St. Luke’s has been a growing, generous group for the past decade. As with most churches of our means, there is room for growth in the financial contributions of our members. Such growth would make substantial additional resources available for our ministries.
We take a traditional approach to monetary resources. Pledge cards are sent out on St. Luke’s Day encouraging members to complete and return cards by the Sunday before Thanksgiving. During Sunday services, selected parishioners provide testimony to the congregation on their experience at St. Luke’s and encourage others to join in the stewardship campaign. We experienced an expected pledge drop in 2018 when our Rector’s departure coincided with the beginning of our campaign. However, two-thirds of our pledging households from the previous year have committed to increase their gift in 2019.
St. Luke’s undertook successful capital campaigns in 2009 and again in 2014. The first raised $1 million from parishioners to update our facilities, replace the bell tower and retire the original mortgage on our Parish House. Ten percent of that campaign also was pledged to outreach. The second campaign raised an additional $600,000 to completely renovate and modernize the undercroft of our historic church.
Now that we no longer have any foreseeable "capital campaign" items on the horizon, future plans include the creation of a general endowment. A small portion of our current congregation has inquired about testamentary gifts and we need to provide that opportunity, as well as education on the process of future gifts as part of our ongoing stewardship education plan.
Our building endowment, begun in 2014 from a key gift of $50,000, has risen to almost $200,000 from continued giving by other members. These endowed funds are restricted and may only be used to care for our physical plant.
The generosity and affluence of our community is obvious -- yet annual stewardship giving remains a challenge, not unlike congregations of similar means and education. St. Luke’s is implementing new methods of approaching stewardship by being more transparent with the congregation about the financial needs of our parish and approaching stewardship through more holistic, intentional and future-oriented techniques.
As we continue to educate members and evolve to understand what Bishop Curry describes as “Transformational Giving,” our annual budget should remain as strong in the future as it has in the past.