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Our Church, As One: Living Faithfully Now

What is Stewardship?

What is Stewardship?

Stewardship is our responsibility to use wisely the gifts that God has given us.  Everyone has a part to play in giving of time, talents, and treasure – monetary support – to make sure our ministry can be sustained.  Our church has no endowment and no debt. We rely on yearly donations to fund staff, outreach, community life, and building operations.  Pledges remove some of the uncertainty within funding our budget, so we can confidently carry out our mission.  First Presbyterian Church of New Haven is a church that seeks to ease suffering, accompany the oppressed, and meet the needs of God’s people.

Please let us know about your intentions to give in 2024.

You can either fill out a Pledge Card, or email the Stewardship Team at stewardship@fpcnh.org 

It is helpful for us to know:

  • Total amount for 2024
  • Frequency of intended giving (weekly, monthly, annually, etc.)
  • Contact information (name, address, email, and phone number)

Stewardship Letter 2024

Dear First Pres,

We, the Session of First Presbyterian Church, are reaching out to you today as part of our commitment to keep you in the loop on our financial health as a congregation. And, we have good news to share—with a request as well.

First, the request:  As you may remember, our total budgeted expenses for this year (2024) are ~$334,000. Our goal is to receive pledges to cover at least $300,000 of those expenses. If you intend to give financially to First Pres in the coming year, we ask that you submit a pledge today via a pledge card, or email stewardship@fpcnh.org and let us know what you plan to give. The pledge does not commit you to contractually pay that amount—it simply helps us know what to expect so we can plan our spending accordingly. If you are new to our congregation, we’re so delighted that you’re with us and we hope that you will join us in ministry with your time, talent, and also with your financial support. 

Now, for the good news! As a church, we are experiencing a shift in our culture. With joy and hope, we are becoming a community of generous disciples. This is about more than giving financially. It’s about our practice of faith and our calling to love and serve. Here are some ways we can tell this is happening:
 

  1. We have been moving our focus away from fund development and towards people/spiritual development.

Over the last couple of years, we have invested time and energy into areas of ministry that draw us into community more meaningfully and encourage us to nourish our spiritual well-being. Here are some examples of how:

  • Our worship is lively, engaging, and nourishing as we gather intergenerationally. All are truly welcome to worship God, no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, ability, or age. This expansive invitation has enriched our worship experience greatly.
  • Rather than offer many different periodic events to connect as community, we focused our energy into small group Bible Studies. For the last year, groups have gathered to learn God’s Word and to build meaningful relationships every two weeks!
  • Rather than separate families and silo out age groups, the Household Huddle has enabled people of all ages to grow in faith together. The children of our church are becoming more connected with adults other than their parents, providing a wider foundation of trust, love and care for them as they grow. 

 

  1. We have been moving our focus away from providing services to being in solidarity with our neighbors.

 Rather than give a little amount of money to several different non-profit mission partners, the Social Justice Committee has deepened our most meaningful connections with a few mission partners (IRIS, Columbus House, CCA), enabling us to give financially as well as with our time, talent, and volunteer hours. Our buildings provide shelter for families in need, as well as space for individuals seeking spiritual well-being. We hear prophetic sermons and engage politically. We seek justice and peace. We are bound together beyond connectionalism, as we stand in solidarity with our neighbors, recognizing our common responsibilities and interests. We are stewards of our resources — our staff, property, finances — to further the kingdom of God and support the Body of Christ, of which we are a part.

  1. We have been moving from being consumers of church to being community members in the church.

We are learning to be together, again. We get to gather together in the worship space, in fellowship, and in service. We get to sing together, pray together, reach out and pass the peace to each other. We get to practice our faith together. You can sign up to take turns in leadership—being an usher, being the liturgist, sitting in the Copeland Room to get to know the children, preparing communion and serving dinner at Columbus House. Each of us can share the responsibilities as well as the delights of our life together. It feels good to do this together.

Friend, you are an important member of this Body of Christ. Especially in this time of pastoral transition, we are grateful for your witness of God’s generous love and for your participation in this community. We are growing in faith together and for this, we give God thanks.

Peace,

The Session of the First Presbyterian Church of New Haven

Telling the Story of our Finances

Telling the Story of our Finances

As a church, we have been experiencing a shift in our culture. 

  • We have been moving our focus away from fund development and towards people and spiritual development.
  • We have been moving our focus away from scarcity and towards sufficiency.
  • We have been moving from being consumers of church to being community members in the church.

We have no endowment and no debt.  

Trusting in God’s provision for God’s people in every time and place, our church abides by a policy not to hold an endowment. Each generation is called anew to expressions of stewardship – to prayerfully direct the wealth and wellbeing entrusted to their care to the glory of God. For those of us in this generation, this means that we are not bound to the calling of our ancestors, but free to hear God’s call for us today. 

In 2007, our church held a capital campaign to pay down the mortgage on the Owens Building. A significant dent was made at the time on the loan but rather than pay it all off at once, it was more prudent to hold some of the cash in a capital fund for future repairs. In 2020, First Pres received a gift of $100,000 from the Church of the Redeemer. The funds enabled the Session to confidently clear out the Capital Campaign fund and pay off the mortgage that was held on the Owens Building – the only debt our church carried.  

We want to get our house in order so we can dream big.

The remaining funds from Church of the Redeemer will ideally go towards new, exciting ministerial endeavors that we will discern collectively in 2024. We want to do something worthy of this gift – not just fund our operating budget.  Fulfilling our pledge goal of $300,000 will ensure this possibility. 

Stewardship Message - Bob Parker

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