by Jim & Lucy Smith
As we make our Pledge for 2014, we keep this thought in our hearts:
This is our shared support of our shared life
and our shared mission in Grace Episcopal Church.
This is not “the church pledge drive.”
It is not “the pastor’s pledge campaign.”
This is Lucy and Jim’s pledge. It’s yours. It’s ours.
The Pledge for 2013 was our first as members of Grace Church.
We had no information because we were new to the Parish. So, we asked
our basic budget questions: How much does it cost? How much have we got?
We asked Janet Seewald, Grace Church Treasurer, what the likely budget
for 2013 would be. She estimated that it would be about $250,000.
We asked ourselves: what part of that budget could we contribute?
If we could pledge $25 per week, that would be half a percent of the
total budget. Ten dollars per week would be two-tenths of a percent.
A pledge of $50 per week? That’s one percent of the budget. We cover
Grace’s budget — our budget — with all the percents that
all of us pledge.
We thought about our other commitments. Lucy is on the Board of CARE
of Southeast Michigan, and we support CARE every year. Jim’s life was
saved by physicians at Karmanos Cancer Center, and we support Karmanos.
We have been blessed with eleven grandchildren, and we contribute to
their college funds on birthdays and at Christmas.
We decided how much we could give in 2013. But, we wondered if we
should actually pledge it? Should we commit ourselves to that number,
or should we just give without pledging, give when we attended, give
as we felt able?
We next realized that Grace must count on our pledge, just as we
count on Grace to be here this year and next. Grace needs our pledge
— to pay for heat and light and plant repairs, to support our
outreach programs, to feed and clothe the least of our sisters and brothers.
It takes money to operate “gracefully.” We all need Grace, and Grace needs
all of us. So, we made our pledge, to be made in monthly installments.
In January 2013, we thought again about our commitment. Instead of
dividing our annual pledge by twelve, we divided it by ten, and began
giving a tenth each month. We thought: “That’s not so much more than
we promised.” And it wasn’t. We “tricked” ourselves into giving a
little extra for the works of Grace.
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
Attributed to Winston Churchill