There are three levels to our approach to Sunday Giving:
- Personal – It is important that all who are seeking to encourage giving and stewardship have spent some time reflecting on their own personal understanding of stewardship and its impact on their gifts, money and possessions.
- Theological – A brief overview on what the Bible has to say about God’s generosity to us, our responsibility as stewards, tithing, the grace of giving, discipleship, attitudes to giving, generosity, etc.
- Practical – What should Parish Giving Links do? What resources are there to help? How should we appropriately challenge Church people with the principles and practice of Christian giving?
Every day we make choices about how we use our money: do we eat out or buy from the grocery? Do we buy new shoes or do we save that money for another purpose? We make those decisions based on our mentality for living. If looking good is a fundamental good for us, then we will spend money to support that good. If playing our part in a parish community is a fundamental good for us, then we will spend money to that end. For this reason, Sunday Giving is not first about how much we give, but it is about what we hold dear, what is important to us.
Thus, the first question that we have to address with our people is “Is your relationship with Christ important in your life?” Any solicitation of money separate from this fundamental question is a purely financial consideration and it will not help people ask themselves to seriously consider their relationship with Christ and what it means for their lives.
At the heart of our Catholic faith is the Eucharistic Celebration. It is a moment of encounter with Jesus Christ and an opportunity to be embraced by the Father through the Holy Spirit. Throughout the Eucharistic liturgy, there is a dialogue between God and His People. We listen to Him speak to us and we respond. We offer what He has given and we receive. This giving and receiving is a fundamental dynamic within the Christian life. It is also at the core of Catholic Christian Stewardship. What is given to us is not for us to keep and bury (Mt 25:14-30), but it is to invest for the sake of God’s people.
For this reason, Sunday Giving must be presented as a response to God’s generosity. We give because we have received. In fact, even our work and what we earn through our labors is a response to the creativity, intelligence and abilities that God has first given through no merit of our own.
It is important, then, to present Sunday Giving as an opportunity to express one’s gratitude to God for His generosity. Thus the question, “Are you grateful for what God has given you?”
We need to make it as simple as possible for people to give. This means offering a wide variety of opportunities for people to give. Collection envelopes, Automatic Bank Drafts, online giving should all be offered as ways for people to contribute.
In addition, if we ask people to pledge to Sunday Giving, then we should also help them to stay faithful to that pledge through regular reminders. These reminders should be moments to highlight the value of giving and its positive impact rather than making people feel guilty. The goal is to help people want to give, not to make them feel bad for not being able to give more.
A clear proposal should be offered to people. They should be encouraged to look at their annual income and consider giving 5% to the parish, 4% to some other charity of their choosing and 1% to the annual Diocesan appeal. These three areas highlight the importance of our belonging to a parish where we encounter Christ, belonging to a community where we can help strengthen God’s Kingdom and belonging to the universal Catholic Church.
Thus, the very practical question arises, “How much do I give?”
Most parishioners choose to support Annunciation Parish by writing a check and dropping it in the weekly collection basket. But, did you know there is an easier way? You can have a specific amount deducted from your checking or savings account and sent automatically to Annunciation Parish.
There are several advantages to the automatic Direct Deposit Program. There is no need to write a check or locate your church envelopes. Your funds are guaranteed to arrive, even when you are out of town! As when paying by check or cash, Annunciation Parish will track your giving and provide an annual contribution letter for tax-reporting purposes.
Enrolling in the program is easy. Simply click here to view, print, and mail in the completed form. You can drop this form in the collection basket or mail it to: Annunciation Parish Office, 3010 E. Chandler Ave., Evansville, IN, 47714.
If you have any questions, feel free to call Virginia Elpers, Parish Office Business Manager at 812/476-3061.