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Annual Thanksgiving and Renewal

by Michael Ford last modified 27 Jul, 2011 10:13 AM

Why have an annual thanksgiving and renewal?

Before the introduction of the new Gift Aid Scheme in 2000, covenants were the usual channel for regular giving to the church. They relied on contributors renewing covenants every four years and were often accompanied by a Giving or Stewardship Programme. This usually involved considerable work as the four year point approached and organisers prepared for yet another major catch-up campaign to close the gap between income and expenditure that had grown over the four years.   

This practice still continues in many churches. However, others have found that an annual pattern of thanksgiving and renewal helps to encourage the discipline of faithful and regular giving in response to a faithful and generous God. It also provides the opportunity to celebrate a church’s achievements over the past year, share hopes and plans for the future and communicate the financial situation. Giving thanks for the commitment and contributions of church members to the life of their church is also a time for inviting them to review and renew their giving and other support to the church.

What form will it take?

This annual pattern often centres on a Thanksgiving or Commitment Sunday. The main features are typically

  • A service of Celebration and Thanksgiving
  • Teaching on giving and financial awareness
  • Thanking individuals for their current giving
  • An invitation to review and, where possible, increase giving

When should we hold it?

The emphasis is on developing a regular pattern of thanksgiving and commitment. The choice of day, week or month will depend upon local circumstance. Some churches link their Thanksgiving Sunday to their Annual Parochial Church Meeting when they have discussed their plans for the coming year. Others select their patronal festival or link to local events. If you are just beginning to consider marking this annual observance the important thing is to select a date or event which will quickly become part of your church's year.

Are there resources available to help us?

You can get advice and help with planning and preparing materials for your Thanksgiving Sunday from your Mission & Stewardship Advisers:

Diocesan resources to help your church prepare for Thanksgiving Sunday are renewed annually for you to download.

You can find more resources on the Church of England national stewardship website

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