Intentional Giving

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Download a PDF of the card above to send with your gift
November 15, 2022
They urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s

people. 5 And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all
to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.
” 2 Corinthians 8:4-5 (NIV)

Dear Church Family,

If you have gotten the central themes of this 4-part Church Chirp, we are in exciting times in the life of our church; we are being called, or challenged, by God to serve others; we are looking at ways to honor God’s call and sustain our church and its missions; we are being asked to be generous in uncertain times. Although the bible tells us to reserve the first 10% of our earnings for doing the work of God, we are not limited to that percentage. As you consider your giving, through the end of this year as well as next year, ask yourself:

How can I support my church, its missions and its legacy?

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth urging them to display the generosity of the people in     Macedonia. He recognized the Macedonians for pleading for the privilege to serve and how they exceeded expectations. We really need to know what is expected of us before we can actually exceed expectations. So, we are unashamedly asking for everyone to consider how they can help increase our intentional giving in the next year by approximately $31,000.

If each of our current giving families or individuals upped their intentional giving by:

  • Just $7.50 more each week next year, $25,000 less would be withdrawn from Endowments;
  • At $15.00 each week, an additional $50,000 would offset a projected 2023 deficit;
  • At $22.50 more each week, well just think of what missions we could accomplish.

As we get new members and as people who were not able to contribute this year can begin to make regular contributions, only heaven knows the limits as we exceed our expectations.

How do I go forward with my support?

As you consider your Intentional Giving for next year, talk about it with others in your family and your friends in church. Stretch your contributions as you feel called to do. Remember that this is considered an estimate of giving. As we look forward to a new year, a new minister and many new opportunities to serve, be courageous, be generous and trust that God will be here for us no matter how the year shapes up. Pick up a 2023 Intentional Giving card in the church, print from our website or request one by calling the Church Office. If you have any questions, please let me know.

Yours in Christian Love,

Jim Bahre, Your fellow traveler in Christ

Rev. Dr. David Cleaver-Bartholomew is the Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations for the SNEUCC.


November 13, 2022

In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity.    2 Corinthians 8:2 (NIV)

Dear Church Family,

Rev. David Cleaver-Bartholomew noted that there is “joy in financially participating in making God’s love and justice real and expanding and extending the Kin-dom of God”. It may sound trite, but I believe, the more I give the more I receive, not necessarily in kind but, in more ways by which we are fulfilled. As you consider your 2023 contributions, ask yourself:

How can I be generous in uncertain times?

In his blog, Living More Deeply Into Who We Were Created To Be, the Rev. Dr. David Cleaver-Bartholomew* noted that the bible tells us we are created in God’s image. “As bearers of God’s image, we carry within us God’s characteristics. Hence, generosity is an inherent quality in humans. It is in our divine DNA as it comes into us from our divine Parent. We are created to be generous!”

Generosity takes courage. God spoke to us in the Old Testament through Moses. In Deuteronomy, God’s laws were summarized by Moses in a sermon he delivered before the Israelites entered the Promised Land. Moses explained that, while observing the three festivals of: Unleavened Bread, Weeks and Tabernacles, everyone should give in proportion to what they have received:

Each of you must bring a gift in proportion to the way the Lord your God has blessed you.            Deuteronomy 16:17  (NIV)

Given the current state of our economy, with everything from gasoline, heating oil, electricity, healthcare and food climbing up and up, it can be uncomfortable or even daunting to consider your intentional giving without knowing what will happen next year. The question you are probably asking yourself is:

How much should I give?

The call for us to live our faith is actually God challenging us and giving us an opportunity to serve others. Jesus instructs us to be generous in our giving. Not everyone’s capability is the same but if generosity is an inherited characteristic from God, we feel the pull or need to give. We may not be able to all give the same amount, but we can give proportionally to our means.

Jesus took many opportunities to teach his disciples through stories and observations. One such observation is recounted by Mark, The Widow’s Offering.

41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts.

42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.”        Mark 12:41-44 (NIV)

Please reflect on this example as you consider next year’s intentional giving.

Yours in Christian Love,

Jim Bahre, On behalf of the Finance Committee

Rev. Dr. David Cleaver-Bartholomew is the Director of Stewardship and Donor Relations
for the SNEUCC


November 11, 2022
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”     Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
Dear Church Family,

In the past, as was the tradition of most New England congregations, we really hadn’t felt comfortable asking our members to up their annual giving by a particular percentage, let alone a percentage in the double digits. But, as discussed during our monthly Sunday Open Meetings, we are a smaller congregation and we are called upon to be financially sustaining members to share our time, talents and treasure. As you consider your 2023 intentional giving, ask yourself:

How has my church changed my life?

During the past several years, through our congregation’s discernment process and in monthly conversations after Sunday services, many people offered their testimony as to what our church means to them and how it changed, enhanced and continues to enrich their lives. Again, reflect on what our church and our congregation mean to you.

How has my church changed the lives of others?

We also witness how our church’s mission work changed people’s lives locally through support of Bolton Residents Assistance and Bolton Food Pantry, support of the Manchester Area Conference of Churches (MACC). We helped to change people’s lives outside of the area by supporting the hawkwing ministries for the benefit of those on the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation in South Dakota as well as disaster relief efforts in Florida and Texas. As a congregation, our support reached out globally through One Great Hour of Sharing, providing hope in the form of donations towards distributing blankets during disasters and tools for sustaining life and livelihood, and through supporting Church World Services, sending much needed relief for the distress caused by oppression such as the war on Ukraine.   

How will I continue to answer God’s Call?

I think that God wants us to live our faith. Our BCC website states: The mission of Bolton Congregational Church UCC is to reveal the living body of Christ in our world, today.  As we are fed by the uplifting power of God’s Spirit and by our compassionate support of one another, we become energized to share with others the abundance of love, the resources, and the happiness with which God has blessed us.

I believe that in living and striving to fulfill that mission statement, we are inspired to seek new ways for supporting the things we value as a church. We can answer God’s Call by being generous with our time, talents and treasure. In our next Church Chirp on Intentional Giving, we will be challenged to be generous in sustaining our church and its missions.

Yours in Christian Love,

Jim Bahre, On Behalf of the Finance Committee


November 9, 2022

“The vision of the Bolton Congregational Church UCC is to be true to the model and example set by the early church of the apostles, in our own time.”

Dear Church Family,

On behalf of the Finance Committee, I thank you all for your continued financial support over the past year. Looking back, we faced the year with a whole set of things that needed everyone’s support including transitioning from discernment to searching to finding the minister whom God called to us. With God’s love, support and guidance, we did all this and more.

We met unexpected needs, outreach to those inflicted with suffering in Ukraine, and support for those caught up natural disasters occurring around the world while navigating the complications of an economic downturn which affected investments. We followed God’s lead through all these things.

Maybe, the unexpected obstacles helped take focus off ourselves and to be open to God’s voice. Maybe they gave us a sense urgency for completing the good work that was already started by strengthening our ministries and missions. In either regard, we see God’s hand both guiding and upholding us as we followed the path along which God has called us.

The call for us to live our faith is actually God challenging us and presenting us opportunities serve. The challenge for our church in the next several years is how to follow God and serve others in the most sustainable way. We currently have deficit to close this year but we are already looking ahead to next year and the exciting opportunities and challenges it will bring. Many people in the congregation have said “if they only knew how much was needed, they would have helped”. Recently we have heard church members challenge each of us to stretch and give more.

It is said the Mission follows money. To help us be sustainable and support our church’s missions, we are challenging everyone to consider upping their estimated intentional giving for 2023 to meet an expected 21% increase in expenses. Of course this does not mean the same amount for each giving family or individual and it does not alleviate the need to take money from our endowments, but it gets us closer to balancing the anticipated 2023 budget.

As you prayerfully consider your next year’s intentional giving, please reflect on our church, what it means to you and how we can sustain it as a beacon of God’s Light in our community and around the world. Look for the upcoming Church Chirp regarding 2023 Intentional Giving for more information and questions to ask yourself as you consider your estimate of giving:

Yours in Christian Love,

Jim Bahre, On Behalf of the Finance Committee

Bolton Congregational Church, 228 Bolton Center Road, Bolton, CT 06043