Why does Ascension need donations? Isn’t the church closed during the pandemic?
Although the church building may be closed, we have staff who live on site and others who are working from home and only coming into the office when absolutely necessary. The Church of the Ascension continues to pay the salaries, payroll taxes and health insurance of all who depend on us for their livelihood and their healthcare.
Why would anyone give money to the Church of the Ascension?
People choose to give to the Church of the Ascension for nearly as many reasons as there are people. Among the reasons people might give:
- They may consider Ascension their parish community and agree — “pledge” — to support its mission and ministries. (These people are called “parishioners” in Episcopal churchspeak, by the way.)
- They may love the beauty and majesty of our worship music — featuring one of the premier organs and some of the finest singers in America.
- They may be worshiping with us at one of our Sunday or weekday services, and choose to make a contribution.
- They may avail themselves of our open doors during the early afternoons on weekdays (except during pandemics) and enjoy the peace and reflective quiet of our sanctuary.
- They may appreciate our witness and advocacy on issues that speak to our faith and want to support that work.
- They may live nearby and appreciate our church building and gardens and want to see our presence continue on the corner of Fifth Avenue and Tenth Street in Greenwich Village for many years to come.
- They may not know fully themselves why they give, but they feel moved to make a contribution.
Whatever the reasons, we believe the one reason for giving to Ascension we all have in common is: God has called us to give. We certainly don’t take these gifts for granted and, in fact, we are very grateful!
How can I give?
There are a number of ways to give the Church of the Ascension financial support:
- here on our web site or by visiting abundant.co/ascensionnyc/give
- through an app on your phone (Abundant for Android and Abundant for iOS)
- by electronic payment through your bank
- by check
- by cash
- by bequest
- or even by the transfer of real property, securities and other financial instruments.
Below are some of the most common ways, but please don’t hesitate to contact the parish office (212-254-8620) to ask to speak with one of the clergy, our bookkeeper, the parish administrator, or one of our lay leaders familiar with the financial and legal issues of charitable giving. (Although our parish was founded 90 years before Federal legislation introduced individual income tax deductions for charitable donations, the Church of the Ascension is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization and, unless specifically stated otherwise for special programs or other considerations, all gifts are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.)
How can I best financially support Ascension on an ongoing basis?
By making a pledge to do so. Every year, we ask parishioners to pledge an amount of money to donate to Ascension in support of the parish’s ministry and mission; in addition to giving of our time and our talent to the worshipful, compassionate and joyful life of our parish, giving a portion of our “treasure” back to God by supporting our parish is a recognition of the good gifts we have received, no matter how great or how small: “All things come of thee, O Lord, and of thine own have we given thee.” Use this link to learn more about pledging to support Ascension — and please fill out a pledge card, if you feel moved to join us in God’s work!
How do I give online?
You can give online using this form. If you’re a visitor, welcome…and thank you! Just choose the default “Offering Plate” fund. If you’re a parishioner, you can fulfill your pledge to support the parish by choosing the “Stewardship Pledge” fund. To help pay for the urgent community and pastoral needs our parish tries to meet, choose the “Rector’s Fund.” (If the form does not display correctly, you can also access it by going to abundant.co/ascensionnyc/give.)
When you give, you’ll be given the opportunity to create an account with Abundant, our online donations vendor. While you don’t have to register for an account to give with Abundant, you can register if you plan to give frequently. Registering for an account lets you track your giving history, scheduled gifts, and payment methods. (We will also make every effort to match a donor’s email address with his or her pledge.)
What methods of payment can I use to give online?
Our online form gives you the option to securely enter either credit/debit card information or to provide routing and bank account information for an Automated Clearinghouse (ACH) payment from a checking account.
Additionally, the form will automatically calculate the processing fees the church will incur for whichever method you choose, based on the amount of your gift, and you’ll have the option to cover those, as well. The processing fees are calculated at 2.85% for credit/debit card transactions, and 1.10% for ACH withdrawals.
Can I pay my pledge using this online method?
Absolutely! Use the pulldown list under “Fund” on the form to select “Stewardship Pledge.” You can choose to “give once” (the default) or you can select “give multiple times” to make contributions on a schedule. (And if you need to place an upcoming donation “on hold” or even cancel a repeating series of donations, you can do so if you’ve created an account with Abundant. Use this link to see your “Scheduled Gifts,” or use the pulldown list under your name in the upper right of the form. From there, select the “…” menu to edit, cancel, or place on hold a series of repeating donations.)
I’ve already given my credit card or ACH information to the church to pay my pledge. How do I switch to this method?
Some parishioners have previously provided information for the bookkeeper to make recurring charges to a credit or debit card or to make ACH transactions from a checking account. We encourage you to switch to this new system, which helps automate the whole process, eliminating the need for the bookkeeper to come into the office to input individuals’ account information through the on-site “point-of-sale” equipment we’ve been using for such transactions.
If you had previously submitted your credit/debit card information or authorized regular ACH withdrawals from your bank account and you would like to take advantage of this new method — which gives you greater control over when such charges are made, allows you to select alternate payment methods if you want, and can show you a history of your contributions made through this online giving tool — please send an email to Laurie Ross, our bookkeeper, at firstname.lastname@example.org alerting her to the switch.
I prefer to use my phone. Is there an app I can use?
There is indeed! Abundant for Android and Abundant for iOS will let you create an account and choose the Church of the Ascension as the church you wish to support — just start typing “ASC…” when it asks you to pick a church and “Church of the Ascension” (with our parish office address of 12 W 11th Street in New York City) will show up in the list for you to select it.
Can I text some money to you?
Yes, you can use your phone’s text messaging to speed your way to a donation. If you already have an Abundant account, it’s easy: just text ASCENSIONNYC to the number 73256 — you can even pre-populate the giving form with the amount you want to give, like this:
You’ll receive a text message back with a link to finish filling out the online giving form.
- If you haven’t created an account yet and saved your payment method, we recommend installing the app, as described above. Some phone browsers — particularly Safari on iPhones — have problems accepting credit card information and may return errors when you try to submit them. But once you’ve created an account online or through the app, it should recognize your phone number and already have you signed in and your preferred payment method already selected when you use the texting option.
- T-Mobile disallows texting to “short codes” (such as 73256) for some accounts. If you discover this is the case with your phone, contact T-Mobile and ask to speak to a technical representative to remove the limitation on short codes from your plan.
I just want to write you a check. Do you still accept checks?
Indeed we do! Please make your check payable to “The Church of the Ascension.” If you are contributing as part of your annual stewardship pledge, please write “Stewardship” or “Annual Pledge” in the memo field so that the statements you receive from the church for your own bookkeeping or tax purposes are accurate. Similarly, if you are contributing toward a capital campaign or for another designated purpose, please write the name of the special purpose in the memo field.
Checks can be mailed to:
The Church of the Ascension
Attn: Liz Maxwell, Rector
12 W. 11th Street
New York, NY 10011
I pay my bills online. Can I contribute to Ascension through my online banking site or app?
Probably. Most banks that provide online banking services allow customers to set up recurring transactions. Log into your online banking service and look for the option to “add a payee” or set up a recurring payment or transaction. (The payee would be: The Church of the Ascension, 12 W. 11th St., New York, NY 10011-8695.) If you’ve never used your bank’s online services, contact their support or help desk for assistance.
What about cold, hard cash?
The easiest, most fungible and most immediately available option of all — but not during a pandemic. In less contagious times, however, some parishioners prefer to pay their stewardship pledge by putting their check or cash in the Sunday collection plate. If you wish to pay in cash, but would still like to have statements from the parish office that show your contributions toward your stewardship pledge for each quarter and the year, please put your cash donations in the annual pledge envelopes you can request when you fill out your pledge form. If you do not request pledge envelopes, please put cash offerings in an envelope with your full name written clearly on the outside before placing it in the offering plate for your contributions to be recorded on your statements.
I’d like to remember the Church of the Ascension in my will.
Planned giving encompasses a variety of ways to create a gift to the parish using accumulated resources. Although planned giving usually involves financial or estate planning, it is not reserved for the wealthy. Planned giving is for anyone concerned with the wise use of his or her personal resources and provides the opportunity to make a considered choice about their ultimate disposition. You can find more information about planned giving and the variety of people and means by which these gifts have come to Ascension in our information about planned giving.
How do I give while shopping through Amazon?
If you purchase from Amazon at any time during the year, please login and buy through Amazon Smile to generate a donation to the parish. The AmazonSmile Foundation donates 0.5 percent of the purchase price from your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the nonprofit you choose. Even these small sums can really add up for us. Here’s how to do it.
The question I have isn’t here, or I’m curious about making a donation for a specific purpose, or I’m having difficulty with one of the methods described above.
We’d be happy to help you help us! Just give us a call (212-254-8620) and we’ll try to find the best way we can to help you support the worship, work and witness that’s been going on at Ascension since 1827.
Or you can submit your questions here and we’ll do our best to answer them.