Those of you who have studied the bible in more depth than I have – and that’s probably most people here – will know that being a good steward of the church, of our Christian beliefs, is about much more than money; and our life here at St Mary’s is certainly not based on hard cash – it’s based on the sense of community that worshipping together brings, the deep peace we receive when we take communion, the comfort given by the familiar rhythm of our liturgy and the recitation of well- loved words, and the way in which our spirits soar with the beautiful music created by our choir and organ.  And yet…money is needed to maintain our spiritual and physical lives at St Mary’s – candles, communion wafers, communion wine, paper and ink for the photocopier, tea and coffee and biscuits – all of these things cost money.

The most straightforward way to ensure that St Mary’s is maintained is with planned, regular giving with more of us joining the Stewardship Scheme and giving either through a standing order from a bank account or through the envelopes.  You may be surprised to learn that, of the 135 people on our electoral roll, 78 are part of the stewardship scheme. 

Everyone’s financial situation is different - I know from my own experience how one’s income can suddenly change – and no-one should give more than they can realistically afford or feel pressured to do so.  If you are already in the Stewardship Scheme, I’d like to ask you to review how much you give - up or down - to make sure that it is the right amount for you.  Financially smart people regularly review how much they’re paying for insurance, mobile ‘phones and energy; so why not do the same with your giving to St Mary’s? 

If you’re not in the Stewardship Scheme and you are a taxpayer, please consider joining it and giving by a regular weekly or monthly amount by standing order and ticking the box that allows St Mary’s to claim tax back through the Gift Aid scheme.  For every £1 donated, St Mary’s can claim 25p back from HMRC.

You may feel that you can’t give a regular amount each month or each week.  How about making a one-off donation or sponsoring some of our every day, bread and butter items, or should I say our bread and wine items?  We are launching today our St Mary’s sponsorship form – you’ll find it at the back of the church.  It lists the weekly costs of some of the most common expenditure items and invites us to sponsor them for a period of weeks – how many is entirely up to the sponsor.  For example, you could sponsor the communion wafers – a weekly cost of £2.

If you are in the Stewardship Scheme or are thinking of joining, please be assured that whatever you give is entirely confidential.  The ministry team, the PCC, the Stewardship Committee have no idea who gives or how much.  Only our Stewardship Recorder and the Treasurer know.

Thank you for your time. “

Laura Hart

Stewardship Recorder:

Ben Reeves

0121 459 5858