Our 2023 Stewardship Campaign is now in its third week. Every fall, we ask people to make a commitment to give to the church during the next calendar year. People pledge anywhere from $250 to $10,000 for the year. The amount matters to us less than the full participation of the parish. During the campaign, you will hear Stewardship Talks from our various members on Sunday mornings, and be asked to prayerfully consider how much you can pledge.
Our goal in 2023 is to raise $135,000 in pledges by Sunday, November 6th.
We hope that everyone in the church will consider pledging this year.
Message from Our Rector
Our Stewardship theme this year is taken from the Parable of the Talents, in which a landowner leaves town and asks three different people to tend his wealth. Two of them invest it, while the third buries it in the ground. When the landowner returns, he greets the two who invested the wealth with joy, while castigating the one who, because he was afraid, buried the wealth so that it could serve no one. I have, in this season, been reading Lewis Hyde’s wonderful book The Gift. Hyde writes about gift giving in cultures throughout the world, sharing the wisdom of indigenous peoples who understood that gifts have to circulate, moving from one person to another in an endless cycle, and that when gifts circulate, community thrives.
This little booklet, announcing and describing our stewardship campaign, is about the circulation of gifts, and the thriving of community. Saint Stephen’s is a wonderful and beautiful community, where people truly love and support each other. In our community, each person’s gifts are honored. More than that, our gifts circulate, so that other people can benefit from them, and so that they can grow. They often grow beyond our doors, and serve our neighbors on campus, in the surrounding community, in the city of Columbus, in the state of Ohio, and in the world at large.
Below, you will learn how your gift will circulate through six main ministry areas within and beyond the church. We looked at everything we spend money on, from salaries to maintenance supplies, and asked who that expenditure ultimately serves. We believe that it serves children and families, adults who are growing in faith, those who seek justice and are in need of charity, those who hope to find a community of love and support at St. Stephen’s, those who work for and attend The Ohio State University, and those who find solace, rest, and inspiration in our worship. Please read the following pages with love and attention, and consider making a gift.
How we fund our ministries:
How we allocate our resources:
28.65% of our ministry budget
Community plays a central role in our worship at St. Stephen’s. Our liturgy is an expression of our love for God and our gratitude for the many blessings of our lives. The sense of community expressed in worship inspires and upholds the experience of community expressed in fellowship and mission. Our worship is always deeply spiritual, and can at times feel challenging. Part of the challenge comes from our belief that the essential act of worship must be to relate to one another in love and charity, in the present moment, and that by honoring the Divine Nature of all others around us, by seeing each other as icons of the Divine, we enter in that same moment into God’s realm of justice, peace, and joy. This is Holy Communion — communing with God and with each other in ways that inspire and strengthen our love and hope for the world.
26.31% of our budget
During 2022 we began to slowly rebuild our community life, as the pandemic became endemic and many of us started to socialize again. We welcomed thirty-seven new people into our parish, including six new children and twenty new young adults. We held a pancake supper on Shrove Tuesday and a Newcomers Picnic in June. Karl meets with parishioners for lunch or coffee at least three times a week, and is always inviting people to collaborate on adult formation and outreach projects, and to get involved in the sacramental life of the parish. Everything we do as a parish is strengthened by our growing sense of interconnectedness, and we find as many opportunities as we can to delight in each other’s company.
Justice & Outreach
17.59% of our budget
Through our affiliation with BREAD, and the outreach we undertake at NSI, Street Church, Freedom a la Cart, and His Place, we try to live out the life to which we are called. Parishioners prepare lunches for the homeless — more than 800 each year! — cook and serve breakfast and dinner at St. John’s Town St., “adopt” children for Christmas, and fill backpacks for Back to School. We also advocate for affordable housing, restorative practices in schools, jobs for returning citizens, and environmental justice.
Children & Families
12.82% of our budget
Here at St. Stephen’s, we make sure that our children and families feel welcome and spiritually nourished as soon as they enter through the doors. Each Sunday we open our nursery to children ages 0-4, allowing families to participate in our worship service fully. We offer an age-appropriate liturgy and activity during Children’s Church for kids 4-12. With the partnership of St. John’s of Worthington, we have a Youth Group for kiddos in 6th-12th grade. Though COVID had set Children’s formation back, we have continued to flourish since returning in November of 2021. With your support, we can continue these ministries and more as we as a parish continue to grow.
6.42% of our budget
Adult Formation programs at St. Stephen’s offer opportunities for parishioners and others in the community to deepen their presence and connection with God, one another, and themselves. The programs enrich our faith and our understanding of it in mind and heart, help us learn spiritual practices that strengthen us for our daily lives and service, and offer time to delight together in the wisdom and divine consolation available to us. Some programs are ongoing such as Soul Sisters, Wednesday Midday Prayer and Lunch, Liturgical Poetry Selection, and Centering Prayer gatherings. Other programs are offered for a specific length of time or topic such as Creation Care, Experiments in Prayer and Meditation, Film Viewing and Discussion, and Scripture Study.
8.22% of our budget
Although Campus Life seems to be supported by only a small sliver of our budget, students and Young Adults are active in all of aspects of our ministries, and this percentage only reflects the four activities that are dedicated to young adults in our parish: bible study, Sunday brunches, game nights, and retreats. In addition, the 8.22% listed above includes time that Karl and Patricia spend serving on the OSU Interfaith Council and meeting with campus groups that aren’t based at St. Stephen’s. That accounts for why the number seems small, but if you look around at our worship, outreach, and formation activities, you’ll see young adults everywhere!
How to Make Your Gift
Fill out your pledge card and drop it in the offering plate or mail it to:
Saint Stephen’s Episcopal Church
30 W. Woodruff Avenue
Columbus, OH 43210
or email your pledge amount to:
Please write “Pledge 2023” in the subject line of the email.
or put your pledge in the offering plate on Sunday.
FULFILL YOUR PLEDGE BY CONTRIBUTING WEEKLY OR MONTHLY
Either mail in your check to the above address or
- go to ststephens-columbus.org
- click on the “Give Online” button in the top menu
- on the Giving page, click “donate”
- from the dropdown menu, select “Donations (pledging members)”
Call or email Karl to meet about including St. Stephen’s in your estate planning. Karl can be reached at 740-326-0236 or firstname.lastname@example.org.