This year we have set a goal of increasing our pledge support to St. Dunstan’s Church by at least 2%. We hope to do this through both new pledges from new members and through increased pledges from existing members. Our vestry and stewardship committee came up with this goal based on our desire to continue to invest in the growth and vitality of our congregation, the quality of our staff, and our participation in the Diocese of Olympia.
St. Dunstan’s Episcopal Church is a part of a larger community of churches that share in mission and faith. Our community shares common worship using our Book of Common Prayer and a shared commitment to doing God’s work in the world. The word Episcopal in our name means that we are a part of a church that is led by bishops. The Episcopal is the Bishop, and the Bishop is the spiritual leader of a diocese. There are many benefits to this Episcopal structure, including program support, inspiring diocesan events for both youth and adults, consulting support when we face challenges, an outstanding insurance program, and an extensive program for selecting and educating our priests and deacons.
There is a cost to maintaining this diocesan structure, and each congregation is expected to pay an assessment of 18% of their income to support the diocese. For the past several years, St. Dunstan’s Church has been working at building up our congregation. With the support and agreement of the diocese we have paid less than our full 18% assessment. The past two years we have paid 10% of our income to the diocese. The diocese has supported this lower payment as an investment in the health and vitality of our congregation. The full amount of our assessment is reported in our monthly financial reports, so that it is clear how much we owe. The vestry feels that the time has come to make a serious effort to pay our full assessment in 2016. Once we are paying our full assessment, we can talk to the diocese about forgiving part of the debt.
Some of the additional funds needed to pay our full assessment amount in 2016 will come from cost reductions. Our staff and vestry have worked to reduce our ongoing costs and to control expenses. The rest of the funds will need to come from new and increased pledges. With the other savings that we expect to realize, we believe that we can do this if we get at least a 2% increase in our pledged income for 2016. We are profoundly grateful for your participation in and financial support of St. Dunstan’s Church. You have made it possible for us to set these healthy goals.
Yours in Christ,