Generous Culture of Stewardship Tool Kit


The face of stewardship in Niagara is changing.

Where our approach to stewardship may once have focused narrowly upon finances, deficits, or even survival, we are learning that stewardship is really about everything we do when we follow Christ passionately. Our lives are not compartmentalized: living faithfully includes all that we are, all that we have, and all the ways that we live-into God's hopes for us.

In this kit you will find new resources designed to support parish leaders who wish to shift the conversation in their congregations to gathering all the resources we need to connect more deeply with God's mission in the world. To say the same thing in a slightly different way, from the moment of our baptism, each of us already has all we need to live faithfully and to engage richly with all that God is calling us to do in our churches and in the neighbourhoods we are called to serve.

We are inviting you to join with us in shifting the culture of stewardship in Niagara so that we see our home churches as dynamic centres of shared mission. Each mission centre is able to engage with God's work in the world because faithful Christians are nurtured through prayer and learning, and are empowered to share gifts of all kinds within our congregations and beyond.

In this kit you find the following resources:

There are many additional resources available on our diocesan website at:

Parish Stewardship Brochure

When we welcome new people into our parish family, often that will include a special gathering with an opportunity to meet the leaders of various groups that our new comers might enjoy participating in and joining. We will give a tour of the building so that folks can find their way around and begin to feel at home. So, we introduce ourselves, and our facility, but often we neglect or feel embarrassed to mention how we pay for our ministries - and how they might also contribute in a financial way and learn to be GENEROUS givers.

Having a parish brochure is a comfortable way to share information so that when people get home they can continue to learn about the parish and how they can more fully participate in their own faith journey with God as members of the parish.

Having information on hand about how to give via pre-authorized payments (PAP) or a pre-authorized gift (PAG) will be a timely and helpful handout. Often people will ask about envelopes. Most parishes still have them available, but we have learned that PAG is the way to go, so it makes sense to offer this as a first option - especially when most of us do our banking on line these days! Having a one pager with the benefits of donating via PAG on one side and an information gathering sheet on the other will be most helpful. Of course, if the comfort level is still with envelopes then it makes sense to make them available and also to have a handy guide gathering the information and how to give it to so as the envelopes can be prepared.

Here is a link to a wonderful stewardship brochure created by St. Cuthbert's, Oakville that will help you get started with an attractive way to have stewardship information at the ready!

Sample Stewardship Brochure - St. Cuthbert's, Oakville

Narrative Budget

We are a people of story. If someone came to your home and wanted to get to know your family and would like to offer some support so you could flourish what would you tell them? Well, we pay $400 a month for our hydro bill, and another $200 for water ... on and on! I doubt it - you would tell them the stories of who is in your family and what you like to do together, how you support each other so each may grow and develop as a child of God. That is what a Narrative Budget is meant to be and do - it tells the story of your parish family and the ministries you share, who you are and how you are doing God's work in the world so that each disciple can grow and develop a closer relationship with God.

Most people switch off their brain when you show them a bank statement or a line item budget and so developing a narrative (story) budget is helpful for those of us who will not take the time to read the financial story in a line item budget. Not to mention that people are not moved to give to the hydro bill but they do love to support the choir who delight them by leading the singing at each worship service, or the outreach efforts made to serve the community. Our building itself is a useful 'tool for ministry' where we come to learn and be nourished and fed so we can go out into the world as God's hands to serve others.

Here you will find some useful links to several Narrative Budget Resources:

Diocese of Niagara: Narrative Budget Toolkit

A Sample Narrative Budget St. Cuthbert's, Oakville

A Sample Narrative Budget Christ's Church Cathedral, Hamilton

Planning Giving

Anglican Church of Canada website writes about Planned Giving ...

Planned giving, or gift planning, is the process of designing charitable gifts so that the donor realizes philanthropic objectives while maximizing tax and other financial benefits. Generally, a planned gift is any gift of significant size made with forethought about the benefits to the church and the financial implications to the donor and the donor's family.

Planned gifts are often equated with deferred gifts such as bequests, life insurance policies, and similar arrangements where the commitment is made now but the funds are not available to the church or charity until some future time.

The majority of planned gifts are deferred, but gift planning also includes outright gifts. A planned gift can be a major gift for current needs, consisting of securities or real estate, and structured and timed to limit any tax on capital gain and obtain full benefit of the tax credit.

Check out the many and varied ways you can make a planned gift at

Here is a handy one page regarding donating stocks to your church:

Tax Advantages of Donating Stocks to your Church

Success Stories


St. George's started their stewardship team in the fall of 2010. The Churches Corporation approached me and asked if I would start a stewardship component for St George's. There had been a Stewardship Committee many years before which had lapsed for 15 plus years. As a past warden I had heard several wardens over a three year period mention that a stewardship committee was needed to assist the Corporation today and St. George's into the future. When my term as warden was complete I set out to start a Stewardship Team at St. George's.

First Year: In the fall of 2010 ten parishioners gathered to start this daunting task. It was felt that a larger number of participants (ten parishioners) were necessary for continuity as volunteers have family, jobs, and retired people want to travel! This meant we able to always have at least seven members in attendance. The Church Treasurer and The Rector were included on the Team. We established a regular evening (2nd Thursday of the Month) and a two hour duration, for all meetings. If another meeting was needed to cover all discussions so be it. We were not going to have long winded meetings. All meetings were to start with our Stewardship prayer and end with The Grace.

The Team started with creating a paper on the meaning of stewardship and a Terms of Reference with the Roles and Responsibilities of the Team and its members. Coinciding with these chores the Team progressed through Jim Newman's (Diocesan Stewardship Consultant) "Ten Simple Things to Improve Your Parish Income". In February 2011, the Team started reading Michael Durall's "Creating Congregations of Generous People". Most meetings completed with a half hour in-depth discussion of 2 or 3 chapters of Durall's book. This was an excellent resource to give credence to Jim Newman's booklet. This first winter was focused on lengthy and in-depth discussions on Stewardship and where St. George's wanted to go in the future.

In June the Team had a ½ day workshop to plan our upcoming first ever fall pledge drive. We finished with a social lunch sharing a time of fellowship. This 1/2 workshop has been continued each June as it has been regarded as a time of sharing who we are, and a time to really become acquainted with fellow stewards. In the fall of our first year, the Team launched their first pledge drive which included our narrative story, testimonials, letter of intent, 'thank you' notes, a pledge form, and a wine and cheese celebration at the completion.

Second Year: In the fall of 2011, the Corporation also accepted our Terms of Reference. After completing Durall's book, the Team read and discussed J. Cliff Christopher's book "Not Your Parents Offering Plate". This also reinforced Jim Newman's booklet and Durall's book about giving procedures and the emphasis of a culture of generosity. To start 2012 The Team decided to focus on Legacy and Planned giving. We asked Archdeacon John Robertson, senior Gift Planning from the National Office, to come and speak to St. George's Corporation and The Team. This was a crucial meeting as we realized that we needed to focus on the financial security for St. George's in the future. As a result, two booklets/pamphlets were created for St. George's (1) The Case for A Will and (2) Remembering St. George's. We also created with the assistance from the National Office additional pamphlets for various methods of planned giving with an emphasis from a St George's perspective. At this point it was noted that there was no 'Gift Acceptance Policy' in place and so we determined to rectify this by creating one, and it was accepted by the Corporation in August 2012. As the year progressed we read Charles R. Lanes' book "Ask, Thank, Tell". This book was very beneficial as it led us to improve how we ask for monies, thank for generosities (whether time or treasure,) and tell our story through testimonials and sharing of our good deeds (missions). Year two ended with our second fall pledge drive which we launched with Archdeacon John Robertson preaching at our Sunday morning services followed by an informal question/answer session.

Year Three: The Team decided to extend this Legacy Planning thrust and created a presentation for the congregation. This was an interactive power point presentation that was presented to the Parish following Sunday services. This presentation enabled parishioners to facilitate various methods of legacy planning for St. George's. This presentation was positively received and the result has been the creation of a 'Planned Donor Recognition Policy' accepted by Corporation March 2013. This policy affords St. George's the ability to recognize living planned gift donors for their generosity as members of 'The Legacy Society' of St. George's, Guelph. During this period the team read several sections of Henri J. M. Nouwen's book "A Spirituality of Fundraising". This has aided the team to look at fund raising not solely as a monetary endeavor but also and more importantly as a spiritual pursuit. Again we had our fall pledge drive but this time with a different emphasis. We decided to stress all the different missions that make St. George's so special. We created a new narrative story based on our many missions and had various groups speak about what they were involved in and why this mission is so special to them. Our Team finished the year with lengthy discussions on lay leadership. Several from the Team viewed the lay leadership webinar from the National office "Engaging Volunteers in Ministry: A Deeper View of Stewardship". Into the future we hope to engage the church's' need to encourage and facilitate a comprehensive lay leadership program.

Year Four: The Team decided along that fund raising/capital campaigns need to be addressed at St. George's. The Team with some support from the Generous Culture of Stewardship hosted a workshop open to all churches both within and outside the Diocese called 'Stewardship Strategies for The Church Today'. This workshop iwas facilitated by The Reverend Dr. Gary Nicolsi who emphasized how money follows mission. (The handouts from this workshop are posted on our Diocesan Website).

And so we soldier on. Additional books used in part:

Summary of Resources:

Webinar: Engaging Volunteers in Ministry: A Deeper View of Stewardship available at Submitted by Ella Turnbull, Chair of St. George's Stewardship Team and Member of Generous Culture of Stewardship Vision Team

BECOMING DEBT FREE! St. Elizabeth's, Burlington

This is a tale of St. Elizabeth's Burlington and how the parish went from indebtedness to a vibrate community with energy and resources for ministry.

When I arrived at St. Elizabeth's in the fall of 2005 the parish was paying half of their assessment each month and had been for the last 10 years. After close analysis of the books we decided to pay the full amount and we let the congregation know what was being done. The corporation along with parish council looked at every area of the parish to find areas that were not absolutely essential to the successful running of the parish. The painting planned for the hall wasn't done. The snow removal contracted was sent out to bids, we stopped sending birthday cards to everyone, we stopped sending a note to tell families they had been prayed for that Sunday.

There was $5,000 in the bank at the end of December which I insisted the treasurer pay to the diocese. This meant we began 2006 owing the diocese $78,000. I told the congregation we were attempting to pay our DM&M each month and needed their help with the additional $1,000. It was forthcoming and since I arrived no new debt was accumulated.

At the end of 2006 with a new treasurer we thought we had enough to pay down $5,000 more, so a cheque was sent. It turns out we then had no money in reserve to pay the insurance, so we put that to the congregation and the money came in.

Through 2007 we paid an additional $15,000 against the debt.

During this period of time we let the congregation know through the bulletins, newsletter, and the Sunday announcements where we stood financially. I talked often of the benefits of the diocese, and what we get from them. I invited speakers from the diocese to come, for example, Michael Patterson - Director of Evangelism, Christyn Perkons from the synod office helped with a visioning day, as did Michael Thompson - Rector of St. Jude's Oakville came one year. We talked about how 27% of the DM&M goes to outreach and when we don't pay our fair share others suffer. We talked about how when my predecessor suddenly became ill the diocese provided a priest right away to cover worship, pastoral care including visitation, weddings and funerals.

At my first vestry we presented a narrative budget so people could see all the good things that were happening. The following September we had our first Ministry Sunday where everyone was encouraged to become a part of the ministry through a sign up booklet which listed all the areas of ministry where they could use their time and talent. Many of the fellowship activities like a St. Patrick's Day Roast Beef Dinner were fund raisers and the money went to pay down the debt.

The few people soon became many people talking about the debt being a millstone around their neck, stopping us from moving forward and being the church that God is calling us to be. When it felt like a majority of the congregation were anxious to get out from under the debt we had a campaign.

A few people complained about the specific amount requested in the letter, but by the first week of December we had all the money to eliminate the debt. By December 31st we had $5,500 extra.

When we announced the debt was eliminated everyone was in shock. They talked for weeks about how they never thought it was possible and just couldn't believe it.

In January each person who gave to the campaign was sent a thank you letter and an invitation to another stone lunch to celebrate. At that luncheon we had dessert and wine.

We may have talked a lot about money in the three years it took to pay off the debt, but the tone changed from one of hopelessness to one of excitement. And in those three years we developed all our ministry areas and expanded the number of people involved in ministry. We increased the number of members to include many young families.

Since 2008 we have replaced the roof, two furnaces, repaired and resurfaced the parking lot. In 2013 we made the building wheelchair accessible, which required having a ramp built, installation of a lift, renovation to two washrooms, a new outside entrance installed, as well as replacing the existing front doors and a light over the ramp. Yes, we received just under $50,000 from the federal government but total costs for accessibility were just under $120,000.

Our parish continues to grow deeper in faith and to reach out beyond our doors to our neighbours and beyond in many concrete ways.

Submitted by Canon Jean Archbell, Rector, St. Elizabeth's, Burlington and member Generous Culture of Stewardship Vision Team