March 2018 Vestry Papers: Church Finances for Uncertain Times

March 7, 2018

Dear Friends,

What is your relationship with money? Analyzing our habits around personal finances is often difficult and uncomfortable, and the feeling can be quite similar when speaking about church finances. When we view money through a Christian lens, we are called to be honest and generous, remembering that we are not creators or owners, but stewards of our many gifts. In this issue, we examine our complicated relationship with money, and what we can do to improve it, using our faith as a guide.

Why does speaking about money make so many of us uncomfortable? Why is it even harder to do so in our spiritual lives? In Four Lessons in Speaking About Money, Brendan O’Sullivan Hale shares important lessons on how we should talk about money in the church.

In a world where money is increasingly valued more than anything else, it is crucial for us to develop an understanding of money that is grounded in our faith. In Money – What’s It To You?, Demi Prentiss explores how both nurture and nature affect our relationship with money and shares what we can do to be better stewards of our gifts.

What makes us resilient? How can we respond to the challenges of financial and emotional stress by strengthening our resilience? In Cultivating Emotional and Financial Resilience, J. William Harkins details different approaches to building resilience in the face of hardship.

While parishioners often share sensitive and personal information with clergy about their lives, many are not comfortable talking about money, particularly how much they pledge. In Pledging: Why Clergy Must Know Who Pledges, and How Much, Susie Erdey explains why pledge transparency can only be beneficial to the life of both individual members and the parish as a whole.

Managing a church’s finances can be overwhelming if you don’t know where to start. In Five Things Every Church Treasurer Should Know, Linda Puckett lists the primary responsibilities of anyone who is tasked with managing the finances of a church.

Many of our Episcopal institutions exist because past generations cared so much about the future of the Episcopal Church and expressed their caring by creating planned gifts. ECF has provided planned giving services to the Episcopal Church since 1995. We have distributed more than $25 million in planned gifts to Episcopal dioceses, congregations and organizations nationwide, and we manage over $45 million in charitable gifts. To learn more about ECF’s Planned Giving program, click here.

To learn more about ECF and our programs, please visit our website.

Faithfully,
Charis Bhagianathan
Editor, ECF Vital Practices