It’s often said that a budget is a moral document. Whether we are talking about the budget for a small family or a multinational corporation, how money is spent says a lot about the values, priorities and dreams held by the decision-makers in the group. This is especially true for churches.

Last Sunday, over one hundred members at St. Mark’s approved a General and Benevolence budget for 2013 of $681,000. At the same time, we re-affirmed our commitment to fully support our Mortgage Fund that will require contributions of $229,387 in 2013 to meet our monthly mortgage payments. These funds provide the means for us to support an exceptional staff,  promote ministry in the areas of peace and justice, outreach, congregational care, worship and music, faith formation for all ages and stewardship and pay the mortgage on our beautiful building.  This budget also ensures that we share the bounty of our treasures with those less fortunate through the various benevolences or charities that we support.

As you can see in our 2012 spending–shown in in the chart below– St. Mark’s is a very generous congregation and together, we are making a big difference in the lives of individuals and worthy organizations doing the work of the gospel. Throughout the year, we will be highlighting some of these people and organizations to help us all appreciate how our giving to others from what we have received is having a positive impact locally and across the world.

Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matt. 6:21

Our 2013 budget clearly demonstrates that our heart is with those in need and we pledge to keep our charitable giving strong as part of our commitment to being good stewards of all that we receive.

How Money was Spent in 2012

  GIVING             “BENEVOLENCE”
General and Benevolence Fund $675,098 $63,692 *
Mortgage Fund   238,091  
Mexico Mission     20,540   20,540
Women of St. Mark’s     15,644      7,500
Congregational meals     11,848  
 Hunger Basket       9,810      9,810
Fair Trade Support       5,301  
Memorials       3,325  
ELCA World Hunger       1,905      1,905
Youth Music Scholarships       1,815  
Nativity House Meals       1,800      1,800
Gifts of Hope       1,665      1,665
Summer Arts Camp       1,450
Other designated benevolence**       3,168      3,168
Other Misc. giving***       2,685  
TOTAL Congregational Giving      $994,165 $110.080  = 11%
Russ & Ann Hillman Bequest       $191,792  

Total Gifts for 2012                                  $1,185,957                                                   $110,080 = 9.3%

*  A complete list of all the agencies that receive funding from this total is listed on the full budget report and is available through the church office

**Other designated benevolence includes Christmas Baskets, Global Missions, Habitat for Humanity, Lutheran World Relief, Associated Ministries, Sunday School Offerings and Fish Food Bank

*** Other miscellaneous giving includes gifts to the following funds: Future Leaders, Sound System, organ, property improvement, pastoral emergency and Gay/Straight Alliance