We renew our Stewardship commitment at the close of each year, so before asking for your support, we’d like to share a quick update and invite you to set some donation goals which will enable our budgetary planning for next year. You can click on the PDF file below or on this link to download the 2024 Pledge Commitment form.
Please return your form to the church in the Building Fund donation box or via email to our treasurer Erich Bunofsky by Sunday, November 26th.
Progress: At the start of 2023, the Mission had an average of 25 people at alternating liturgies and Typica services while awaiting the assignment of a full-time priest. Following Fr. David’s assignment as priest-in-charge of the Mission on June 1st, we have seen steady growth in not only attendance and finances, but also in number of liturgical services and fellowship events in the community. Now we are averaging a Sunday attendance of just under 50 worshippers and have received several new families, a catechumen, and inquirers. We are starting to fill out our rented space and have been looking at options for us to have A More Permanent Home in southern Orlando. Please pray for God’s will to be done at our beloved mission!
Financial Future: Last year, our financial goal was to grow the church’s income to demonstrate an increasing capacity to purchase physical property. We have made important steps in this direction to the point where the Parish Council has determined that we could service the debt incurred by buying a property in our price range of $500-950k but we do not yet have the 25-30% downpayment, but only about half of that at this point. Our primary goal for 204 is to continue to grow the church’s income to cover our needs but to also send excess donations to our building fund so we can hit the downpayment amount needed to purchase property. What we are asking all of you to do is to take a sincere and prayerful look at your finances to determine if you help us with this need.
The Pledge Card (on the back of this page) is designed to help you reflect on the assets God has given you, so you can bless His Church with your many gifts—with your time, talents, and treasure..
Pledging can make the relationship between work and the church more personal and liturgical, by connecting the divine purpose of regular giving to your routine labor. The church is entirely funded by the generosity and faithful tithing of our members. Please remember that as Orthodox Christians, we practice a biblical tithe, which is giving 10% of our income to the Church. As you prepare to give, please reflect on the following passages:
Jacob Offers a Tithe (Gen 28:20–22) Then Jacob made a vow, saying, “If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way that I go, and will give me bread to eat and clothing to wear, so that I come again to my father’s house in peace, then the Lord shall be my God, and this stone, which I have set up for a pillar, shall be God’s house, and of all that thou givest me I will give the tenth to thee.”
First Fruits (Prov 3:9-10) “Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first firsts of all your produce, then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.
The Cheerful Giver (2 Cor 9:6-7) The point is this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each one must give as he has decided in his heart, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.
We use Pledges as a basis for budgeting our spending for the coming year, so your pledged commitment is essential to our ability to grow and maintain our church.
“Stewardship is not just a matter for parish and diocesan action. It’s personal”. +Metropolitan Tikhon
Pledge Campaign Frequently Asked Questions
|Q: What is a pledge? I see this term but don’t know exactly what it means.A: A pledge is an estimate of your giving for the coming year and allows the church to fund our necessary expenses—salaries for clergy, outreach ministries, pastoral care, liturgical needs, education programs, and also allow us to plan for our ability to purchase a permanent home for our church in the future.|
|Q: Is a pledge a binding contract? What if my financial situation changes?A: The pledge is NOT binding in any way. Sometimes people lose their job and need to pause their regular giving, also sometimes people receive promotions and raises and increase their giving to account for these blessings. The pledge serves as a commitment that you are a member of this community who wants to support St. John’s with your first fruits. Your pledge allows you to plan out your giving for the year in advance and allows the church to plan out our budget for the year so we can use your gifts wisely in the service of God to minister to our community.|
If your circumstances change, for whatever reason, just let us know and we can adjust it anytime.
|Q: If I am a catechumen or inquirer, should I fill out a pledge form? A: We ask everyone who makes St. John the Merciful Orthodox Church their spiritual home to make a pledge of some kind. You cannot be counted as a parishioner until you are received into the Church through Baptism/Chrismation, but you can still participate in many of our ministries and St. John’s still needs your financial support.|
|Q: How much should I pledge? A: Every pledge matters, regardless of the amount—we are all in a different place, remember the “Widow’s Mite” where Christ commends the widow with her two copper pennies gave more than all the rest. It’s not about the amount so much, but whether the amount is faithfulness in which it is given. Start with prayer and reflect on the blessings of your life. Consider an amount that is both responsible and significant based on your individual financial situation.|
It might be helpful to consider this question: Does our giving reflect our standard of living? One way to ensure that is always true is to give a percentage of your income. A tithe (10% of your income) has long been held as the standard of Christian giving. If 10% feels out of reach at the moment, start with a lower amount and incrementally increase each year. To calculate your pledge or tithe, the following chart may help:
|Q: What about the Building Fund?A: On the pledge form, there are two blanks, the first is for your proportional giving (tithe) to support the normal work of the church and you will enter the amount you plan to give per year, per month, or per week on that first blank, but the second blank asks you to also consider giving to our building fund.|
Some people might split their total amount of giving 50/50 between their regular giving and the building fund, and others will give 100% of their regular giving and then give an additional amount on top of that for the building fund. In order to afford a property like the church in Davenport we are looking at, we will need to raise around $150k in the building fund to give a 20% downpayment and we are currently at around $22k.
|Q: How can I submit my pledge? A: You can return your pledge by filling out the printed pledge forms at the church and returning them to the box labelled PLEDGE RETURN, you can access a PDF of the pledge form at https://southorlandoorthodox.org/resources/2024-pledge-campaign/, and you may pledge electronically by sending an email with your pledge information to our treasurer Erich Bunofsky at email@example.com.|
|Q: How can I pay my pledge? A: You can pay your pledge in one lump sum or you can pay it in monthly or weekly installments, whatever works best for you. In addition to checks and cash given directly into the tithe box at the church (see photo above), you can give to the church via our Diocese’s website or through Zelle (see the links to both at the end of this email), and we are currently testing the giving platform Tithe.ly and will have it in place by the end of the pledge drive. Note that all of the online giving options will incur a percentage of your gift as a transactional fee.|
|MAY GOD BLESS YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT!|