2024 Stewardship

A Letter from Fr. Richard

October 2023


We were so gratified to have Bishop Mary Glasspool, the first avowed lesbian to be consecrated a bishop in the Anglican Communion, with us to do confirmations and to kick off the Pride Celebration Messiah hosted this summer. In her remarks to the Vestry, she was very complimentary about how seriously we take serving our community – from feeding programs, to education for our immigrant neighbors, to advocating for social justice and celebrating diversity. And she reminded us that “the Church” is more than the people who worship with us on Sunday mornings. Our Church . . . our broader community – particularly our neighbors in need – look to us for our loving kindness and generosity. And it takes a financially strong Church of the Messiah to deliver on that.

Our 2023 operating budget of $455,000 covered the salaries, building maintenance, utilities, insurances and other costs of ensuring a financially strong Church of the Messiah. And while there are also ad hoc gifts and rental income throughout the year, nearly 60% of that budget came from pledges. We need to increase that percentage for 2024.

I’m happy to say that the Wardens, Treasurer and Vestry are all pledging and I join them in asking that you take some time to think about your 2024 financial pledge to this place we all love so much. If you have pledged last year, we thank you.

If you’re new or haven’t pledged yet, we hope you will join your fellow members in their commitment to keeping Messiah financially strong. I would say that how much you give is less important than committing to yourself and to Messiah to pledge a set amount for the year. You can pay that pledge in any way that works for you . . . weekly, monthly, quarterly, or all at once, but it’s so important that you let us know what you plan to give. And, while contributing to the collection plate is certainly welcome, without actual pledges it is nearly impossible to create a budget and commit to staff.

Only you know how much to give. And remember, this kind of pledge is simply a plan–not a legal promise. We all know that things come up in life that can change our personal financial situations. Should you find yourself in a position that prevents you from fulfilling your pledge, please let us know. We would certainly understand.

In the coming year, I look forward to working with you to welcome new members and friends with loving kindness and generosity. . . whether they sit in a pew on Sunday mornings, attend the Third Thursday Luncheon or Shelter Dinner or learn English in our parish hall.

Yours in faith,

Fr. Richard

The Church of the Messiah - Episcopal Church of Rhinebeck, NY