Magazine article Anglican Journal

How Should We Say 'Thank You'?

Magazine article Anglican Journal

How Should We Say 'Thank You'?

Article excerpt

BOTH THE Anglican Journal and the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund had record years in their fundraising in 2005 (see Record year for Journal Appeal, March issue, and the p. 1 story in this issue, Record giving to PWRDF in 'year of disaster').

When the church is competing with thousands of other charitable organizations, this is a tremendous achievement and a testament to the generosity of Anglicans who value their church's work.

As one of those involved in this work, I can attest that fundraising is a tricky thing in the religious world. For too many people, it seems, well, unseemly to ask for money for the church. There is a natural awkwardness about asking. The primate, Archbishop Andrew Hutchison tells a story from his days as a priest, ministering to a parishioner who was dying. When the man died, it emerged that he had left his money to various charities--the symphony, the museum, the hospital--but the church was not among them. No one, including the priest, had ever asked. Some clergy even ask to be kept ignorant of individuals' church givings so they are not tempted to treatgenerous members or those of modest means differently.

The church is notoriously conflicted about fundraising, the lifeblood of so many of our worthwhile programs and projects. We know the value of our work in terms of the social good it does, but some of us tend to blanch when asked to put a dollar figure to it. (Of course, many of us who do work for the church espouse Christ's teaching, "Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven" [Matt. 5:12], so no wonder we are puzzled.)

Donors, too, can feel a similar conflict in their giving. The Bible instructs us that we must not serve t-wo masters and, "Keep your life free from the love of money, and be content with what you have." Then, there was the widow who gave the two smallest coins to the church; her action did not impress the disciples, but Christ pointed out that her gift was more valuable than anyone's, because it was all she had. We are told when we give money, "let not your left hand see what your right hand does."

But we like to receive that thank you letter from the priest or the church or the charity that accompanies our charitable tax receipt at the end of the year. …

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