In April 2012, the Vicar wrote to over 200 members of the Congregation as follows:
"Our Giving in Grace programme in 2011-12 was especially significant for us as the enclosed Brochure shows. Despite losing a number of our congregation who have sadly died or moved away we have been able to achieve much owing to the commitment of our church membership both financial and by freely giving their time and talents.
"Our God is faithful and I believe we’ve got lots to look forward to next year. As a leadership team we are committed to:
"New opportunities require fresh commitment to renew and review our giving, to make possible the ministry of our church. This year we had our first Annual Review of the Giving-in-Grace programme, which will be an opportunity to communicate our vision and invite all members to review and renew their giving. As before, those of us in leadership cannot ask others to do what we have not done ourselves. I hope that you will join me in prayerfully looking afresh at your giving to St Mary’s and in making your own personal response.
"St Paul invites us to “excel in this grace of giving”. With God’s help and your continued prayerful and faithful support we can achieve great things. Thank you."
With this letter was a Brochure, setting out the challenges and choices facing the Parish - download a copy here.
Any questions or correspondence can be sent to:The leader of the Stewardship Ministry Team - Andrew Imlay
On June 15 2014, Richard Lloyd preached on the meaning of Giving in Grace, the theme of this stewardship programme, and a recording of this sermon can be heard by clicking here.
If you were not able to hear John Cook’s sermon in St. Mary’s for the special Thanksgiving service on the 20 May 2012 – or if you would like to listen again to the message based on the prophet Malachi’s theme of “Robbing God”, a recording is available on the Recorded Sermons page (search for "Robbing"). The people of Malachi’s time needed to recognise that a readiness to give generously not only turned their hearts back to God – but also God blessed them with his great goodness.
An equally important aspect of Stewardship is the use of the time and gifts that are given us in the Service of Christ and his Church. Please also look at the "Ready to Serve?" page for information as to how you can put them to use.
The Government is able to refund to the Church the tax (income tax or capital gains tax) a donor has paid on the money which is given to a Charitable organisation (or a Community Amateur Sports Club). This is worth an additional £2.50 for every £10 given. This can be achieved by the donor making a Gift Aid Declaration - either on a form, or on a donation envelope - and these are available in Church. A copy of a combined Gift Aid Declaration form and a Standing Order form which enables donors to give regularly is available for download here .
All correspondence regarding Gift Aid can be sent to the PCC's Stewardship Recorder,
Your PCC feels it is most important for parishioners to understand how your Church will use any legacies that it is given and have agreed the following policy.
Legacy gifts, large or small, are welcomed by this parish and will not be used to fund normal running expenses.
The policy of the PCC is to use legacies to help fund significant development projects in the parish, whether buildings, equipment or staff. As circumstances change over the years, it may not be possible to fulfil specific donor requests, so church members are encouraged to leave legacies for the general purposes of the parish. The Churchwardens will discuss with executors the most appropriate use of the legacy in the light of current projects and the donor's known areas of interest in the church (e.g. children & youth, music, buildings).
Details of the use of all legacies will be published annually in the annual report (unless requested otherwise) and we hope to have an annual thanksgiving service where they can be remembered.
Parishioners are encouraged to make a will and to keep it up to date. Will Aid www.willaid.org.uk makes available free legal advice and help in making a will each November. Donations are requested by the sponsoring Charities.
The Stewardship team are available to advise people on general questions but will not make specific recommendations or discuss any detail.
A leaflet “How you can make a lasting difference to your Church” is available in Church. If you want more information it can be found at: http://www.churchlegacy.org.uk/