/year 12 $58,080
    $6,000-$7,999/year 8 $54,220
    $8,000-$9,999/year 3 $24,422
    $10,000-$14,999/year 10 $105,064
    $15,000-$24,999/year 3 $64,000
    $25,000-39,999/year 3  $96,000
    $40,000+/year 2  $103,000
      115 $641,801


    Each family considers a pledge amount that is appropriate for them. We ask that individuals and families make a pledge that is faithful to the goals and mission of the church and one that is meaningful based on their financial situation.  Might you consider stepping up one level for next year? Perhaps you could consider a 6% increase from your last year’s pledge in recognition of the 6% Cost of Living Adjustment anticipated for personnel salaries next year. New confirmands are encouraged to talk over with their families whether to begin pledging independently.

    Do only members pledge?

    Both members and non-member participants pledge.  65% of member households pledged and 15% of non-member households pledged in 2023. Our church needs the support of all of its faith community, whether officially covenanted members or not, and all are encouraged to pledge. If you haven’t pledged before, please consider pledging this year and help us meet our participation goal of 65% of all active households (member and non-member).

    How can I pay my pledge?

    You may pay your pledge weekly, monthly, quarterly, in lump sums, or according to any schedule you choose. Several families pay their full pledge at the beginning of the year to help with the church’s cash flow needs.

    There are many ways you can make your pledge payments. They are:

    • Use Venmo
    • Use Vanco for Electronic Funds Transfer EFT (an automated, periodic method)
    • Write a check
    • Put cash in the offering plate during Worship
    • Give appreciated stock
    • Use Paypal (3% fee deducted from your payment amount)

    Read more about each method of payment.

    Can I give without pledging?

    All gifts to the church are welcomed and appreciated – they all go to support the mission and ministries for doing good in the world, for making God’s love and justice real in the world, and to help people’s lives for the better—within and beyond our doors.

    Annual pledging provides the added benefit of helping us to clarify each fall how much money will be available to carry out those missions and ministries for the year, and thereby helps us plan our budget. This is critical information for making careful, purposeful decisions about church activities, ministry and maintenance. 

    On a personal level, pledging helps to transform your giving into a spiritual practice; you make an intentional commitment to God and to your church family, and fulfilling it becomes a regular practice just like attendance at worship, praying, or serving our broader faith community by volunteering your time.

    Do we receive financial support from our denomination, the UCC?

    No financial resources come to the church from our larger denomination, the UCC.  In fact, our church in Winchester provides its financial support to the UCC and the Southern New England Conference (MA, RI, CT) each year. We do this as a part of our covenantal relationship with our denomination so together with other churches we can have a larger impact upon the needs around the world, including medical debt relief, hurricane disaster relief and other urgent needs in the US and worldwide.

    I have more questions – who can I ask?

    Please contact Taylor Tresselt, Chair of the Financial Resources Ministry, our Treasurer Janet Hall, or any member of the Financial Resources Ministry. You can also visit our stewardship page.