COCOA BEACH – When it comes to generosity, St. David’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church continues to be a shining example for others to follow.
The recipients of the church’s generosity are diverse and widespread: Seafarers’ House, Brevard Veterans’ Center, Food for Friends, Family Promise Ministry, Salvation Army, Brevard Domestic Violence program, Angel Trees at Christmas, local Boy Scout troops, struggling churches around Florida, missions in Bolivia and São Paolo, a seminarian in Wisconsin and local elementary schools.
“We kind of preach: ‘For those to whom much is given, much is expected,’” said the Rev. Scott Holcombe of St. David’s. “We’re always trying to think, ‘How can we do more?’”
They’re doing a lot. When Holcombe arrived at the small but active church in 2010, he and the congregation instantly agreed on one thing: the giving needed to increase.
“It was a significant priority for me and for all of the senior wardens that ‘we need to do more than we’re doing,’” Holcombe said. “And that mindset is still here.”
Since those early meetings, the church’s outreach has steadily expanded. Today, Holcombe estimates that on an annual budget of $240,000 the church gives more than $40,000 to outreach far and wide.
The church also generated a combined $14,000 from its two major annual fundraising events last year: a goods-and-services auction in November and a massive yard sale in February.
“Everyone knows every penny given goes toward outreach,” Holcombe said. “People are much more generous when they know their money is going somewhere good.”
Holcombe believes the giving is a large reason the church has been able to sustain its membership, which includes at least half the congregation driving more than 30 minutes to attend services every week.
And that outward focus isn’t likely to change anytime soon. It’s all part of a week’s work at St. David’s by-the-Sea.
“Almost every month at the outreach committee we have to look at something new: ‘Do we want to take this on?’” Holcombe said. “Because once we pick up something, we rarely drop it. We know people are counting on us.”