Changes in Stewardship

A few weeks ago, on May 15, we celebrated our volunteers with the annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner. It was a night filled with lots of music, dance, good food and many laughs. We hope you were able to attend but if not be sure to try and make it next year. The evening is a great way for the staff to demonstrate how much we appreciate and honor our volunteers. St. Peter’s could not possibly offer the programs or services we do without the help of volunteers. You are truly good stewards and are very much appreciated.

Volunteering is the perfect example of how to live a life of stewardship within the church. When we talk about stewardship we typically refer to the three T’s of time, talent and treasure. By volunteering, one shares his or her time and their talent. In a prior article I referred to stewardship as being a three legged stool, a stool cannot stand if it is missing one or two legs. Volunteering will provide support to two of those legs.

The amount of time a person is able to give will most definitely depend on family life, work vs. retirement, physical ability and a willingness to give of oneself.  There is no set rule or guideline to follow. Each individual must follow their own heart in making this decision. Taking time to pray and discern how much time you are willing to give is often the first step. If you have not volunteered at the parish in the past, perhaps consider doing so now. You may find the experience to be very rewarding!

Each year we call our parishioners to participate in our stewardship weekend and commitment of your time, talent and treasure. The past two years we have worked with the company Catholic Stewardship Consultants to assist us in this process. It has included a retreat for parish leaders, the development of brochures and commitment cards, ministry fairs, volunteer follow-up and monthly newsletters. We have learned a great deal from this company and are more committed than ever to follow the path of stewardship within the church.

One of the important functions of parish leadership is to make sure that the parish is using all of our resources in the best manner possible. This includes time as well as treasure. The decision has been made to end our contract with Catholic Stewardship Consultants effective the end of June. There is a Stewardship Committee of very devoted volunteers that will assist in taking over where the consultants have left off. We are not giving up on the idea of stewardship but rather feel that we have the tools to teach and conduct this process within the confines of the parish.

If you wonder what this will mean to the average parishioner, any change you see will be minimal. One of the first changes you will notice is that the newsletter will change its appearance slightly. There will still be articles, pictures and updates on events as you are currently seeing, just the format will change. We will still hold a ministry and a commitment weekend although the printed materials will look a little different this year. We will be able to adjust them to fit closer to our needs.

The biggest change will take place on the timing of commitment weekend. After a lot of discussion, pouring through calendars and taking into account other activities within the parish we have decided to move the whole process to the fall. The ministry fair will be held in September followed two weeks later by commitment weekend. In between the two we will have our Fall Festival and a chance to see how much fun volunteering can be! Follow-up will take place throughout the remainder of October and into November. By the time Advent arrives we will be able to focus on the coming of Jesus Christ.

Any financial commitment made will be for the calendar year of 2015. Just as your pledge made in January was for the 2014 calendar year, your pledge this fall will be for the 2015 calendar year. We have found that keeping financial commitments defined to calendars years is much easier for parishioners as well as for the parish’s accounting.

Now that you have been informed of what is coming for this year, why don’t I share with you the results from this past January’s stewardship commitment. If you will recall each household was sent a commitment card with an
opportunity to sign up for time, talent and treasure. There were a total of 283 cards returned.

In terms of time spent in prayer:
Two hundred fifteen (215) commitment cards were returned with prayer commitments, 830 total prayer commitments, 3.86 was the average prayer commitments per household. Those that attended mass every Sunday was at 200, while 87 attended weekday mass at least once every week or month. 162 of you spend at least 15
minutes a day in personal prayer and 97 said they prayed with a loved one.

In terms of sharing your talents:
An amazing 1,084 of talent commitments were recorded, 716 already involved and 368 looking to join. The average number of sign-ups per household was 5.29! Some of our largest ministries included the Giving Tree at 80, Fall Festival Volunteers at 56 and Council of Catholic Women (CCW) at 47. The Fall Festival garnered the most interested in joining followed closely by the Giving Tree.

In terms of sharing your treasure:
There were 229 household made treasure commitments for an average pledge of $1,922. That is a total of $440,056 in pledges for 2014 or an increase of $58,722 over the prior year!

As you can see we are a parish of committed parishioners. However, we will continue to strive for even greater involvement in all areas of stewardship. We will continue to educate and emphasize a stewardship way of life. If we give back first to God for all the gifts he has given us then we will continue to reap even greater rewards.

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