Orthodox Christian Stewardship is a way of life, which acknowledges accountability, reverence, and responsibility before God. A primary goal of Stewardship is to promote spiritual growth and strengthen faith. Becoming a Steward begins when we believe in God, to whom we give our love, loyalty and trust and act on those beliefs. As Stewards, we affirm that every aspect of our lives comes as a gift from Him. Stewardship calls on the faithful to cheerfully offer back to God a portion of the gifts with which they have been blessed.
Copyright © Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America
How Much Should We Give?
As a newlywed, becoming a steward of an Orthodox church for the first time in my adult life, I first asked the question: “How much should we give?” When I put the question to the church office administrator, she knew from experience that what I really meant was, “What do most people give?” Giving at my new parish was on a stewardship model, so there was no minimum or membership fee. I wanted to know what the right amount was for the privilege of attending services and having the priest available for our needs, something like a membership fee to other organizations in our life. But, to be honest, I also didn’t want to give “too much.”
That was the beginning of my life as a steward. Throughout the decades since then, my spouse and I have continued to ask the question year after year: How much should we give? The answer has evolved, as we have become more involved in our church and have learned more about our parish’s financial needs. How we give has also changed as our faith has grown. Over time, we became aware that how we handle our finances is an integral part of our spiritual life.
At some point, we decided to start increasing our giving by a percentage each year, with a goal of eventually tithing (which we understood to be giving 10% of our income in parish stewardship). One year stands out in my mind because we had the “How much should we give?” conversation when the primary breadwinner was unemployed. At first, we decided to lower our giving a bit and increase our pledge once a new job was found. However, after some consideration, that didn’t sit right with either of us. Our stewardship is always an act of faith, of trust that God will meet our needs in the coming year. We decided to pledge as we would have if we had been employed. A job soon followed.
By God’s grace, we have arrived at the point where we commit 10% of our gross income to stewardship (including bonuses). Almsgiving and other contributions to church and additional charitable causes are given above and beyond our tithe to our home parish. In our financial planning, we have included plans to continue tithing after retirement, as well. Now, when the time for the new stewardship pledge comes around each year, the decision is very easy. In fact, the answer to “How much should we give?” has taken on a whole new dimension. The answer is not based on how much fellow parishioners give or tied to the church budget. Our gift is very personal, intentional, and proportionate to God’s gifts to our family. Ultimately, through giving back, we are trying to show gratitude to God for those many gifts.
How much should we give? The widow with her two mites gave “all of the living that she had” (Luke 21:4).
The Future of St. Mary’s 2017 Fair Share
Stewardship: Giving Graciously and Generously.
In order for St. Mary’s to balance our 2017 budget and plan for anticipated maintenance/improvements in the coming years, St. Mary’s Parish Council and the Stewardship Committee are asking parishioners to prayerfully consider meeting their fair share of our ongoing expenses by contributing the weekly amount shown in the chart Fair Share table below, based on your income. If all parishioners give according to the many blessings they have received from God, St. Mary’s will have the necessary funds to continue and ensure its future for generations to come.
You may download a Fair Share Form, fill it out, and return it to St. Mary’s by mail or drop it in the Sunday offering.
Fair Share Income Guidelines
|Annual Gross Household Income||Annual Household Fair Share Contribution, 5% of Income|
|$200,000 +||$10,000 or 5% of Income|
The Stewardship Committee inspires, educates and enables the members of the parish to return a fair portion of God’s blessings of time, talents and financial resources back to the Church so that the work of Christ through St. Mary’s may continue and grow. They set the Stewardship schedule and drive each year, prepare literature and commitment cards, track responses and follow up.
Stewardship Committee Members
|Athena Mihas, Committee Chair||Annette Legeros|
|Father George Dokos||Barbara Nichols|
|Thomas Angelus||Gus Nicklow|
|Kathy Boosalis||Sam Rouman|
|Nick T. Boosalis||Charlie Theros|
Your questions and comments are welcome. If you would like to contact the St. Mary’s Stewardship Committee, you may leave a message with the St. Mary’s office staff at 612.825.9595 or email Athena Mihas.