Posted on in Celebrating our Ministries by The Rev. David Marshall
Years ago I was visiting a chapel that served homeless people and migrant workers in downtown Seattle. A man came in and asked for the minister of the chapel for money. She told him, “No”, and then asked him to leave. I was shocked. I thought this chapel was there to help people! The minister then explained to me that this man came in regularly asking for money. She explained, “He only wants to relate to us and to me through my money. That’s not a particularly interesting or healthy way to relate.”
The most valuable commodity we as a congregation have to offer is relationship. That is the guiding principle I use to decide how and when to use the money in the Rector’s Discretionary Fund. I try to distribute the funds in ways that bring people into relationship, both with our congregation and with God. When considering whether to give someone money, I ask myself, “Will this build God’s kingdom? Will this gift bless relationships?”
The funds in my discretionary account come from donations from parishioners, from the stipends I receive for funerals and weddings, and from gifts from the St. Agnes Guild. There are strict rules for how I use these funds. I cannot use them in any way that benefits me personally, such as paying for my lunch, for books, or for continuing education classes. This money is meant for alms, and our treasurer audits the fund each year.
If you have a small financial crisis, I might be able to help. The funds are pretty limited, but I can help with small problems, and the help I offer is always confidential. If you receive an unexpected windfall, please consider giving a tithe (10%) to the church or to the Rector’s Discretionary Fund. The Rector’s Discretionary Fund is a practical way we give our thanks to God and share the gifts God has given us with those in need.
Yours in Christ,