We’ve come this far by faith — An Introduction to the 2021 Annual Giving campaign toolkit
…for we walk by faith, not by sight…
2 Corinthians 5:7
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is pleased to share the 2021 Online Annual Giving Toolkit. The theme for this year, We Have Come This Far By Faith, asks us to reflect on our journey together over the past year of pandemic and to cast our gaze forward to God’s preferred future for our churches. As ever, undertaking an Annual Giving Campaign is an opportunity for parish leadership to remind congregations that their financial pledges are a crucial investment in the future life and ministry of the church.
When we travel forward in faith, we are reminded of the good company we keep. Scripture is filled with stories of people going on a journey with God, most often ones filled with unknown perils and uncertainty. In the Hebrew Bible, Abraham, by faith, leaves his home to travel to Canaan and then, because of famine, he seeks relief in Egypt. The Israelites are enslaved in Egypt and then God leads them, by cloud and fire, into the Promised Land. Ruth and Naomi, struck by the tragic loss of their family, go with God to find safety in Bethlehem. In the New Testament, Mary and Joseph are traveling through unwelcome land when the Messiah is born. Each of the 12 disciples are called out of their ordinary lives to journey with Jesus, to the cross and beyond. From there, the gospel, shepherded by the Holy Spirit, travels throughout the world.
Since March of 2020, we traveled through the uncharted territory of a global pandemic. This journey affected us as individuals and as communities, as members of our home parishes, the Diocese of Washington, and even the Episcopal Church at large. Above all else, God has sustained us through this journey and it is our faith that has brought us this far.
It is the same faith that has led God’s people for centuries, and we are now invited to share the journey by joining in the renewing work of the Spirit happening all around us. This includes the continued financial support of our churches. More than ever, we must express our love and gratitude by continuing to pledge to the parish that is our spiritual home. There is much to celebrate and there is much to do. We are able to gather freely with our families, friends, and fellow parishioners. We are able to worship God with singing, and we are able to engage in the important work of rebuilding our communities. Throughout the pandemic, theon-going financial commitment of parishioners permitted churches to continue to pay clergy and staff as well as provide support for creative and life-giving ministry. Going forward, it will be essential for that support to continue and grow so that we can say, with the saints, that we have come this far by faith, and indeed, the best is yet to come.
No two congregations are the same in terms of available time and resources to conduct their Annual Giving Campaign. With this in mind, we invite you to explore, modify, and use these materials in whatever ways will be most helpful to your parish. Your greatest success will come from adapting the timeline and other offerings to reflect your congregation’s unique needs and experiences. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions if something seems unclear or if you’d like further guidance. The Financial Resources Committee of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington is ready to assist you in conducting a successful Annual Giving Campaign.
A Note on Stewardship
While these materials are crafted to be used with a targeted, months-long Annual Giving Campaign, stewardship is a year-round process.
The Episcopal Church reminds us:Stewardship is about being grateful, responsible stewards of the gifts we receive from God. The tradition of giving back to God and to the church comes from the Biblical practice of “tithing,” which means to give back a tenth of our earnings to God (Numbers 18:26). The Episcopal Church sees stewardship as more than simply contributing money to the church; it’s also about contributing time and talents, and volunteering for ministry and mission. It’s about reaching out to build relationships from a perspective of abundance instead of scarcity.
The Financial Resources Committee of the Diocese of Washington is committed to helping our parishes in all aspects of stewardship. Please let us know how we can help.
If you are looking for Stewardship materials that encompass more than an Annual Giving Campaign, we’ve gathered many wonderful resources with tools for year-round stewardship practices as well as seasonal stewardship activities.
Project Resource seeks to change our culture and systems around financial development in the worldwide Episcopal Church, as it provides the tools to inspire radical generosity and engage faith communities in this life-changing work. Learn more
Episcopal Church Foundation
The Episcopal Church Foundation helps Episcopal faith communities develop strategy, leadership, and financial resources for ministry and provides materials and resources specifically for stewardship and annual giving. Learn more
The Episcopal Network for Stewardship (TENS)
TENS is a network of leaders, churches, and dioceses devoted to building healthier giving cultures for greater ministry impact. They provide numerous resources for annual giving. Learn more