By Anne Marie Amacher
Giving electronically can be beneficial for the donor and recipient. But at Mass, not having something to show for that donation may seem a bit awkward when the collection basket comes by.
After discussing the issue for some time, the Stewardship Committee for the Diocese of Davenport has created a stewardship card that people who give electronically can place in the collection basket each week.
Dan Ebener, director of stewardship and parish planning for the diocese, said the stewardship card was developed after discussion at various meetings. “We wanted to be able to offer something for people to pick up in the back of church to put in the basket at collection time. The ushers (or money collectors) could put the cards back after Mass.”
When talking about the subject of giving electronically, some people have said they felt they are being stared at during Mass for not “donating or giving” to their parish each week. But in reality these parishioners are giving to their parish by having their banking account debited.
The committee worked on the wording and design of the stewardship card over time, Ebener said. The final design is available to parishes that wish to print the stewardship giving cards. “It gives electronic givers an opportunity to have full participation in giving at church.”
One electronic donor is Craig Fenton of Ss. John & Paul Parish in Burlington. He has been giving electronically for two years and plans to use the stewardship card each week.
He encourages parishioners to give electronically using the tithing approach to giving back to God.
“We do not pick and choose what to give based on what is left in our bank account on Sunday morning or if we believe the parish or diocese is doing what we believe they should be doing. We follow as close as we can our parish’s recommended gifting model of 7 percent to our local parish, 1 percent to the Annual Diocesan Appeal and 2 percent to other causes that follow Church principles for the use of these gifts.”
He said it is easier to budget this when it becomes part of the household budget and not “what’s left after all the other bills are paid.”
The donation comes out of the family’s account that is set up with the parish. The parish benefits too, Fenton says. The parish knows a set amount is going to come in each month from those who give electronically. And vacations and weather won’t interfere with contributions.
“Seven years ago our pastor (at the time), Msgr. John Hyland, offered the members of Ss. John & Paul Parish a money-back guarantee if we would adopt a tithing philosophy. Since beginning tithing, our household faith in the Lord has grown and electronic gifting has made this a simple part of our improving monthly household budget,” Fenton said.