Dear Church Family

As I mentioned in Friday’s bulletin, over the next three weeks I will be sending out a ‘Giving Bulletin’ like this one, sharing important information about our church finances and inviting you to participate in securing and growing our income for the coming year. 

This is important for us as a church and we look ahead, and as a PCC we simply want to encourage you all to join in as much as you can in supporting the church financially at this time.  The purpose of this is to encourage us all to think again about giving to St Mary’s and, if possible, increasing your gift so that as a church we can not only meet our obligations but continue to grow our mission and ministry. 

For some of us this will be a new thing, for others of us it will be about reviewing what we are already doing.

All of this is leading up to a special ‘Reconsecration Sunday’ on Sunday 17th March, and inviting everyone to make a financial pledge to the church as they are able. 


There are two main ways into this whole giving thing.  One way is to tell people about the figures – how we spend our money, how much things cost, and to share what we would like to do over the coming years.  The other is to encourage people to think, to pray and to reflect – to think about their giving, to reflect on their feelings about it, and to explore, with God, whether they would like to change or start giving. 

I will let you know about the figures next week, and at the weekend there will be a short booklet to pick up at church that will outline these in easy-to-understand ways.  But this week, at the start of it all, I just want to encourage you to join me in thinking about giving with me.


So have a think…  How do you feel about your giving to the church right now?  Do you feel positive about it, or less so?  Do you feel it is a stretch for you, or is it a smaller thing?  Does it feel important, or is it lower down on the priority list?  Is it something you have control over, or is it something you feel is out of your control?  What does it mean to you?  What would make you give more?  What might stop you wanting to, or being able to give more?

All this gets us thinking about our relationship to money.  How is yours?  Do you feel comfortable with money or is it a concern for you right now?  Why is this?  And how do you feel about money and God?  Our giving often tells us about our relationship to money, but it also tells us about our relationship to God.  And to the church.  What does they way you give tell you about your relationship with God, and St Mary’s right now?


Think about this with me too.  All of us have been hit by a rise in costs.  Our mortgages, our rents, our heating bills, the cost of food, and travel – every aspect of life has become more expensive over the last few years.  It costs more to live than it used to. 

How has this impacted your life?  Have you been hit hard, or less so?  Do you feel anxious about making ends meet?  Where have you felt the pinch the most?

Think about your income too.  How has this fared in recent years.  Have you benefited from an increase in income, or have you had to cope with a drop?  And what difference has this made to you?  How secure do you feel? 


Money has many meanings for us, and this changes over the course of our lives.  Money can be about pleasure and adventure and novelty.  Or it can be about status and power.  Or it can be about security and safety.  Or about opportunity and creativity.  It can also be about blessing, enjoyment, and love. Or perhaps you have some other ideas.

We are told in the bible that ‘the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil’.  Why is this?  What is its danger?  Why is money never neutral?  Why can we fear it, or hoard it?  Where does jealousy come from?  Why does knowing how much money other people have impact how we feel?  Why do we feel envy or disappointment? 


What does giving do to you as a giver?  Why do you give?  Why might you give more… or less?  How do you feel about being asked to give more?  And why is this?

Giving money to God, to support the church and to unite with others around a shared goal is a beautiful thing and for Christians it is a normal part of our discipleship and obedience to Jesus.  The scriptures are full of stories and texts that emphasise the importance of giving and we are repeatedly encouraged to be generous with our resources.  Is it a surprise that there are over 2000 verses in the bible about money – twice as many as verse on prayer and faith combined?  Did you know that 40% of Jesus’ parables are about money?  Why do you think this is?  Why did Jesus say that it was impossible to serve both God and Money – we have to choose? Why is it hard for richer people to enter the Kingdom of God? Why does God love a cheerful giver?


I’ve asked lots of questions.  And the reason is to encourage us all to think.  To wonder.  To reflect.  About money.  About us and money.  About what it means and how we feel about it. 

Join me.  Take a moment to think. 

And then, why not turn these thoughts into a prayer to God.  Share your thoughts with him.

I am sure that God will be delighted to hear your prayers. Have a good week.