Rachel Norton, Director of Stewardship, Development, and Communications

As every news item, advertisement, and social media post reminds us: we are living in strange and difficult times. Everyone’s habits and circumstances have changed. The Generosity & Gratitude Committee chose to address this new situation by altering how we do pledging this year, in the hope of meeting everyone where they are.

In years past, we have asked you to prayerfully and joyfully commit to giving a certain amount of money to the church in the upcoming year. We recorded that information and used the estimate of total annual pledged income to guide budgeting. We also were able to report back to you how close you were to paying off your pledge at any point in time.

We still encourage that same practice this year, and you are welcome to do your pledging as you’ve always done. However, we also recognize that the economic impacts of the pandemic have affected some of us more than others. Some of us may not be able to give as much as before, or simply may not have as clear a picture of our finances as we’ve had in the past and aren’t able to guess what will be possible in the coming year. Therefore, we’re introducing an option on your pledge form to let the church know that you have prayerfully made a commitment, but that the specifics of that commitment are known only to you and God.

Truly, the most spiritually significant aspects of pledging aren’t around offering specific dollar figures or percentages. The joy of making a pledge is knowing you’re playing a critical part in the work of ministry that we do at Third Church. The importance is in fostering generosity, and giving what you’re able, not what you think the church thinks you ought to give. The value of making a pledge is in tangibly deepening your commitment to this community of faith. Pledging is more powerful than spontaneously writing a check when the mood strikes or throwing some cash in the plate when you happen to have some in your pocket. You make a pledge carefully, with forethought and intention and reverence.

The church can respect and support all of these spiritual benefits with or without knowing the dollar figure of the commitment you’ve made.

If you are someone whose life circumstances have forced you to pledge less than you’d like, that’s okay. Every little bit advances the work of the church. If you are one of the lucky ones who hasn’t been hit as hard financially, please consider increasing your generosity to the church so that we can continue to minister to each other and to the world. You will receive a letter with your recent giving history and a pledge form by mail in the first week of November. You may also pledge online at any time.