The Finance Team has developed the following giving statement based on our belief that our Congregation needs to support the mission of the First Reformed Church:

“We believe that we are all stewards and caretakers of God’s gifts and riches here on earth. We affirm that these gifts and talents need to be wisely spent, so that we may invest our treasure in heaven.

In order to pursue God’s plan at the First Reformed Church, we must forgo our consuming desire to put our cares and worries first. We pledge to adjust our focus to be less on material possessions and more on how to serve God with our treasures. We know and believe God will reward our faithful hearts, as only His kingdom is worthy of our ultimate concern. Thus with our weekly tithe, we will invest our financial resources and personal possessions in heaven, by furthering God’s work here on earth.”

Creative Ways to Give

Alternative stewardship ideas. Five ways you can make a gift to a church from your accumulated assets. Some of our members are already taking advantage of these ideas.

Gifts of Life Insurance:
If you have a policy that you no longer need to protect your family, giving the policy to your church may provide you with significant tax advantages, as well as a future cash flow for the church.

Gifts of Stocks and Bonds:
If you give stocks or bonds to the church, that are worth more than when you acquired them, you can avoid capital gains taxes on the increase in value. In addition, if you itemize deductions, you can deduct the value of the gift on your taxes. Note: it is vital that you give the stocks or bonds to the church rather than selling them first and giving the proceeds to the church. On the other hand, if the stocks or bonds are worth less than when you acquired them, you should sell them first and give the proceeds to the church. That way you can write off the loss to offset your income. (Be aware that U.S. Savings Bonds cannot be given away during the lifetime of the owner.)

Gifts from an Individual Retirement Account:
The 2009 tax code allowed people over age of 70 ½ to transfer up to $100,000 directly from their IRA to the church without this amount being considered income. It is very important that this gift follow the process prescribed by the IRS. The RCA denomination office can assist you with this matter.

Gifts of Real Estate:
When giving Real estate to the church, consider a “split sale”, deeding an undivided percentage interest to the church prior to the sale. This will avoid capital gains taxes on that portion of the sale. You may also receive a charitable deduction for up to 30% of adjusted gross income with a five-year carryover for any excess.

Gifts of Personal Property:
Antiques, paintings, jewelry and automobiles are a few examples of personal property that you can give to the church. Various tax benefits may apply.

In all cases it’s best to seek advice from your tax attorney or financial advisor.

2016 Offering Packet

As we embark upon a new year, take a moment to review your 2015 giving statement and ask yourself, “Have I left any giving opportunities on the table?” Your envelope packet offers many opportunities to give to our Church. Hope-fully, your 2015 statement reflects many of those opportunities. If not, let me take a moment and walk you through some of the giving options available aside from your weekly tithe. Initial Offering: This can be a $3-5 donation to cover the costs of printing and, in some cases, mailing out your envelopes.

Classical Assessment: There are 4 envelopes disbursed throughout your packet to help pay your Classical Assessment in an optional quarterly method. This year each member will be assessed $120 (which can be paid quarterly at $30.00 if needed). This means if your family contains two members, the Church will be assessed $240.  Likewise, a family of four members is assessed $480.  First Reformed will pay close to $12,600 to cover our Church’s assessment for 2015. The good news is your Classical Assessment comes with a “money-back-guarantee”. That’s because we were awarded a $25,000 Grant from our Classis/Synod, which will be paid out over a three year period to replace our heating boiler. A portion of your Assessment dollars will flow back to First Reformed thru this Grant. We are already feeling the warmth of those $dollars$ flow-ing into our new heating system. Please make every attempt to pay your portion, or monies will have to be diverted to cover this expense. Goodwill Offering: Once again we have a monthly envelope dedicated to various Benevolent/Goodwill causes selected by the Mission Team. Last year we projected taking in $3,500 thru this offering. For whatever reason, we only took in half of what we expected. We count on your Goodwill offerings to fund each Cause/Organization for that month, which in the past have included: the Food Pantry, Hearts for Hungary, etc. If no monies are received, then no monies go out. Your generosity will help us support these causes/organizations. Easter/Christmas Flowers: All monies received go directly to the purchase of your selected flowers. The Church does not profit in the purchase of these flowers. Any costs for flowers ordered and not paid for, are borne by the Church. Christmas Eve: This envelope can be used by those attending either service or can be used to give an extra gift during the Christmas season. Building Fund: We have been fortunate in the past to receive funds designated to help with building maintenance. We all know, old buildings don’t take care of themselves. Our Property Team can always use a gift for needed repairs or upcoming projects. This envelope will allow the property team to repair or replace windows, doors, sidewalks, paint a room, or any project deemed necessary.

I hope these insights will enable you to more effectively utilize the offering envelopes you received in your packet. If you didn’t receive a packet and would like to have one, please let us know, or call the Church Office and we will gladly assist you with your journey to a heartfelt giving of your tithes and offerings.

Team Contacts: David Blasch & Susan Kennedy