Churches invited to take part in a National Giving Day
Published on 9 August 2021
Congregations across the Church of Scotland are invited to take part in a National Giving Day initiative this autumn. The 2021 General Assembly agreed to encourage congregations to take part in the one-off initiative on a day of their choice between 5 September and 31 October.
The aim of National Giving Day is to offer congregations an opportunity to reflect deeply on God's loving presence with us during these challenging times and to express our appreciation and gratitude through giving generously ourselves. Gifts can take many forms and can include offerings of time and effort shared within congregations as well as monetary gifts that can be used for an agreed purpose.
Congregations can use the money they raise to boost their own funds and support a renewed sense of mission or they can direct it towards projects at home or overseas, provided that it will be used in line with the charitable objectives of the Church. Funds raised on the designated giving day will not be included in a congregation's income when it is assessed for Ministries and Mission contributions.
Now thank we all our God
Lord Wallace, Moderator of the General Assembly is encouraging congregations to find inspiration in the story of Martin Rinkart, who wrote the popular hymn, Now thank we all our God.
"Martin Rinkart was a 17th century Lutheran pastor in the Saxony town of Eilenburg during the Thirty Years War," he said. "Not only was the town besieged but it suffered famine, pestilence and plague. It's said that at one point Rinkart was conducting 40 to 50 funerals a day. He lived, but his wife died and yet he wrote for his family a hymn of thanksgiving which 400 years later we continue to sing: Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices...
"And when we reflect what we've been through during the last 15 months of pandemic it's worth bearing in mind Rinkart's call for us to give thanks.
"It's not always been easy. It has been difficult times - particularly for those who have lost loved ones or have suffered illness. Many people are still anxious about the future of their jobs, about lost education for their children or their grandchildren. Months of lockdown and closed churches have also given rise to their own problems. Many people have missed the fellowship of worship.
"I know as a member of Saint Magnus Cathedral choir just how much I have missed that regular opportunity to give praise to God- and let's not put too fine a point on it, it's also meant that there hasn't been the weekly offering and the churches have also lost income through not being able to host fundraising events or not being able to get in rents for the lets of the hall.
"Yet there's still so much to give thanks for: thanks for the work and service of NHS staff and those in the care sector; thanks for those whose ingenuity has produced and distributed vaccines in a remarkably short period of time; and within the church thanks for those whose digital and technical skills have made online services possible for those who previously had been physically unable to attend; and thanks too for the work of congregations – supporting food banks, being able to run errands for the vulnerable who are unable to get out, or just that simple telephone call to someone who was lonely.
"Through National Giving Day we have an opportunity to give thanks in a very real and tangible way. Churches can designate a Sunday in September or October for a special thanksgiving service and offering. The sum raised can be used by the congregation itself without assessment as ministries and mission income, or given to support a worthy project at home or overseas.
"Please give generously. Please give thanks for the wondrous things God has done and for his countless gifts of love which still are ours today.
To help congregations, the National Giving Day Planning Group has gathered together a range of worship resources and is keen to support congregations in any way they can. Reflections, prayers and worship ideas can be found in the Weekly Worship section of the Church of Scotland website for use on the day of the congregation's choosing.
When posting about your Giving Day plans on social media please tag @churchscotland and use the hashtags #GivingDay and #thisischurch.
The stewardship team is also on hand to offer support to churches with National Giving Day or any other stewardship matters including digital giving, personal giving, Gift Aid, funding and fundraising.
The group would welcome hearing about your congregation's plans to mark this event. Send your emails to firstname.lastname@example.org.