Homily this weekend covered:
1) St. Paul's beautiful words about his missionary motive
2) how our parish has tried to emulate Paul this year
3) update on reallocating money from the campaign
4) concrete answers for getting out of our budget deficit
5) concrete tool to help us achieve our financial needs
Paul to Thessalonians
“We were gentle among you, as a nursing mother cares for her children.
With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us.
You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery.
Working night and day”
Paul is in Corinth and he’s writing to his very first letter.
This is very likely the first written piece of the New Testament.
Two things I want to touch on.
First: the beautiful line:
“With such affection for you, we were determined to share with you
not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well,
so dearly beloved had you become to us.”
This is what Christian missionary spirit should be, hat Christian life should look like; it is the first written statement of what pattern a local church should be built on.
“we were determined to share with you
not only the gospel of God, but our very selves as well”
our very selves
As Jesus was a gift to us, Paul determined to be self gift to his fellow Christians.
“Total gift of self” is a phrase we hear often.
It's at the core of the Christian story, starting with Jesus.
A year ago, as we were again preparing for our stewardship renewal weekend (which is next weekend) I preached on the idea that “Every thing I have I was given”.
All of our talents, abilities, even our breath, is not of our making.
I connected that to the Spiderman principle of “With great power comes great responsibility,” that, my gifts are given to me to be used wisely,
I have the power; I must use that responsibly.
Jesus and Paul take that a step further with the idea of total gift of self
“My gifts are given to me, and given to me to shared lovingly, generously, and sacrificially.”
And that ties in then with the second point of the Thessalonians quote:
“You recall, brothers and sisters, our toil and drudgery.
Working night and day”
Paul was determined to give his very self and give it fully, holding nothing back.
Paul had become aware on the road to Damascus, not merely of what he was doing wrong, but also of the generous love of God, who would call him and save him rather than condemn him.
So he ran around the known world like he had his pants on fire, giving of himself, because he had been given so much.
That really is the starting point of stewardship.
Not that “We all have been given so much time, talent, and treasure, that we better share it.”
But that we have been given so much more than even that.
We have been given life and breath by our Father.
We have been given the saving death and resurrection of his Son.
We have been given new life and new direction by their Spirit.
And so our first thoughts on stewardship should really be thanks and praise to God and a burning desire to make his salvation and goodness to us known to others
So let’s start with that:
We have been blessed with 723 families
Between July of 2016 and June of 2017 (our fiscal year) we have had 30 baptisms
2 adults enter full communion with the Church
44 first communions
I calculate from the number of Hosts we buy, about 60,000 Communions
and hundreds if not thousands of confessions heard in this church
But let’s not stop there
Dozens of parishioners go on retreats
Dozens of students go on mission trips
About 160 on Totus Tuus
Lenten Bible studies and a book study with our seminarian, Tony
Hundreds of hours from Altar society, PCCW, and St. Ludmillas, KofC, Saunders County Mens Group
Weekly Rosary on Tuesdays evenings, and before weekday and Sunday Masses
and probably 4000 or 5000 private holy hours in the church
We have untold hours of service and labor
maintenance and repairs; cleaning and cooking
Teaching CCD, lectoring, singing, ushering
Committees served on,
Diaper drives, paper drives, and Lord only knows how many pounds of food and toilet paper for food pantry
For all that, I say “Thank you.”
We have a parish that longs to give of its very self and longs to work and live generously.
Just like Paul described.
Soon you'll be getting your annual stewardship card in mail: sent out Friday morning
What are those things that we can do?
Don’t look just for service opportunity.
Can you do something to make you grow?
Take a class, bible study, or make a retreat?
Plug: Light of the world, November 18-19th
Sign up by next weekend, 12th
Contact Sally Gerdes
Can do other things not just on stewardship card
Ministerial Association: could use fresh beef or pork at pantry
People ask about other benevolence or even a benevolent society: talk to me
Gas requests and lodging calls this week
Put your ideas on card and put them in the collection next week or mail send to office.
I want to go back to updating you on stuff, let me update you about campaign reallocation
Don’t have an exact number of replies handy, but percent-wise, about 50% of all dollars given, we have heard back about
Front doors: $40,000
Budget shortfall: $45,000
Leave in: $50,000
Committee Decides: 155,000
Added a new category after town hall meetings: “Access, Safety, Security”
Several “Other” items had been for those type of things
Had been a big component of the original campaign plan
Might be the kind of thing then I would encourage “Committee Decides” to pursue
Might not be a brand new elevator
But two south doors need help
Council decided on roof bids and I put in order Thursday
Speaker estimate, ready to go
Doors, still working
School: getting a team together to start looking at what we can do for $250-300K
Sanctuary, always going to be the one we could do in stages
And again, all this is with just have the responses in already.
Another half million, unalloted
No more Campaign auto-withdrawls after Dec 31
Confusion between 2nd collection, green envelope, yellow envelope, Capital Campaign
One green envelope “Building Maintenance Fund”
Second Collection still sometimes might go elsewhere (disaster relief), but Building Maintenance would remain in 2nd Collection
Note: recorded for taxes too
Heard at the town hall meetings on the breaking up the building campaign a lot about informing people more
Hard: some people want to know everything, some don’t at all.
“Don’t clog up Mass with it”
We have had Finance town halls but always had poor turnouts
What we learned: when things are good, no one shows up; when struggling, people wish they have been told sooner
Bulletin will now include:
Collection vs. Budget YTD
Track our health
$1,268,176 = 2018 budget
Divided by 52
$24,388 = need weekly
So, in the 10th week, Mid March, total collection vs. $243,880
You know we are hurting
Told you for two years now, serious deficits
and next year projected $196,000 shortfall, and that for a third year in a row
What do we do?
Don’t just yell we need more money
Givers say ask the non-givers
Non-/small-givers point to those who have the most to give
Both point to the middle group, thinking they could increase more than either end
How do we all help?
Rather than targeting one, how do we make a plan to move everybody up?
Finance committee been working on this for over a year now
Old saying: “How do you eat an elephant?” Answer: “One bite at a time.”
Well, when elephant is $200K deficit, gotta figure out how big a bites to take and how fast to chew.
Committee worked hard on the numbers to create a plan to help
(Found in the bulletin, in the back of the Church, and on stewardship card.)
5 ranges (from $1-499 up to Over $5,000)
And 178 families with nothing recorded
10 And 10 Plan
10% of each level to move up one level
$2300 right now, can you bump up to above $2500?
Other part of the 10, give 10% more of current amount
So. If $1500, then another 150 for the year?
and then $50 per month challenge
178 no recorded giving
Another 148 under $500
Put together, of these 326 families giving less that $500 a year,
can we get 100 families to give $50 a month, $12 a week?
Committee ran the numbers, and
If we got that next year, we could half our shortfall
Yes, only half.
It's an elephant.
One bite at a time.
How do we encourage new givers and make current givers more regular?
One more thing to share with you
We know that many people rely on electronic banking,
rely on phones,
don't carry cash
(St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church Nebraska)
In about 3 seconds you’ll get the link
Doesn’t cost you anything
Just to take a look
Electronic tithing is great for greater regularity...
But e-tithe is a a pain for many
Hard to set up,
hard to change,
can't do special collections,
can't print contributions at year-end
All that is different now
In the site:
Top: Shows you the charity name
(Our school eventually, other charities)
Two big buttons, one-time gift and recurring gift
Try both, see difference
Amount, just make it a $1 to see it
Fund, click this to see option
St Wenceslaus CC (main Sunday collection)
Second Collection Bldg Maintenance
All Saints Day
Bishops Appeal for Vocations
We often add special collections, hurricane and wildfires
But also, like today, KofC Tootsie Rolls Drive
Perfect example: Walking out, your kids want tootsie rolls but you have either no cash on you or you have just $50 bill…
Well, refresh that screen and click Funds again. You’ll see that I just now, in 10 seconds, added another fund there “Tootsie Rolls”
What PushPay gives us new:
Second collections when no cash
Go ahead “Next” and click see what the Payment screen looks like
Important: We’re not trying to switch everyone
Some people are Check People and are always going to be that
And if you currently do e-tithe, keep doing e-tithe
Our e-tithe through First Bank is free
PushPay is a service, so they get
1% for checking account transfers,
2% for debit card
3% for credit card
These numbers are pretty standard. It’s like what the Joy of Gospel used
But it's worth it for flexibility
Links to secure portal
It will offer you to download the PushPay app, which is password secure because it keeps info
Mine= thumbprint instead; remembers my sensitive data
Process is constantly pushing you to make this easier on yourself. App, password, save data, refuse.
Personalized St. W parish app coming with same mechanics but connected to our website, content, bulletins, calendars
Not just smartphone, desktop too available here
This is ideal:
continue what we have done,
no one has to switch
add for special collections,
and pick up new regulars
Once you have an account you can:
Go on and see all transactions
Change as need be
Do second collections without envelopes
Print out contributions, but also know that we can and will combine all your numbers: PushPay, e-tithe, checks, cash in envelopes
You don't have to do this
But it’s easier for many people
It helps people move up the pyramids
More regular (and regular pays the bills)
Catch those who can't help on special collections because "I never carry cash"
So today I just wanted to: Inform you about all this, thank you for what already do, and encourage you with Stewardship card
We have already been blessed with loving, generous, involved parishioners...
And between stewardship cards
and the "10 and 10" plan
and the $50 challenge
We're just trying to make it easier for people to organize their already generous, loving work.