A Guide to Financial Giving at St. James
At St. James Episcopal Church, we encourage generosity in every aspect of our common life: through the ways we volunteer our time to the church and wider community; through the ways we offer our specific gifts and talents in service of our Lord; and in the ways we use our financial resources. We believe that responsible and disciplined financial stewardship – giving back to God a portion of what God has given us – is critical to spiritual health. By giving freely and bountifully to God through the ministry of our parish, we enable a tremendous amount of good work to be done within and outside the walls of our Church.
The St. James Stewardship Campaign supports an exciting future for our Church community. We hope you’ll take the time to review your commitment to the ministry of St. James and the opportunities available to make a difference locally, and in the world. You will find pledge cards at the back of the Church, in the Parish Hall, and here on our website.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a “pledge?”
A pledge is a commitment to give a certain amount of money to sustain the Church community and to encourage growth. You are welcome here, and your pledge helps us extend that welcome to others. Your pledge to St. James’ says, “I am part of this community and I want to show that this parish and its values are important to me.”
Why does my pledge mean so much to St. James’?
At St. James’ we depend almost exclusively on pledges to fund and fulfill our mission. Our Annual Church Fair funds our outside mission projects but all the funds needed to sustain the life of our community come from our members’ pledges. Indeed, unlike some denominations, we receive no money from the Diocese or National Church. Quite the opposite: we pay an annual assessment to help fund the ministry of the wider church.
How do I decide how much to pledge to St. James’?
Your giving is as personal as your prayer life, and only you can know what is right for you at this stage of your journey. The important thing is to make a heartfelt commitment. You’ll find that as St. James’ grows, you are growing too.
Who sees my pledge?
The only people who see your pledge, besides God, are the Stewardship Chair, the Parish Treasurer, and the Assistant Treasurer. These are kept in strict confidence.
With whom may I speak for additional information?
Feel free to be contact our Rector, The Rev. Amy Spagna, at email@example.com. Depending on the nature of your questions, they can put you in touch with our Stewardship Ministry Team Chair or the Parish Treasurer.
How do I pledge?
We ask you to tell us about your pledge by completing a pledge card — either in person or online. Pledges can be made weekly, monthly, quarterly or annually. The pledging process is simple and tax statements are issued to those who wish to deduct their pledge contributions from their taxable income. Weekly offering envelopes, if requested, are made available soon after pledges are received.
Our historic properties have significant, ongoing needs for repairs, renovation and maintenance. While some money donated through annual pledges is earmarked for these purposes, our members and friends are asked to consider partial or full funding of specific projects, as these arise.
Current projects include:
Repairs and renovations to the main kitchen, including replacement of cupboards (damaged upon failure of supporting hardware) and installation of additional countertop space – estimated cost: $3,500.00
Upgrading telephone wiring, cabling, hardware, Wi Fi and internet service in the Church and Rectory. Current systems do not support sufficiently day-to-day communications needs of clergy, staff and the congregation – estimated cost: $4,000.00
Upgrading energy efficiency in the Rectory by improving insulation, window replacement and other means – estimated cost: $30,000.00
Repairs to the Rectory exterior: shutters, gate, garage roof, exterior doors – estimated cost: $1,500.00
Renovation of Rectory interior -- Deep cleaning; repairs to walls and ceilings; interior painting throughout -- estimated cost: $4,000
Refinishing the floor in the choir area and in the Parish Hall – estimated cost: $5,000
Purchase of an electronic organ to replace the one on loan from the Music Director – estimated cost $10,000
Gifts for capital improvements may be made anonymously, in memory of individuals, or in the name of the donor, with public acknowledgment, including commemorative plaques, as appropriate.
How do I make a donation or get additional information about a Building project?
If you would like more information about any of our building projects and how you can help or donate, please contact us at the Parish Office - 802-457-1727
Planned Giving and Endowment
Throughout its history, St. James Church has benefited from the thoughtful philanthropy of parishioners and friends. The many ministries currently provided are in direct response to needs identified within the parish, the community in and around Woodstock, and the wider world we serve. These gifts are recorded in our Philanthropy Book, located in the back of the Church.
Each year, the vestry formulates an operating budget to support our ministry, and the reliance on annual pledges and gifts is significant. Taking active steps to build and sustain a strong endowment – helping to ensure that St. James meets God’s mission now -- and in the future – is of critical importance. If you would like more information about how to make a planned gift to St. James, please contact a member of the Vestry or the rector.
The Gifts and Bequests Policy of St. James Church is available by contacting the Parish Administrator (802) 457-1727 or at (firstname.lastname@example.org).
How do I Pledge?
The parish has identified specific ministry areas where donations can be directed:
The Rector’s Discretionary Fund is a resource for providing immediate assistance to individuals and families in crisis.
Food is collected monthly through the Food Shelf project, and additional donations are always welcome.
Outreach projects [Outreach Team]
Diocese of Vermont
The operations of the Diocese of Vermont are funded entirely through contributions from Parishes, who are assessed a proportional share of each church’s monthly income. Since the Diocesan Budget alone will not support all ministries that are vital to the mission as the Episcopal Church in Vermont, an Annual Appeal fills the gap with individual donations from those who want to give over and above their local giving:
Alleluia Fund: The Alleluia Fund is an annual Easter appeal that supports vital ministries beyond the capacity of the diocesan budget. Every dollar raised goes directly to selected ministries, such as interfaith and urban ministry projects, racial healing, environmental awareness programs, support for retired ministers, and global ministries such as refugee support and medical missions.
Partnership Campaign for Rock Point: Members of the wider community have worked with the Episcopal Church in Vermont to develop a compelling vision and plan for the future of Rock Point, the property owned and operated by the Diocese in Burlington, VT. Donations to the Partnership Campaign support the goal of environmental stewardship of land and buildings, including renewable solar energy, enlightened land management, and the balance between conservation and public access.