The Parish Resources page will help parishes to develop their annual stewardship plan; to prepare and implement education programs about stewardship and gift development; and to conduct an annual financial pledge campaign.
Every parish is encouraged to create a Stewardship Team and establish an Annual Stewardship Plan. Recruitment to a stewardship team is essential – Remember Jesus’ example. He recruited the 12 apostles one at a time, face to face. Imagine what would have happened if he ran a request for volunteers in the Temple Newsletter! Nothing! Face to face contact always gives a 10 on the media richness scale. Think about the gifts of people you are asking to help on this team – it would be helpful to have a:
- “Leader” – someone to lead the team!
- “recruiter” – someone who can ask others to do things in an excited and positive manner
- “organizer” – a person who loves lists and calendars and has an eye for details,
- “desk top publisher” – someone who enjoys making printed materials look attractive and readable
- “liturgist” – an individual who will write prayers and help plan special campaign liturgies
- “creative” type who thinks outside of the box
- “writer” type who enjoys writing brochures, bulletin inserts, materials for your campaign“
- cheerful workers” – these are the people that see the work gets done – these people are pure gold – treat them accordingly!
PDF resources on this page are intended to help parishes develop their teams and plans. Here you will find resources to help educate members of your parish about stewardship, discipleship and generosity.
What does it mean to be a Welcoming Parish?
A parish strives to be a welcoming and inclusive community that knows and shares the love of God and serves those in need. We are a face in helping a community live up to this high calling. God’s Church is to be a house of prayer, refuge, joy, hope and giving for all people. In God’s house even the sparrow can find a place to rest; even the widow can find a place to offer her pennies.
In other words, we need to help people feel at home. Remember that everyone is a stranger somewhere. Imagine yourself hosting friends and family at your home and offer the same hospitality. We need to be ready to receive people where they are, not with any preconceived notions of who they should be. We are inviting people into God’s house to share God’s meal. God is the host, we are the guests. The stranger, the lonely, the sick and the poor are the guests of honour.
- How is your parking?
- Is the church visible with optimum signage and obvious entrances?
- How are people welcomed as they enter the church?
- If you were new to your parish, would you find your bulletin clear, readable and helpful?
Here are a few pointers to remember when welcoming and ushering people into the church:
- Try to be at least 10 minutes early for the service to be ready to greet people
- Wear your “badge of honor!” – a sign of WELCOME and a nametag
- Always approach someone coming into the church (don’t wait for them to reach you)
- Greet them by name or, if you can’t remember their names or don’t know them, introduce yourself and ask for their name. Don’t be embarrassed about forgetting a name; we all have trouble remembering names and/or faces
- Keep smiling- even if you don’t feel like it! We are the entry point of each person’s experience of worship – we want them to feel welcome as they enter the church and to leave uplifted after the service is over!
- Hand a bulletin and any other papers needed to each person
- If people have children, make sure they know what to do for Sunday School
- Help people find a place to sit – do they need a cushion?
- Help the frail to get settled – do they need a hearing device?
- Most of all, help people feel at home – imagine yourself in a new and unfamiliar setting – how would you like to be helped, made comfortable…
- If newcomers are unfamiliar with the Anglican order of service, buddy them with someone that will help them through the service. Make sure the bulletin provides clear guidance throughout each part of the service.
- After the service, make contact with newcomers, invite them in to coffee, ask them if they would like to provide contact information. Listen for their needs…
- Identify newcomers to the clergy or to your newcomers ministry group. Contact within 72 hours.
Coffee Hour Etiquette
- How do you identify newcomers? Would you consider a distinctive pin on their lapel, for example?
- Have they been invited and accompanied to coffee hour?
- Although coffee hour is a time to talk church business but is it really what God is calling us to do at this time and place? Always try to think about how you would feel as a stranger in a new environment…
- Introduce newcomers to others as your new friend.
- Practice being someone you would like to spend time with.
Annual Financial Development
Parishes normally carry out a financial commitment campaign annually. Many do it in the fall of the year but not all. These six week efforts are intended to provide information to members of the parish about the operating and ministry plans for the coming year. People are then asked to make a financial commitment for the year, per month or per week so that the parish leadership can, with some certainty, implement the plans made. The Stewardship Resources 2011 document below is a downloadable manual for financial pledge campaigns.
Below are two documents that will help your parish create a Gift Planning program and assess it once it has been in place for a while.