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Preparing the Way
Stewardship 2024

To view our 2024 Stewardship Campaign Booklet as a PDF, click here.

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Preparing the Way

Not long after we celebrate the feast of our patron saint, Saint Martin of Tours, we begin the season of Advent. Advent is a season of preparation, yes, of waiting, for the arrival of the Christ Child. Here at St. Martin’s, we are in our second year of preparation for the arrival of a new Rector. It is a long and arduous process. At this time last year, we were about to welcome an Interim Rector. In the ensuing year, we rebuilt our staff, established new and reinvigorated existing ministries, and launched the Parish Profile Committee, paving the way to select a new Rector.


Every year, we call upon members of our faith community to consider making a pledge to St. Martin’s—not just to help keep the lights on and the boilers working, but to share our abundance­—our gifts—with one another and with the larger community we serve.

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Where We Have Been: “The Truth with Love”

During this time of transition, we as a parish are called to take a fresh look at who we are as a parish – where we’ve been, and where we want to go - through the Parish Profile process. The Vestry has diligently prepared information chronicling our history. As regards Stewardship, findings presented at a recent Parish Forum re: Stewardship trends informed our campaign this year.

Pledge Revenue is Declining at St. Martin’s

The combination of disruptions - due to COVID and clergy transitions – resulted in a decline in pledging households this past year. We were not alone among parishes in the Diocese in this regard. What is different about St. Martin’s is that the average amount pledged by household has not kept up either with inflation or with other parishes. St. Martin’s Average Pledge of $2800 trails both the Pennsylvania Diocese Average Pledge of $3150 and the National Church Average Pledge of $3628.

At St. Martin’s, there is a wide distribution of pledge amounts among the pledging households

The graph below traces the number of pledging households at each of seven pledging levels established in $1500 increments. It shows that most annual pledges are well below the average, and that total pledge giving is dependent on a relatively small number of significant pledge gifts.


When pledge income declines, the parish must do less with less income

The graph below traces sources of operating revenue - between parishioner giving and endowment income. It shows that parishioner giving has become a smaller source of total operating revenue. Virtually all the income drawn from the endowment generously left to the parish over generations is diverted to supporting ongoing operations. The capital maintenance needs of our parish campus - roof, heating and cooling, drainage, masonry, painting, windows, improvements - persist without a dedicated source of funding that a share of the endowment income would provide.

Where We Are:
“The Truth with Love”

As operating revenue has declined, our operating budget has also declined. We budgeted less for clergy during the interim period. We used the previous year surpluses to prepay some 2023 obligations. Those options are not available for us next year. We also anticipate one-time-only expenses for search materials for our new Rector. To position St. Martin’s to meet the budgetary challenges of 2024 without harming our capabilities for worship, mission, and ministry, we need to increase parishioner giving by approximately $200,000 over the $560,000 raised last year. While that may seem like a stretch, as recently as 2020, Annual Giving pledge income exceeded $700,000. We believe it is an achievable and worthy goal.

Achievable and worthy because, coming out of the isolation of COVID, and the turnover in parish clergy and administration, St. Martin’s remains a vital parish with energy and focus in its mission and ministry:

  • Average Sunday attendance is steadily returning approaching pre-COVID levels. By streaming services on YouTube, an innovation necessitated by the pandemic, St. Martin’s has extended its reach both to those who can’t attend in-person and others worldwide who are inspired by our liturgy and music. New families are discovering and being welcomed into the St. Martin’s community.
     

  • Renewed energy is evident in committees, programming and ministries focused on the diverse needs and interests of the St. Martin’s Community,

  • A young parents group sharing its vision for Children’s Education Formation at St. Martin’s;
     

  • An experienced Buildings and Grounds Committee, creating an integrated, comprehensive plan to stabilize and beautify our spaces;
     

  • An extraordinary Music and Arts program that feeds our souls and invites the greater community to come to St. Martin’s;
     

  • A strong Parish Profile Committee leading the way on creating a critical document, that defines what we want St. Martin’s future to look like;
     

  • A committed Community Engagement Committee coordinating the many outreach initiatives, including new ones like “Under God” that expand the reach and impact of St. Martin’s in the community and worldwide.

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Help Us Prepare
the Way!

To provide the necessary financial foundation to support the exciting work at St. Martin’s, we’re asking every parishioner to carefully consider the role that St. Martin’s fills in your life and support St. Martin’s with a pledge now to help us ensure that we can continue to thrive and grow, well into the future.

1. Make an Annual Giving pledge to St. Martin’s:

If you worship here, if you value the mission and ministry of this parish; if you are new here and want to grow in faith, please recognize that through a pledge to St. Martin’s. Each gift, regardless of the size, is deeply appreciated. It is a sign to clergy and lay leaders of your commitment to what is done here. By making a pledge, you are also able to participate in the life of the parish as a voting member. A pledge card is included with his brochure or alternatively, we encourage you to submit your pledge online at stmartinec.org/pledge. You can also pledge by scanning the QR code above.

2. If you currently pledge, please consider increasing your annual pledge amount. 

Going back to the example in the graph, at which giving level is your current pledge? What would it take for you to move to the next higher level? An increase of $1500 a year is less than $5 per day. If every household that pledged for 2023 could increase their current pledge to the next level, we would meet the parishioner giving goal and possibly surpass it. We recognize not all parish households will be able to do this. All we ask is that you prayerfully consider making an increase to your annual gift as you are able.

3. Please submit your 2024 Pledge as soon as you are able:

Your prompt response to this appeal enables thoughtful budgeting by vestry, clergy, and staff for the year ahead. While we have enclosed a pledge card for your use, we encourage you to submit your pledge online at stmartinec.org/pledge. At that site, you will learn everything you need to know about online pledging. You will also be directed to a link to set up automated giving if you choose to adopt that convenience. Church staff and the Stewardship Committee stand ready to answer any further questions you have and to help make your pledging as easy as possible.

Waiting for a new Rector is not easy. Preparing in a time of uncertainty is challenging. Together, with God’s help, let us work to meet the challenges and prepare St. Martin’s for the exciting, new beginning that lies ahead.

To view our 2024 Stewardship Campaign Booklet as a PDF, click here.

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