One way that we worship God and participate in the life of the congregation is by donating money for the work of the church, both in our local community and in the wider world. We want you to understand the various ways that these donations are accounted for and used, so that you can make informed as well as faithful decisions about your contributions.
Estimate of Giving
Each year in the autumn, the Stewardship Committee asks members and friends to make an estimate of giving to our church. This consists of two parts: an amount for Local Operations and an amount for Our Church’s Wider Mission (OCWM).
Local Operations: Our gifts for local expenses pay for our program and building here in Northfield. These costs include salaries and benefits for our staff members, utilities and upkeep of our historic building, equipment and supplies for the church office, materials and supplies for Faith Formation classes and other educational programs, and the like. In short, they allow us to operate and provide the programs and sanctuary of a robust, active faith community. The annual church budget for the coming year depends on the total amount pledged for Local Operations.
Our Church’s Wider Mission: Our gifts each year for OCWM goes to support a variety of programs beyond our local church. Ten percent of the monies pledged are retained and are distributed by our own Service and Social Responsibility committee in support of social programs in Rice County and the Twin Cities. Ninety percent of the OCWM funds are passed on to the state UCC conference and the national UCC office. Roughly two-thirds (of the remaining 90% pledged to OCWM) go to support the outreach and ministry programs, staff, and operational costs of the Minnesota Conference. The balance of the funds – one third – support the global mission programs of The United Church of Christ and the staff and programs of the national UCC office. OCWM forms the basic operational support for the state and national UCC organization.
Each person decides how much to give to Local Operations and how much to OCWM; the total of these is your annual estimate of giving of financial support. If at any time during the year your financial situation changes, you are free to change your estimate of giving.
Special Giving Opportunities
There are also five special giving opportunities each year that are not part of our annual pledge.
Food Shelf: One month a year (usually March) we collect donations of food and monies to support the local Food Shelf in Northfield. In addition, there are boxes at the south entrance for food items to be donated.
One Great Hour of Sharing: Another significant mission program is One Great Hour of Sharing. This national UCC program provides disaster relief worldwide. The OGHS offering is usually in late April or early May each year.
Strengthen the Church: Each summer, to celebrate our congregation’s anniversary, we make contributions to the UCC’s national Strengthen the Church Offering. These funds are used for new church starts, and to strengthen the vitality of UCC churches throughout the country.
Neighbors in Need: One Sunday in the fall each year is designated for the NIN offering, which directly supports the UCC’s Neighbors in Need program. This national offering supports the Council for American Indian Ministries here in Minnesota and a variety of other UCC ministries in the US including hunger action, youth empowerment, advocacy, and health and wellness programs.
Christmas Offering: Each year the Christmas offering is divided between the program that supports the pensions and medical funds of retired clergy and their families and one or two programs chosen by our own Service and Social Responsibility committee.
Key Points about Estimate of Giving and Special Giving
- All these programs represent ways we can act out our commitment as stewards and as members of a community of God.
- Each program supports one or more facets of our church’s mission: the costs of our local church, the basic costs of operating a state and national church organization, specific mission programs to benefit others within the United States and throughout the world.
- The annual estimate of giving opportunity each fall is for local operations and OCWM. Only donations for these two programs count toward your total annual pledge.
- Other programs such as Neighbors in Need, One Great Hour of Sharing, Strengthen the Church and the Christmas Offering are additional offerings to support those specific programs.
Your Giving Statement
The church keeps careful records for each giver and mails a statement of giving quarterly. The Giving Statement includes:
- The amounts you estimated you would give for Local Operations and OCWM
- The amounts you have actually given to date towards those commitments. Unless you specify otherwise, each contribution towards your pledge will be allocated to Local Operations and OCWM in the proportions you indicated in your pledge
- Any donations you have made to special offerings
For statements to be accurate, we need your help:
- If you write a check, please use the memo line to tell us how to record your donation: regular offering or a specific special offering
- If you give cash, please put it in an envelope with your name on it (we do not provide weekly offering envelopes)
- You may present your donations on Sunday morning during worship, or mail them to the church office at any time, or use Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT).
Memorial and Celebration Giving
A Memorial gift is a way of honoring special individuals who have touched our lives in unique ways — relatives, friends, teachers, mentors.
Celebrations of special occasions are a meaningful time to express gratitude for the birth of a child, Baptism, Confirmation, Marriage, recovery from a serious illness, or retirement.
One meaningful way to honor those individuals or to celebrate those occasions is through a special gift to the First United Church of Christ of Northfield’s Memorials and Special Gifts Fund. Such gifts commemorate exceptional people and events by a lasting investment in the mission of this congregation. More information about special gifts is available from the minister(s).
Another way of supporting the work of the congregation is to make provision for the church in your estate planning. You can specify a particular use for your bequest, or leave it undesignated, to be used by the church as it is most needed. Please contact the Minister(s) for more information about planned gifts.