Stewardship involves our response to God's blessings and is an important aspect of our faith. We are each stewards of a portion of God's creation and financial stewardship involves giving back a portion of our wealth to provide for God's work in the world. From ancient times, we have the notion of giving the first fruits of our labor - the first and best portion - to God.

Proportional Giving is a means for wrestling with the question "How much of my wealth should I contribute for the mission and ministry of the church in my annual pledge?" The traditional measure of giving to the Church is the tithe - a tenth of one's income. In ancient times the tithe was a significant commitment and it remains so today. The tithe is a measure of one's commitment to support the work of the Gospel in the world. One's giving is a tangible expression of one's faith. Few people can casually give away a tenth of their income, and most of us fall short of the standard of the tithe.

Proportional Giving recognizes that stewardship is a journey and that the tithe is a level to work towards. It provides a means for individuals and the entire congregation to steadily strengthen their giving in stewardship. Proportional Giving asks that we consider giving to the Church in proportion to our income. It begins with our current level of giving, and asks that we consider raising our pledge by one half a percent of our income each year.

For example, if one's current level of giving is a yearly pledge of $2,000 based upon an income of $100,000; then one is giving 2% of their yearly income to the parish. Proportional Giving asks that one increase their giving by ½ % of one's income. The household in this example would increase the percent given from 2% to 2 ½%, which yields a pledge of $2,500. The advantage of Proportional Giving is that every household is challenged to increase their giving in a way that is balanced and equitable. In Proportional Giving, stewardship is spread out over the entire wealth of the parish. Proportional Giving provides a method to steadily work towards the goal of tithing and to ensure the continued vitality of the Church.

Moving forward, our Vestry has already committed to Proportional Giving as an important means towards assuring the future health of Saint Matthew's. Restoring our parish to financial health will be an important aspect of our journey together. I look forward to your Participation.

With thanks and blessings,

Fr. Eric+