Everyone’s story will be different, but they all stem from the same place—from the root of generosity, the love of God. Each of us knows this love. It brings us together every Sunday, prompts us to look after each other throughout the week, and sustains us during moments of trial. It’s what built this church and what continues to feed the growth of our outreach programs, worship, and community support.
This is an unequal exchange—a more than fair trade—and we are the blessed beneficiaries. We acknowledge it in our thanks and praise in worship, and in other ways. It’s those other ways I ask you to think about now. Ask yourself not what you should give, but what you could give.
What could I give for what God has done for me?
This might mean committing to an increased financial gift in 2015. It could be taking on a volunteer role within the church, as an usher or Altar Guild member or coffee hour host. This might take the form of outreach outside the church, spearheading a neighborhood initiative, or it might lead you to join OSA’s council.
I’m looking forward to exploring this question together as a church, and individually too. As an exercise, each week I’m asking every member of the congregation to put something in the offering basket—and not necessarily money. You’ll find in each week’s bulletin a piece of paper with room to write down what you offer in gratitude to God that week. Maybe it’s an afternoon with a lonely neighbor, an hour of contemplative prayer, or just giving up your seat on the subway to someone else. In the last week of our campaign, November 23rd, everyone will be asked to offer their financial pledge for 2015.
Whatever you offer, may it be a reflection of God’s love and grace within your life.
Blessings in Christ,
Susannah Skiver Barton, Stewardship Chair
Pastor John Flack
P.S. Below this letter, you’ll find a list of what your giving in 2014 has accomplished—plus a list of other things that OSA could do with an increase in congregational stewardship. You’ll also find a brief list of the different ways you can give financially that might help clarify your personal commitment. Please feel free to get in touch with me if you have any questions.
Where does all that money go?
Here’s what your 2014 Stewardship (over $83,000 so far!) has achieved this year:
- Supported local, national and international needs, including the ELCA Malaria Campaign
- Beautified our garden for the use of everyone in the community
- Heated our building throughout the looong Polar Vortex and kept our walkways free of ice
- Hosted community outreach events such as the BBQ Book Club and Creations Art Show
- Repaired the roof after heavy snows left a leak in the parsonage
- Paid for a new, full-time pastor!
- Kept the doors of our building open for community events 18 hours a day
- And so much more!
Here’s what OSA could do with a 10% increase in Stewardship for 2015:
- Raise the amount of financial support we can provide to worthy non-profit organizations
- Update our utilities and other systems to become more green and sustainable
- Support our Sunday School and adult education programs
- Increase community outreach programs to draw in new friends
- ??? The opportunities are truly endless!
How can I fulfill my stewardship pledge?
You can give incrementally (weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, or annually) in a variety of ways, including:
- Check or cash on Sundays, using an envelope available from the ushers
- Scheduling a check to be sent to OSA using your bank's bill pay option
- Online via credit card or automatic withdrawal (see http://www.osanyc.org/giving.html)
Note: A small transaction fee is deducted from online gifts.
- NEW: Quick Pay is a transaction fee-free way (meaning OSA receives 100% of your donation) to give electronically from your bank account. You can set up recurring payments or choose to receive a notification when your next gift is scheduled. Ask me or Brent Ness for more information.