By Fr. Samuel Kedala
Holy Spirit Church in Wantage, New Jersey, Decides to Give a Tithe of All Its Fund- Raising Activity Profits to Charity
After being elevated to the status of a church by His Eminence, Archbishop Peter, of the former Diocese of New York and New Jersey, Holy Spirit Church’s Parish Council decided to return a portion of the gifts given to us by Almighty God. At its first annual meeting as a church, a motion was made to return 10 percent of all fund-raising profits to charities. Our parish community unanimously approved the motion.
The Parish Council meets once a month for its regular meeting. If there have been any fund-raisers during the previous month, the Council members are asked to decide to which charity the tithe will be sent. The Parish Council originally decided to give monies to local charities, (soup kitchens, pro-life pregnancy help centers, local centers serving people with developmental disabilities, etc.). At one meeting, however, the Parish Council received an appeal from the OCA’s SS. Cosmas and Damian Adult Home in Staten Island, New York, and decided to offer its tithe to them that month.
The parishioners of our church are informed at the Annual Parish Meeting of all of the charities that were given aid in the previous year. Parishioners are also informed through the parish bulletins (both e-bulletins and paper). Suggestions of charitable needs are taken from anyone in the parish or anyone who approaches us about a need.
The charities receiving the gifts have been extremely thankful for the help given them. They always send a note of thanksgiving for our donations. SS. Cosmas and Damian (through the efforts of board member, John Korello) even sent our church a very nicely framed account of the donation with pictures of His Beatitude, Metropolitan Herman, receiving the gift.
There is also money available for individuals in need. They do not have to be members of our community. There is a Parish Discretionary Account, which is administered by the Rector. If more money is needed to replenish the account, donations are solicited.
Holy Spirit Church has been blessed in return in many ways. The morale of the community and of the Parish Council has been elevated. My advice to all parishes contemplating greater charitable giving is: Do not hesitate. Have faith that our loving Lord will not allow us to fall but will raise us up and increase our blessings.
Fr. Samuel Kedala is pastor of Holy Spirit Church, Wantage, NJ.