Catherine O'Shea, member for two years: I grew up in a church where my parents gave, so I was used to seeing them put something in the offering each week. When I was old enough to earn an allowance, I was expected to give 10% to the church. I drifted in and out of church through college and grad school, and moved around a bit. But when my husband and I landed in Houston, we found a wonderful Presbyterian Church where we really connected. When it was time to pledge, we found that there were a lot of good reasons to give: sharing our blessings, sharing our gifts, reaching out into the community, and doing what we can for those in need. When we moved back to Cincinnati three years ago, we went in search of a church and found Knox was a perfect fit for us. We love it here and are always looking for new ways to get involved. Pledging is just part of our commitment to this faith community.
Jeff Schlaudecker, Knox member for two years: When I was 18 and headed for college, my grandfather wrote me a letter. In this hearfelt letter, he told me many stories about his life, and gave me advice on studying, picking a career, picking a spouse, and also advice on giving financially. He told me about how, even in times of financial stress and uncertainty, he and my grandmother maintained a commitment to give away 10% of their income to the mission of the church and those less fortunate. In addition to church giving, my grandpa gave generously to his alma maters and other local schools, always towards scholarships for disadvantaged minorities.
Well, income earning was eight years away, but once medical school was finished, Liz and I were able to begin an incredibly rewarding life journey of financial generosity, moved by C.S. Lewis’s words on “how much to give.” Lewis suggests that if there are things in life that you aren’t able to do because of giving, then perhaps you aren’t giving enough. As we look back on our first 15 years of financial giving, we both know we have made an impact on the lives of others in our community. This has come at a cost, perhaps, of fancy cars or fancier vacations, but I have never once felt limited by our financial giving. In fact, I have felt freed!
Reflecting back on my grandfather’s advice, he told me that my giving had to be the first checks I wrote each month. Now, while instead of writing checks we have automated giving and Knox and to the other groups we believe are changing the world, I do believe it has helped to do these things at the beginning of the month. College plans, home repairs, rainy day funds, retirement: these are bottomless buckets that might never be satiated. My grandpa told me to give first, and then save, finally living off what was left. His advice is as true today as it was in 1995.
Cindy Tripp, Knox Member since 1989: I joined Knox when I was in my 20s and from day one I made a pledge gift, small though it was at the time. Each year I have tried to increase that pledge amount and view it as the minimum I give Knox, trying to do more if I can. In addition to pledging money, I have at times pledged my time, serving as a Deacon, Sunday school teacher, Elder, volunteer. When I make these commitments it reminds me how fortunate I am and how good it feels to share my abundance with others. Knox is a blessing to me and my family and I like fueling that blessing so others may also benefit. Through my planning, I enable Knox to plan to make as big an impact as it can.”
Matt Burkart, Knox member since 2011: First visiting Knox in 2010, I was “blown away by the music.” Then I found friendly people in the pews and enjoyed the sermons. It was a good fit and I joined. Since then, by being part of Mission Possible and Third Church, I have created bonds through giving of my time and talent.
At Knox, I feel challenged to be a steward of my talents, gifts, and treasures in a way that I wasn’t in earlier church experiences. “It’s more than going through the motions of passing the plate”. I have served as a deacon, helped with communion, is a regular usher, and active in adult education.
Pledging came next. Everybody doing a little, will make it work. That’s what makes cool things happen at Knox.
Barry Cors, member for 10 years: I am over 70-1/2 years old and am familiar with the Internal Revenue Code. This knowledge has enabled Audrey and me to make larger annual gifts to Knox Church, and other charities, than we might otherwise. This is a win, win. Knox gets more, we are pleased and there’s not the pain of writing a check from after tax dollars.
Simplistically, here’s how it works. The value of your IRA on December 31 determines the Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) you must take in the following year. If a person does not need this income for living expenses, all or part of the RMD, up to $100,000 per year, can be used for gifts to qualifying charities, such as Knox Church. Should the RMD be less than the amount of the desired gift, the gift distribution can be increased up to $100,000 from the principle of the IRA. The rule of thumb that Audrey and I follow is this, if the charitable gift is $500 or more, it will be from our IRAs rather than from after tax dollars in our checking account. Why not use such funds, that would otherwise be taxed at the highest rates, for an increased 2018 gift to Knox for the operating budget and outreach?
To affect such a gift, contact your fund custodian and/or your financial advisor.
Scott Tieke, member for six months...or 50 years! I first joined Knox Church in 1967, and then my work with P&G took me to Germany, back to Cincinnati(and back to Knox), to Mexico, and eventually back to Cincinnati. In the spring of 2017, my wife and I rejoined Knox for the third time, exactly 50 years after we first became members. Why do I pledge? If you believe in Christian principles, you know you are called to help others if within your capability. Stewardship is a combination of monetary support and direct volunteer involvement; to live a Christian life, you must decide how much money and how much time you can give to the church—for me, both gifts are just part of the fabric of being a Christian.
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