money-changers in the temple

flower pot count

In Dunoon, yesterday was both Pentecost and Flower Pot Sunday. The Flower Pots began last year as part of The Growing Season. Attentive readers might remember discussion on the ‘learning’ side of the Growing Season: six weekly challenges relating to prayer, scripture, talking about faith, etc. But in Dunoon, we also played a game with fund-raising.

A couple of years ago at Synod, someone had worked out that if every communicant member of the SEC gave an extra pound a week, ALL of the financial problems of the church would very soon be solved. And then, of course, if people kept giving that extra pound a week, a huge amount of money could be released for mission and ministry. I loved the idea. It was simple, easy to explain, and easy to do. But somehow, as a province we didn’t run with it.

So Dunoon is on a mission to tell the church: it works.

The game was this: last Pentecost I gave everyone a flower pot (blessed Ikea…). Each person was asked to keep the pot in the kitchen and put a pound in a week. If at any point during the year they genuinely needed that money, they could raid the pot. But if they didn’t, then the pot would go to the church on Pentecost.

I didn’t make much of this through the year, though I often heard others talking about it. On Sunday, the pots came in, and we scattered coins around the altar. So far, we’ve raised £1,128 (if memory serves), and there may be more to come. That’s close to 5% of our annual giving, and it was utterly painless.

And the thing that really cheered the soul? At the end of the morning, several people came up to me and said, ‘can we take the pots away again to use them this year?’

Yes, dear ones. And the Rothesay pots will appear as soon as I can get back to the Swedish Shrine for supplies.

Today’s favourite quote? On a totally different subject:
‘I was talking to (my daughter’s boy-friend) about Amos last night, and…’

9 thoughts on “money-changers in the temple”

  1. It’s a good idea.

    Tell me, did the title of the Growing summer come from the beloved Noel Streatfeild book?

  2. I now see it is growing season – you know I’d mentally changed it to growing summer. I guess I’ve answered my own question.

  3. Its a good idea… I have seen it done with jam jars where people have been challenged to put every one and two pence piece they come accross in…

  4. We’ve been running a similar scheme using smartie tubes.
    You collect a smartie tube from church, eat the smarties, drop 20p coins in as and when they become available, and bring the tube back when it’s full.

    It’s less organised than your approach (no fixed rate for dropping the coins it), but there is the incentive of collecting a full tube of smarties each time you hand in the old one.


  5. I think where the flower pots score is that they are aimed at a specific thing – if we all gave a pound more it would solve a problem. The shortfall is, nation wide, just that small. And if desperate, you can take it out. For me that would be very reassuring.

  6. Also, it limits the give. If you give a pound a week, that is your share of getting the SEC out of trouble. That is what is needed, and you have done what is needed. You can allow yourself to be rewarded by a warm glow. (This building in of reward is Kimberly’s especial gift – one of her especial gifts. I name it to enable it.)

  7. The building in of reward sounds remarkably Calvinistic. Is that really what I do?

    That reminds me: I still haven’t awarded gold stars… Will do so within the next 24 hours.

  8. Did you not know you did it? I thought it was remarkable Catholic, really. Calvinists don’t need or get a reward, because it is all ordained:

    There was a young man who said: ‘Damn!
    It appears to me that I am
    Just a being that moves
    In predestinate grooves
    I’m not even a bus, I’m a tram!’

    Catholics get a reward because grace enables action which is not inevitable.

    You have a particular gift for making people feel good, and you set up tasks which in some way have a beginning, a middle and an end. When people get to the end, they can look back and say: ‘See, I did it!’ It appears that the task is so structured as to offer this pay off, which is in a large part why they are so well liked and readily undertaken. The effort has to be made (which is in part why I so approve, cf R. Stark) but it tends to be a finite effort and the rewards tend to be built in, yes. Where that fails, you offer gold stars.

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