Dear Members and Friends of the Congregational Church,
Each year around this time we write to you to ask for your financial support of your church. This year has been unlike any other in so many ways, that things like church budgets in the midst of so much uncertainty may feel less than crucial. Even still, we come to you as the church community to ask for you to prayerfully consider how you will invest in our life together in 2021.
First, we’d like to share a bit about how our church has adapted to the realities of life together in the time of COVID. We made an early decision to suspend in-person worship and meetings. We have all now learned how to be church in new ways, by watching services on YouTube and gathering together for meetings and fellowship on Zoom.
Your clergy and staff have adapted to this new reality too. While the office has remained closed, they have continued to work diligently. Whether it’s Nicole St. Cyr answering calls to the church on her home phone, or Allan Mayo recording his weekly children’s sermon from his living room, or Terrie leading Zoom choir practice each Thursday, your staff has responded with passion and imagination.
Our committees and ministries have done the same. The Deacons have introduced a new outreach to the community by taking advantage our location in the center of town and commissioning rotating signs proclaiming our hopes and values. Mission and Action is continuing all their good works, including making financial donations to anti-racist efforts, organizing socially-distanced drives for our Thanksgiving and Christmas basket ministry, and responding to increased needs in our community. The Trustees have ensured that our buildings have been well-tended during this shutdown, and have been careful stewards of our financial resources in an uncertain time.
As we begin to look ahead to 2021, we do not know all that the future will hold. We all yearn for a decrease in infection rates, and an effective vaccine. We pray for the day we will return to our sanctuary for worship. We live in this tension of hope and uncertainty.
Bigger than our uncertainty, however, is our faith. It is our faith that has taught us how to respond this year. It is our faith that has helped us to choose the love of God and neighbor over all. It is our faith that has kept us from anger and panic, and has instead turned us towards understanding and the willingness to follow God along unknown paths.
We are grateful for the continued financial support you have given our congregation during this time. It has allowed us to be truly adaptive, and to care for one another well. Whatever the next year holds, we will need your continued support to ensure that our staff may continue their work, our missions and ministries in our community and world will continue, and our buildings will be ready for our return.
Below are several items. First is a narrative budget which shows how we use your pledges. Next is information on how to make your pledge. There is also a chart that some have found useful in the past when deciding upon their pledge amount.
This year we are including an option for pledging online. To complete a pledge card, simply click this link: https://tithe.ly/pledge/#/campaign/2727992
If you would prefer a paper pledge card, simply call the office at (603) 727-4216 and we will make sure you receive one.
We ask you to prayerfully consider your pledge to your church this year. What you give is your investment in what we hope will be a year of faith, service and joy for our church in 2021. We invite you to join us in the planting, and praying for an abundant harvest.
In Christ’s grace and peace,
Kevin Bartkovich, Church Moderator
Susan Scales, Treasurer
Rev. Emily C. Heath, Pastor
Our anticipated income = $388,564
$37,000: Contributions (non-pledged offerings)
$20,608: Building usage
$24,000: Investment transfer and income
Our anticipated expenses = $388,564
Worship and Music – $84,823: Covers the portion of our pastor’s time dedicated to writing sermons as well as worship preparation and leadership. Pays our music director’s compensation. Compensates our office staff for their time spent preparing worship materials. Ensures our instruments and sheet music are well-maintained. Allows for guest musicians and vocalists.
Pastoral Care – $26,836: Compensates our pastoral staff for time spent with individuals and families in need, including those who are hospitalized or facing crises, and other care needs.
Mission and Wider Church – $51,204: Covers the portion of our pastor’s time dedicated to working in mission and the wider church. Ensures we are able to give to a variety of local and community missions. Covers our per capita membership payments to the Rockingham Association and the New Hampshire Conference of the United Church of Christ, and the denomination’s Our Church’s Wider Mission fund.
Christian Growth and Formation – $42,390: Funds our Christian education program for all ages, including our children and youth. Compensates the Church School Director for their service. Allows for youth programming. Provides for the portion of the pastor’s salary spent on Christian education. Ensures nursery care for our smallest children. Ensures background checks are completed on all volunteers.
Communications, Outreach, and Membership – $36,213: Provides for the pastor’s time spent reaching out to new members and our wider community. Funds our outreach to new visitors. Allows for the Weekly Steeple and other church mailings to be produced and sent. Maintains our website and active social media outreach.
Buildings and Grounds – $88,999: Cares for and insures our over 215 year old church building and our church office building. Ensures our grounds and memorial garden are safe and well maintained.
Administration – $58,099: Maintains an office. Ensures bills are paid and books are balanced.
A few frequently asked questions about pledging:
Question: How much should I give?
Answer: That is a question that only you and your family can answer. We have no expectations about an amount or percentage of income to give. We simply ask that you make a decision based on your own financial situation that feels good and faithful to you. Some people do find the adjacent chart helpful, and use it to locate a giving level that feels comfortable to them.
Q: How do I make my pledge?
A: This year we have two options. In order to pledge, please only complete one:
– Request a pledge card by calling the church office and the returning it to:
The Congregational Church in Exeter, ATTN: Stewardship
21 Front Street
Exeter, NH 03833.
– This year we also have an online pledge card option, which also gives you the option to set up automatic payments through Tithely, if you so wish. You may find that link here: https://tithe.ly/pledge/#/campaign/2727992
Q. How do I fulfill my pledge?
A: You can always give on Sundays during the offering once we are back to in-person worship, but that is not the only way! You may also send your payment to the church office, or set up automatic giving through your bank. Finally, an easy way to give online is through the church’s Tithely link. Simply visit www.exeterucc.org/give
Q. Are financial gifts to the church tax deductible?
A: Yes! We are a 501c3 non-profit organization under the umbrella of the UCC. Additionally, some work places offer matching donations to non-profits. If yours does, please contact the church office at (603) 772-4216 to make arrangements.
Q. Who will see my pledge card?
A. The treasurer will see your card in order to compile and enter pledge information, as will our financial services manager in order to keep accurate giving records. Other church leaders will not. Pastor Emily has a firm policy of not knowing who pledges, or how much anyone gives to the church.