St. James' Episcopal parish in Washington, D.C. has a set of PayPal links on its Web site, allowing parishioners to pledge on-line. It's great that this parish is experimenting with innovation. Maybe it'll work, maybe not, but they won't know till they try. Some have criticized the PayPal links as crass. I disagree.
More generally: Too many Episcopalians are reluctant to let the church publicize anyone's stewardship. Part of it is not wanting to be thought of as "crass." Another part of it is wanting to follow Jesus' injunction to keep your giving secret. But they're also blocking the church from taking advantage of an effective way of encouraging others to give -- and thereby losing the chance to contribute even more to accomplishing the church's mission.
Last year, as part of the kick-off of our parish's stewardship campaign, the stewardship committee published parish-wide a "thank you" to the previous year's pledgers. The thank-you document listed all the pledgers' names, but it didn't indicate how much anyone had pledged. (Practically every other charitable fundraising effort goes even further, listing donors according to the financial bracket of their donations. It must work, or presumably they wouldn't do it.)
We took some criticism for that. The critics were well-intentioned, probably remembering Jesus' injunction in Matthew 6:2-4: ""So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you."
But there's another way to read Jesus' injunction. When you donate or pledge, you yourself are not supposed to say a word about it to anyone else. Nor are you supposed to delude yourself that your charity makes you worthy. On the other hand, it's a different matter entirely if, to help encourage others, the church wants to publicly identify you as a donor, and even to list the amount or bracket of your gift.
In the latter situation, I submit, it's your duty to obediently let the church identify you as a donor or pledger if it wants. You may not be comfortable with that, but please don't let your discomfort get in the way of helping others to get God's work done.
(Hat tip to TitusOneNine.)