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Generous Giving

You may have noticed that occasionally there are inserts in our newsletter from various organisations that seek donations. I am always wary of bombarding parishioners with too many donation requests. In fact, Ruth and I are constantly turning away requests from various organisations seeking to elicit donations from parishioners. However, when they are organisations or causes that the parish or the Anglican Church partners with, then I feel it is appropriate to pass on these funding requests.

No doubt, many of you will also give to other organisations that address some of your interests and concerns. Some of us are touched by particular needs in our society and want to do something about them. It seems that there are always more needs than there is money available.

The Parish as the local expression of the Church also is reliant on offerings. As you look at the financial statement of the past year and the proposed budget, you will realise that currently giving does not cover expenses. I don’t think it’s helpful to sound a note of doom: “If we don’t give more, then St Paul’s will have to close.” That does not elicit joyful giving. And yet, we also need to face financial reality. That could mean lowering expenses, finding new structures to share expenses, or using assets to generate income. Still, as a church we will to some extent always be reliant on offerings. And that is not a bad thing. It gives everyone a real stake in the ongoing life of the Parish. It also is a way of giving thanks to God. While addressing social need always should be part of our consideration in giving, thankfulness should be even more so.
Also, I think that giving should be so substantial that we actually notice it. If we do not give up anything, then is it really an offertory?

Since the need—in the Church and society—is greater than we can cover ourselves, I think
giving should be determined by everyone’s own situation. Here are some questions to guide our giving:

Is our giving joyful and springs from thankfulness?

What can we reasonably give?

Do we sacrifice something so that we can give?

Have we thought who and what we give to?

Is the money well used in the organisation we give to?

Does our offertory give glory to God?