Why I Give by Vicki Runnion

Good morning. I’m Vicki Runnion, and I’ve been asked to share with you why I support Highland financially, and I’m happy to do that.

I’ve been a member of Highland for about 6 years. It’s my intention that Highland will be my  last church—and I’ve never said that before about any other church. Obviously, I’m a choir member—my entrance to Highland—and I have been playing in the orchestra for a couple of years. It has been true in the past that choir was my main connection with some congregations, but I came to Highland intending to belong to the whole church. You’ve allowed me to serve as a deacon, and the deacons allowed me to serve as chair. And I’ve served on the Personnel Ministry Group—one of the groups that involves close encounters with the nitty-gritty of the business and financial aspects of the church.

I grew up in church. My parents set examples of faithful, consistent giving, and I absorbed that expectation without serious questions until I finished college and began to set my own budget and pay my own bills. There were some years of somewhat token giving, and some years of struggling with the issue of pledging because of feeling uncertain that I would be able to fulfill that pledge. It was the experience of being a manager, both as a volunteer and as an employee, and realizing that all budgets are based on history, values, thoughtful consideration of probable expenses on the near-horizon, hopefully a sense of direction for the farther-future, and best-guesses about what income may be, that convinced me of the importance of pledging. There are never certainties. But having some idea of what income can be reasonably expected is crucial to the process of faithful planning and monitoring and paying bills for the well-being and continuity of the organization—be that a community service group, a hospice, or a church. And so, I pledge. I share my intention, my commitment.

There’s a hymn that begins “Because I have been given much, I too must give.”  That word “must”—it’s a strong one, and it can imply someone’s power over another. But for me, it has come to mean something that I feel inwardly compelled to do. My heart, my values, my commitments, my relationships, my grappling with the concept of privilege, and, frankly, the blessings I receive from you—all of them cause me to feel I mustgladly—do what I can to support and further the church’s presence and ministry.

Simply put, I want Highland to be here, and to be who we are, for the long haul. As a church, we try to live out our belief that everyone matters, and that what we do matters. Singing in the choir, teaching children, the work of ministry groups, planting flowers, unstopping toilets, paying utility bills, hosting weddings and funerals, thoughtful challenging sermons, supporting the lives and families of our devoted and gifted staff—it all adds up. And that is true of our financial support, and our communication through pledging what we expect that support to be. Our pledges are a kind of love letter to this beloved community. Even small faithful gifts add up—to being the church. To being Highland.