2 Corinthians 9
7 Each of you must give as you have made up your mind, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. 8 And God is able to provide you with every blessing in abundance, so that by always having enough of everything, you may share abundantly in every good work. 9 As it is written,
‘He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures for ever.’
This Sunday we reflect on 'Generosity' and what that means for us as followers of Christ. In terms of financial generosity, we explore this at a time of financial tension for the Church as well as for individuals struggling with the cost of living. I think St Paul has the issue in a nutshell. Our giving has to be because we want to and not through being compelled. I am very grateful for all who make financial contributions to the running of St Mary's and want to express my heartfelt thanks for this. Your generosity has enabled us to maintain a beautiful building for a vibrant church that is reaching out to the community it serves. Having said that, we are under significant financial pressure. It costs at least £2,000 per week to run the church and to enable us to do the works on the building that are required. Our average weekly giving is £1,563 which leaves us a large shortfall that has to be made up by fundraising.
It is never a comfortable task for a vicar to be speaking to the congregation or local community about money. It is however a fact of our situation and there are some positive things that can be done to reduce the gap.
We have looked at the budget and made as many cuts as possible without taking away from what the building and church offer.
The Parish Giving scheme is an excellent way of giving to reduce our administration of finance and that is inflated each year helping us keep pace with the rising living costs.
Prayerfully consider reviewing your financial giving.
If you are a tax payer then make sure that we are aware of that in order that we can claim gift aid.
Let us remember that God has provided us with all we need. It is in the hands of Humanity to ensure all have enough and that we care for God's creation. Financial giving to God goes back to the earliest days of our relationship with God and it brings great joy to be offering a little of what God gives us back to God.
"Yours, Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the splendour, and the majesty; for everything in heaven and on earth is yours. All things come from you, and of your own do we give you. " AMEN