ELMSDALE PASTORAL CHARGE,
ELMSDALE, NOVA SCOTIA
• Location: Riverview United (suburban
community) and Nine Mile River United
(a small, country church.)
• 200 members in the charge
• The people of Riverview Pastoral Charge
gave $7,637 to Mission & Service in 2016.
Nobody could remember when therehad last beenany sort of stewardship program at Elmsdale Pastoral Charge. Riverview United (one of two churches in
the charge) had a committee of stewards who looked after
fundraising, but a stewardship team didn’t exist. That didn’t
stop us from launching the Salt and Light congregation giving
program last year.
I have a long-term interest and involvement in congregational stewardship, and as the intentional interim minister at the charge it’s my role to help congregations review
how they operate in all areas, including their finances. Two
people volunteered to coordinate the Salt and Light program
( stewardshiptoolkit.ca/saltandlight2016) with my input. We
appreciated the quick start guide in the first few pages of
program, and decided on two goals: to find a way to reach
out to everybody on our congregational list; and to ask for a
10 percent increase in givings.
We designed worship services using the resources in the
stewardship package. I adapted some of the sermons and
reflections to better fit our context, and used the hymn that
was written for the program. We also adapted one of the let-
ters from Salt and Light, created a narrative budget, an esti-
mate of givings form, and provided an envelope for people to
return their gifts in. In addition, we invited people to share
their “Why I Give” stories with the congregation during the
The effort wasn’t without resistance in surprising places.
Our envelope secretary didn’t want to share the previous
year’s financial information with the stewardship team, and
key leaders who are generous in all ways did not want to
make a commitment on paper.
Responses trickled in slowly so the stewardship team followed up with phone calls and face to face conversations at
coffee time on Sundays. Overall, we had a 50 percent response
rate. The good news is the amount pledged among those who
responded was up 23 percent over the previous year. Even if
everybody else who supports our church doesn’t increase their
offering, we are still looking at an increase of approximately 10
percent in local givings for 2017. I call that a win.
The Rev. Catherine MacDonald is the interim minister at
Riverview Pastoral Charge in Elmsdale, Nova Scotia.
Overcoming obstacles to
Two people help each other hone their “Why I Give” messages.