What is a pledge and why does it matter?
A pledge is a commitment of financial support for the year, which runs from January through December.
Typically pledges are paid in increments—weekly, monthly or quarterly. You can give to the church without
pledging, of course. Some people put money in the offering plate at worship each week or once a month.
Others give in a lump sum at the beginning or end of the year. We encourage annual pledging because
making and keeping promises is an important spiritual discipline that fosters faithfulness and mutual
responsibility. Pledges also help the congregation to plan more wisely.
How much should I give?
There are many ways to decide how much to give. One traditional way is “percentage giving,” calculating
your pledge by a percentage of your annual income. This is a biblical practice—dedicating the “first fruits”
of one's labor right off the top, rather than offering what remains after all other expenses are taken care of.
Traditionally, a tithe is understood to be 10 %. Some people at give at this level, but not everyone is
able to do so. If you are a first-time giver, consider giving 3% or 5%. If you already give annually, challenge
yourself to raise the percentage of your giving with each new year. No matter what you give, the point is to
discover and commit to a level of giving that honors God’s generosity to you and that increases your joy.
Why we give
How much you give matters; but the why of giving also matters. Here are some reasons people at West Suffield Congregational
Nuts and bolts--West Suffield Congregational is self-supporting. Salaries, ministries, building maintenance--
all are paid for from pledges, other financial gifts and investments. It costs a lot to support our community,
carry on our ministry and care for our buildings and grounds. And so we give!
Belonging --West Suffield Congregational Church is not a charitable organization in the ordinary sense. It is our
spiritual home. It makes a difference in our lives that other causes, worthy as they are, may not. Therefore, we
give our fair share, and don't take a “free ride.” We give to us, because we belong to each other.
Saying thanks--All we have comes from God and belongs to God. By giving generously, we thank God for
God's loving ownership of our lives and we dedicate what we’ve been given to God’s purposes. Giving is a
practice of thanksgiving that over time makes us even more grateful. It opens our hearts to the awareness
that all life is a wondrous gift.
Practicing trust--Giving generously teaches us to trust God’s promise to care for us and the world. We want
to see how much we can live without so that we can finally discover that what we really need most is God
and each other! In turn, this leap of faith bestows many wonderful blessings—a simpler lifestyle,
strengthened relationships, greater hope and deeper awareness of God's presence in our daily lives.
Is the money I give used wisely?
Financial decisions are made after prayer and deliberation during our congregational meetings as we
discern God’s direction and priorities for the use of our financial resources. Every other year we audit our books.
Financial data are always open to scrutiny. We are working conscientiously to balance our budget, care for our building,
support our ministries and plan for the future.
How do I make a pledge?
Each fall, we send out a stewardship letter, along with a pledge card and an EFT authorization form. If you are not on
our mailing list, contact the church office and request a mailing and card. When you have prayerfully decided how much to
pledge, fill out the card and bring it with you to Stewardship Sunday the last Sunday in October. If you miss Pledge
Sunday, drop your card in the offering plate the next time you’re at worship, or mail it to the church office, to
the attention of the Assistant Treasurer, Dan Phelon.
How can I get guidance about my pledge?
Contact one of the ministers or members of the Stewardship Committee. Or talk with any member who
regularly pledges. Don’t forget to ask the Holy Spirit for guidance too! And while you’re at it, pray for
everyone in our community who, like you, will makes a pledge decision every year.