• Fall 2022 Stewardship FAQs

    What is a pledge? How do I make one?

    A pledge is a statement of intention.  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.

    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 2023 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.

    Pledge Form

    The JotForm 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. 

     

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

    Sources of Operating Funds 2022

    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 2022 budgeted annual operating income:

    65% came from pledges

    24% came from an annual draw from our endowment (5% of the 3-year rolling average balance)

    7% came from rental income

    3% came from non-pledge giving

    1% was budgeted from a general purpose, unrestricted invested fund, Poduska

     

    Uses of Operating Funds 2022

    Worship, Healing, Prayer & Ritual Care 34%

    Music & Arts Culture 13%

    Outreach & Service 10%

    Faith Formation All Ages 11%

    Church Operations   9%

    Care of Historic Building 23%

     

    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, 2022.

    Step Range # of Households Sum of Amt Pledged
    $1-499/year 5 $         800 
    $500-999/year 13 $      8,420 
    $1,000-$1,999/year 23 $    27,648 
    $2,000-$2,999/year 26 $    61,877 
    $3,000-$3,999/year 16 $    50,120 
    $4,000-$5,999/year 12 $    58,245 
    $6,000-$7,999/year 8 $    52,900 
    $8,000-$9,999/year 4 $    33,662 
    $10,000-$14,999/year 9 $    95,628 
    $15,000-$24,999/year 3 $    62,000 
    $25,000-39,999/year 3 $    89,000 
    $40,000+/year 2 $ 101,000 
      124 $ 641,300 

     

    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.  61% of member households pledged and 20% of non-member households pledged in 2022.   Our church needs the support of all of its faith community, whether officially covenanted members or not. All who participate in the life of the church are welcomed and encouraged to pledge. If you haven’t pledged before, please consider pledging this year so that we can increase our participation percent.

    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)

    Click here, to 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 our Treasurer Janet Hall or any member of the Financial Resources Ministry. Also visit the stewardship website https://fcc-winchester.com/stewardship/

     

    Yours faithfully,

    The Financial Resources Ministry

    Jonathan Goodell, Ben Keeler, Jennifer Murtie, Penny Sparrow, Taylor Tresselt (Chair), Ed Valeriano and John Wilson

     

    Ex-Officio: Lead Pastor, Rev Will Burhans, Treasurer, Janet Hall, Associate Treasurer, Anne Hoenicke

    Investment Portfolio Balancing: David DuBard

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