Welcome to the Central Presbyterian Church website! We are glad that you have found us! As you explore this site, you will find a lot of information about our congregation. I welcome you to connect with us in any way that suits you. Among the possible connections, you can:
- listen to podcasts of our worship services online
- follow us through Twitter or “friend” us through Facebook or sign up to receive a weekly update from us by email
- watch live broadcasts of our worship services on local cable TV, Channel 33 on Verizon FIOS, and Channel 36 on Comcast Sundays at 10:00 a.m. with a re-broadcast at noon.
- participate in any of our ministries
- worship with us on Sunday mornings (services at 8:30 and 10:00 a.m., with WAVE at 11:15 a.m.)
- read our weekly Staff Blog (below)
May Christ enrich your life with all God’s grace! –Rev. Don Steele, Senior Pastor
Click here to see upcoming events at Central!
THE TITHING PRINCIPLE
If you hang around the church long enough, you are bound to hear people use the word, “tithe” in association with giving. The word appears a few times in the Old Testament and refers to a practice in that society built largely on agriculture of giving a tithe or a tenth of their produce to support the Levitical priests and the Temple structure. In the church, the word “tithe” has been used to promote the idea that members should give a tenth of their income to support the work of the church—not just caring for personnel and buildings, but also to pay for various programs and mission outreach projects.
I have long questioned the link between the church’s use of tithing and that outlined in the Old Testament. However, the principle standing behind the practice of a tithe has always impressed me—namely that we need to consider our charitable giving in terms of the percentage of income that it represents. This shifts attention away from the sheer amount of money that we give away. Bill Gates should be able to give away more money than me. What matters is the percentage or proportion of what we have that we give away. That’s what Jesus was saying in that story when he commended that widow who gave a small amount of money, but that small amount represented “all that she had.”
And so, using the tithing principle, let’s all consider the percentage of our income that we have given away so far this year. It doesn’t really matter, it seems to me, whether we consider it on the basis of our net or our gross income. It’s the discipline of considering our charitable giving as a percentage or proportion of our income that matters—all of our charitable giving, not just our giving to the church. As I understand the tithing principle as interpreted by Jesus, whatever the percentage of our income we give away—be it the average American 2%, the 10% tithe, or something much larger—we need to give enough away that we notice it in our daily living. That is, we notice that we can’t afford to do something that we’d like to do, buy something that we’d like to buy because we have given away a large enough percentage of our income. There is an element of sacrifice, in other words, in our giving, that reminds us that, in God’s sight, we are more than consumers. We are God’s agents with a mission to make the world better, fairer, more just for all.
–Pastor Don Steele