Stewardship

Why We Pledge

Joe has attended Episcopal churches since 1982, and Ginny is a cradle Episcopalian. We have always been active participants and pledgers in our parishes, and in the mid-1980’s our stewardship chairman urged us all to begin tithing and to “pay God first” - our tithe would be the first check we wrote each month. (For you younger folks, people once paid all their monthly bills with paper checks.). Before that, it seemed that, once we paid all the bills, there was not enough money left in the account to pay our pledge so we would let it slide. But, with our commitment to “pay God first”, that all changed. In spite of an increase in our pledge, suddenly there always seemed to be money left over!

About the same time, our newly married son called, and, when he described problems they were having with their finances, Ginny and I separately offered the same advice: “increase your pledge”. Things got better.

As you can see, we have discovered what many committed Christians already knew: our pledge is not only critically needed to support our parish, it is an integral part of our spiritual lives. We tithe not because we have to, but because it is a reflection of our Christianity.

Joe and Ginny Fluet

Stewardship Updates Summer 2019

This year’s 60th anniversary Hunt Country Stable Tour is a vivid demonstration of Stewardship. In fact, it could be called the “Hunt Country Stewardship Tour”, since it opens to the public privately-owned Hunt Country farms and other properties lovingly maintained by owners committed to protecting and enhancing the beauty of their land, buildings and animals. Of course, these owners have been blessed with resources that enable them to accomplish this stewardship. But, through the Stable Tour, they share their blessings with others in the community. The end result will be more resources for the beneficiaries of Trinity’s outreach programs.

The effort required for this stewardship is considerable. Just counting parishioners involved in greeting and directing visitors at the 12 properties on this year’s Tour, more than 60 people will have dedicated all or part of their weekend to assist this effort. And there are many others working “behind the scenes”, who will have contributed many hours prior to and during the Tour, to prepare for and carry out the event.

We sometimes forget that “stewardship” involves more than just money. While the Stable Tour requires financial support to organize and operate, that support comes from parishioners and others who specifically designate their contributions as being for the Stable Tour. Ticket and merchandise sales provide additional support. The event is, therefore, self-sustaining; it does not utilize contributions made to fulfill pledges or to support the church itself.

We are grateful for this support. Thank you to the parishioners, property-owners and managers, and others, who have contributed to making this year’s Tour a great stewardship success.

Stewardship Updates

Thoughts about Easter 2019 and beyond

What an amazing experience it was to look back, from the front of the church, and see a “full house”! And not just full of you and me, but of children, grandchildren, friends, relatives and others we haven’t yet met.

What a wonderful experience it was to hear our organist, benefitting from a multi-year “tonal refinishing” of the organ, made possible by a grant from the Lambert Foundation and matching contributions from nearly two dozen parishioners, as he performed Louis Vierne’s Carillon de Westminster and the Toccata from Charles-Marie Widor’s Fifth Organ Symphony.

What a beautiful experience it was to have an exhibit of ancient works and contemporary art, curated by the collector of the ancient works and the artist of the contemporary art, to help worshipers and other visitors better “feel” the passage of the days of Holy Week and the services that accompanied them. And, what fun it was to see children searching for Easter eggs, helped along by our volunteers, our Rector, by families and friends, and even by a “life-size” Easter bunny.

It’s not too late to pledge, so if you haven’t yet indicated your intent to contribute to Trinity this year, please consider doing so now. There are pledge cards in the back of the church, but you can communicate in any way that’s convenient, including using the form available on Trinity’s website https://trinityupperville.org.

This year’s Easter at Trinity, from dawn to dusk, showed everyone present what a thriving church actually looks like. We are now within reach of achieving our Stewardship goal for 2019, and we are confident that next month’s Genesis will report that pledges have actually exceeded that goal.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Hurst Groves
Chair, Stewardship Committee

Stewardship Updates

Dear Fellow Parishioner,

In Matthew 6:21, Jesus said “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also”.

When was the last time you made a major investment, but never managed it? Built a beautiful house, but didn’t maintain it? Purchased a wonderful car, but never changed its oil? Acquired a fine piano, but never tuned it?

Of course we pay attention to these things. Who wouldn’t? Who shouldn’t? We do this because we see these items as our possessions, as the fruits of our labors. As something we worked, saved and sacrificed for. But are they really just “ours”?

In the liturgy prior to the 1979 Prayer Book, after the ushers collected our offerings, we often heard the following, as the Celebrant lifted the offering plates for all to see: “All things come of thee, O Lord” And we responded: “And of thine own have we given thee”

We still hear this from time to time, but if it were up to me, it would always be said, to remind us that what we give to the Church is a portion of what God has given to us, what God has made it possible for us to achieve, what God has allowed us to use as we see fit.

Stewardship involves the use our resources to make a positive difference – in our lives, of course, but also in the lives of our families and friends, in the lives of other communities of which we are a part and, yes, in life at Trinity Church. Stewardship viewed this way is an expression of our gratitude for God’s gifts. It is a way in which we help Trinity be a resource for the worshipers who enter its doors, the community in which it is located, the Diocese of which it is a part, and even beyond these parochial and geographical limits.

By the time you read this, your Vestry will have approved Trinity’s budget for 2019. It will have done this based on its faith in the generosity and stewardship of Trinity’s parishioners. It is confident that those qualities will allow Trinity to achieve its objectives for the year, including meeting unanticipated challenges, like a broken boiler or a leaking roof. If you haven’t yet submitted a pledge for 2019, it’s not too late to do so. Please call the office (540-592-3343) and a card will be sent to you.

If you are uncertain about this, take a moment to ask yourself – “where is your heart” when it comes to Trinity? Take a moment to pray for God’s guidance. You will not regret it.

Faithfully,
Hurst Groves 2019 Stewardship Chair

Stewardship Progress Report

According to Wikipedia, Stewardship is a theological belief that humans are responsible for the world and should take care of it. “In the Christian tradition stewardship refers to the way time, talents and material possessions or wealth are used or given for the service of God.” Each of us must determine how stewardship is best reflected in our own life.

At this time of the year, Trinity’s Vestry is focused on financial stewardship as we look ahead to managing the physical plant and employing the people that make Trinity “possible” for its parishioners and others who rely on or benefit from its presence in the community.

This does not mean that time and talent aren’t important for they provide the human context that dollars alone can lack. In future issues of Genesis I’ll give some examples of my own experience with non-financial stewardship as well as examples from other parishioners that I hope will provide a context and rationale for our current monetary focus.

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In the meantime, If you haven’t submitted your pledge for 2019, please take a few minutes to do it today. You can fill it out online at by clicking on HERE, or fill out a pledge card located in the back of the church or in the church office. The more information we have the better we can budget for the future needs and ministries of Trinity.

Thank you
Hurst Groves

Stewardship Progress Report

As of November 25, Trinity received 2019 pledges from about one-third of the congregation, total-ing $313,000. Our 2019 goal is $675,000 to cover slightly more than half of our personnel and other operating costs. We have some distance to go, fellow parishioners.

Have you made your pledge to Trinity for 2019?

This is a time of transition here at Trinity Church as well as in the nation and the world. At Trinity, we know that – like a rock – you are always there to provide help and support. Steadfast support for Trinity is an example for others and a material representation of your affection for the Lord and for our community. As a Steward of Trinity, you are helping manage and protect that which belongs to God. We hope you agree that we are Stewards of the lives we are given, stewards of this church, the outdoor chapel, stewards of the environment, and much more. These are God’s gifts on loan to us. We each must decide how to re-pay that loan. Growing in our spiritual lives means, in part, growing in our lives as stewards of Trinity Church, one of God’s many gifts.

Please consider sending in a pledge card before the end of December if you haven’t already done so. Consult your financial advisor to find out how a contribution to Trinity can work to your benefit. If you need a pledge card, please call the Church office.

If you have not fulfilled your pledge for 2018, we hope you can do so promptly.

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Stewardship News

June 23 was Church Vitality & Stewardship  Day  in the Diocese of Virginia.   On that day, the Diocese conducted a set of stewardship workshops designed  to help Virginia congregations use “the gifts God gives us to do the work God calls us to do.”   Held at historic  Aquia Church near Fredricksburg, the meeting was  presided over by Bishop Shannon Johnston, and Bishops Susan Goff and Bob Ihloff and largely orchestrated by Julie Simonton, Director of Congregational Development and Stewardship for the Diocese.  It was both an inspiring and useful exploration of the modern Church’s role in society and the ways in which it can be more effective in serving the needs of parishioners while it is also securing its own financial and operational future.  The information shared at Aquia about annual and proportional giving, bequests and related financial instruments, endowments, and the communications and other opportunities that technology affords us will benefit Trinity Church  and  help us leverage the skills of  our own talented parishioners and  the experiences of other churches to enable Trinity to attain new and higher goals and commitments.    

Meanwhile, Trinity’s Stewardship Committee has been active in reassessing what can be done to strengthen connections among the congregation and investigating how to strengthen Trinity’s  budget and provide the support that enables Trinity to  care for and serve its members and the larger community.    In that spirit, the Committee and the Vestry met in Cox Hall with Julie Simonton on June 11. It was clearly an eye-opening conversation that ranged over a number of important aspects of stewardship and how Trinity’s message can be made more apparent and relevant to parishioners of all ages and to people in the region.  The Cox Hall meeting generated  new spirit and enthusiasm and a number of proposals for action that we will evaluate over the summer.  Julie has assured us it will not be her last trip to Trinity.  But, the job is now ours to undertake.  We would absolutely WELCOME additional ideas from our Genesis readers – consider this YOUR invitation.    

These two meetings have set the stage for future  decisions about how to freshen up our annual giving requests, make planned giving easier, and  improve the Church’s long-term financial outlook in order to enhance outreach, music,  congregational care, and to do God’s work as He gives us to see it.  The Diocese’s annual motto – NOW into the World! – captures that spirit.  As Bishop Goff told us in the context of “changing the verb” in pursuit  of our mission in this time of change and uncertainty:  focus on what there is to  “gain” by change and innovation, not on what is  “lost”; instead of asking people to “come” to church,  be willing to “go” where the need is;  instead of saying I “have” a church, “be” the church;  instead of trying to “survive” be willing to let old ways “die” when the need to modernize our Church requires it -- while maintaining our commitment to Christ and each other, of course.  That’s both a challenging and an optimistic message.  It’s about everyone at Trinity being its steward.            

Jim Hoecker
Stewardship Chair 2018

Stewardship Updates

April is the month of renewal and hope. We begin it by pausing to honor the sacrifice and resurrection of our

Lord. As part of that Celebration, your Stewardship Committee wishes to report that 2018 pledges now total

$588,367.00. This meets our most ambitious expectations and we thank the 156 pledging parishioners for their historic commitment. The best news is that we have yet to hear from some of our 2017 pledgers. If they could simply renew at last year’s level, we would conclude this pledge season with over $620,000, which would advance our goal of strengthening Trinity Church’s financial position and set the stage for meeting the major financial obligations facing the congregation down the road.

In my last letter sent directly to many of our Genesis readers from whom we have not heard this year, we asked that you please complete a short survey so that, pledging aside, the Church and Father Banse can better understand whether you think the Church is doing all it can to help and serve you and the Lord. We ask again, please respond so that Trinity can remain your “home” during this year of change and uncertainty.

Many blessings of the Easter season,
Jim Hoecker
2018 Stewardship Chair

Whose Money is It Anyway? An Appeal to Stewardship

The following is a transcript of the homily that was given by Jim Hoecker during the 8:00am and 10:30am services on Sunday, October 22, 2017: 

It is a privilege to give the lay sermon today on behalf of the Vestry and your fellow parishioners. My mother, who would have preferred I join the ministry instead of studying the law, is probably looking down with skepticism as I attempt to achieve some measure of redemption. 

After reviewing my paean to Christian charity this morning , my lovely wife Becky told me that if she were suddenly taken critically ill and had but one hour left in this world, she would want to spend those last precious moments listening to me talk about stewardship. That’s because “it would seem like an eternity.” 

In the end, eternity is our business here at Trinity but I speak to you today with the utmost humility about something closer to home. As I prepared this week, I was haunted by a challenging question: What do we owe God? Whose money is it anyway? 

What is Stewardship all about? Is it merely an obligation? Paying a debt? Is it a sacrificial offering, the more it hurts the better? Or is it just being an example for others? I doubt there’s a single pat answer to those questions but I’m certainly not the first to ask them. 

The best definition of stewardship I have found says that a steward is a manager who administers that which belongs to someone else. A steward has a duty to oversee the assets, finances, relationships that rightly belong to another. In that sense, it is not an overstatement to say we are stewards of the lives we are given, stewards of this church, the outdoor chapel, stewards of the environment, and stewards of our worldly possessions back home. They all belong to God and they’re on loan to us. 

How do we repay that loan? Perhaps by growing in our spiritual lives, which means growing in our lives as stewards of Trinity Church, which is one of God’s many gifts. 

In my letter to the parish last week, I explained the Church’s needs in pretty frank terms. To con-duct all its ministries and activities and continue as a vital part of the community, Trinity’s budget is over $1 million annually. However, in 2017, pledges covered slightly over 50% of that. In fact, we fell well short of some basic operating expenses. But, I hasten to add that we should celebrate that gen-erosity and commitment, because with a little sweat and ingenuity from you and scores of your fel-low Episcopalians as well as some special gifts, we closed the gap. We began work on our organ, un-covered and began addressing some challenging plumbing and electrical problems, and responded in real time to the disastrous hurricanes that hit the country. 

Nevertheless, pledging remains central to our fiscal well-being. Our pledge goal this year is a modest one in light of our total needs -- $675,000. That’s a good deal more (about $100,000) than we col-lected last year. I urge you to meditate positively on those numbers but also to remember that even if Trinity’s budget were fully funded through some miraculous intervention, you would each still be called upon to pledge and to participate fully as a steward of Trinity Church. 

Now I admit, the value I may assign to Trinity Church in Upperville Virginia, financially and otherwise, may be different than how other parishioners see it. We are each finding redemption and purpose here in various ways. For me, one of the bright spots of serving on your Vestry the past year has been our efforts to ask very basic questions about Trinity: what is the purpose of this institution and what are all the things that it does, and should do, for us and the community? We drew on a book called The Purpose-Driven Church, which among other things explains that any single church can play a variety of roles in the lives of its congregation. The Vestry has been considering what this means for our future work to sustain and improve Trinity. Let me explain these different perceptions of the Church’s meaning for its congregants, as the author sees them -- 

1. A church can be primarily about winning souls. In a “Soul-winning church,” words like witnessing, evangelical, or salvation are most important themes. 

2. If the Church is about “Experiencing God,” words like praise, prayer, spirit, worship come to mind. 

3. A Church can be seen as a “Family reunion” with a focus on fellowship. Words like belonging, caring, and relationships are most meaningful – not to mention potluck. 

4. Churches can be “Classrooms” where preaching, Bible study, doctrine, and childrens’ education are the currency of conversation and work. 

5. Finally, Church can be the outward manifestation of “social conscience”. Sharing, service, out-reach, taking a stand – all those are important missions within that view of its value. 

It seems to me that Trinity is (and needs to be) all those things, even if one or two characteristics are especially meaningful for your relationship to Trinity. No matter how you might see this building, this service, or Trinity’s mission, I hope it is speaking to you. I hope you understand how important you are to it and that you are its principal hope and sustaining foundation. 

There is a story about the Dean of St. Patrick’s in Dublin, Jonathan Swift, the Eighteenth Century di-vine known for his sharp tongue. He was once reprimanded for an exhaustingly long sermon on chari-ty. Determined to make the next one terse, he quoted Proverbs 19: “’He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord, and that which he hath given will he pay him again.’ (The modern transla-tion is “Whomever is kind to the poor, lends to the Lord and will be repaid in full.”) You have heard the terms of the loan,” Swift continued, “and if you like the security, put down your money.” His parishioners responded to “repayment in full” as you might expect. 

Likewise, Jesus promises to repay us yet again – in ways that surpass all other gifts and perhaps all un-derstanding. That is his eternal promise – long sermon or short , good homily or bad. He offers security for the loan he provides – the loan of life, of nature, of our society, our children, our posses-sions, our sustenance and wealth (no matter how meager), even our planet. In other words, he owns all of these things already and we are therefore His stewards here on earth. 

Again, how do we repay that loan? I hope that one important part of that repayment involves your strong support for Trinity. It is an integral part of your Christian life. It is not dues to cover the price of admission. It is not a burden to be endured. And, in truth, the amount of that repayment is not as important as the gift’s relationship to the giver’s heart and his or her desire and ability to give. 

In the next two weeks, you will hear more from Trinity and Father Banse about stewardship. We ask that you bring your 2018 pledge card to church with you on November 5, and that you place it wor-shipfully in the plate. It will make you feel good. After all, even the money you give joyfully to Trinity is something God has entrusted to your care for the purpose of your wise investment. You may, of course, pledge anytime, including today. I am simply saying that a pledge made now and a pledge thereafter kept will also give your Vestry the opportunity to plan wisely for next year and the chal-lenges and uncertainties it will bring. 

After his father died, Joe Scarborough (former Congressman and TV host) turned to his friend Zbig-niew Brzezinski for guidance and support. Brzezinski was a much older man and also a former pub-lic official. “I explained to him,” said Scarborough, “that I was overwhelmed – I had become the parent to 4 children and seemingly a parent to everyone else around me, including my elderly mother. At home and at work, it felt like the burden of everyone else’s well-being was being placed squarely on my shoulders.” In sympathetic response to Scarborough’s plight, Brezinski responded cheerfully, with a twinkle in his eye— “I know. Isn’t it great to be trusted by God with such tremendous respon-sibility?” 

That, my friends, is the real spirit of stewardship. Lord, open our hearts to the spirit of giving and to accepting tremendous responsibility. 

Stewardship News

Dear Member and Supporter of Trinity Church –

Thank you for sharing with the Trinity community your life as a follower of Christ. We are writing to remind you that Trinity’s continued financial health and the integrity of its campus are not birthrights. We work at maintaining our mission and our facilities every day.

As you recognize, stewardship is the life of the church; pledging is an act of faith that commits us to be active in that life. That’s why, in 2017, Trinity’s stewardship campaign continues to seek your participation in supporting the Church. We are therefore eager to fulfill our goal for this year -- 100% participation, irrespective of the size of individual contributions.

Our Vestry feels strongly that stewardship is an integral part of Church membership. We believe that giving can be a liberating experience, as a personal matter and in sharing in the care of our ministries, facilities, staff, and outreach efforts.

Here’s what we can report to date. The Church has received 160 pledge cards in the current 2016-2017 cycle, out of the roughly 200 active giving families and individuals in the Church. That means we are currently at 80% of our goal. If you are among those who have not submitted your 2017 pledge card, won’t you do so today – at whatever level you deem appropriate -- and help Trinity achieve its 100% goal? Thank you!

Together, with God’s help, we can move mountains!