The Orthodox Way of Life
“Let us commit ourselves and one another and all our life unto Christ our God”
In the Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, we hear the call to “commit ourselves and one another and our whole life to Christ our God.” We commit our whole life to Christ when we truly believe that He is the source of our life and origin of our blessings.
Stewardship is our proper response to His gifts to us. In gratitude and thanksgiving, we give back of our time, talents, and treasure in proportion to what we have been given.
The Bible speaks of offering back to God the “first fruits” of our possessions, thus recognizing Him as the provider of all we are and all we have. Stewardship is making Christ the first priority in the use of time, talents, and treasures with which He has blessed us.
Return to God His Own Gifts
King David said: “all things come from You, and of Your own we have given You” (Chronicles 29:14). Our money and possessions are not ours, but on loan from God. When we give to the Church, we return to God, the Owner, His rightful portion.
In today's day, few give the full ten percent stated in the Bible. However, if one gives to God the pay of two hours out of the 172 hours worked full time in a month, that works out to be just slightly more than one percent. For example, a person making 10 dollars an hour could set his stewardship at 20 dollars a month, while a person making 50 dollars an hour would set his stewardship pledge at 100 dollars a month. For those only working part-time, one hour's pay a month is a fair standard. All in proportion to one's income and, of course, in accordance with one's conscience. We know from the Gospel, that the more we are given, the more is expected of us. “Everyone to whom much is given, from him will much be required” (Luke 12:48). Each steward should determine what percentage of his or her income will be committed to Christ and the Church each year.
“Each person should give what he had decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful (willing) giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7). How do you compare your expenditure on personal entertainment or recreation to your giving for God's work? Our Stewardship giving reflects our commitment to Christ and His Church.
Money is a necessary tool for ministry. To fulfill the Church's mission, we are called upon to commit our fair share for the financial support of our Church's expenses.
We should not depend on special events to meet our annual budget, for this is our direct responsibility. Paying monthly “dues” is something one does as a member of a club or fraternity, with little or no interest in the actual success of the enterprise, only to the extent that it serves our needs or wants. As stewards, we have a vested interest in the success of our parish and its activities. Stewardship places the responsibility for the well-being of our parish on us, for we are the recipients of God's gifts and play an active role in perpetuating His work of salvation.
The expenses of our Parish are vital to our church for:
- Keeping in touch with you
- Building and decorating our church
- Maintaining our buildings
- Those who serve us
- Worship and education
- Missionary activities
- Diocesan and church-wide ministries
The quality of our service as a parish and Diocese depends directly on the level of your generous giving.
In making a decision, one should keep in mind that the expenses of the Church increase every year. In order to grow our ministries and meet our expenses, each Steward should strive to increase his or her pledge annually.
You may remit your pledge in the manner that suits you best. Since small, regular contributions are easier to manage, it is suggested that your contribution be made on a weekly basis. “On the first day of every week (Sunday) each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income” (1 Corinthians 16:2).
Your stewardship pledge is kept in confidence. Our Lord taught us that giving should be done quietly, generously, and out of sight of others. If you wish to revise your pledge during the year for any reason, you may send a note to the Church Office indicating your intention. When you make your contributions in church, whether at the candlestand or in the collection plate, use the stewardship envelopes (always available at the candlestand), which can be prepared in advance, if you wish.
The stewardship pledge qualifies each Steward as parishioners in good standing with the Parish. Family members over 21 years of age who are employed should make their own Stewardship Pledge. All Stewards have the right to vote at the General Parish Meeting and seek elective office in the administration of the Parish as provided in the Normal Parish Bylaws.
The Stewardship Pledges Drive begins on Janaury 29, 2017.
Pledges my be turned in at the candle counter, or they can be mailed to the Church Office before that date. Besides the Stewardship Pledge, it is most important to return the Family Information Sheet as well, as this keeps our records of each of our parishioners and families up-to-date.
Orthodox Christians who wish to become parishioners in good standing in our Parish may become Stewards of Holy Ascension Russian Orthodox Church by making a Stewardship Pledge for the current year.
Russian Orthodox Church
A Parish of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia
714 – 13th Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
Archpriest Paul Volmensky, Rector
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