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Author Topic: Collection tray during liturgy  (Read 2825 times) Average Rating: 0
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Dart
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« on: March 18, 2011, 12:13:54 AM »

What is the liturgical significance of why and when a collection tray is passed on Sunday? Should it be passed twice?
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« Reply #1 on: March 18, 2011, 01:12:00 AM »

Other than keeping the lights on? Wink
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« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2011, 06:40:48 AM »

There is no significance other than past practice, enabling the faithful of the parish to offer their financial stewardship in support of their parish's mission.  Typically, a second tray was for a special fund, like the Building Fund or a mortgage, the first tray being for the parish's operational fund.

Is passing a tray something from the West or North America that we adopted?

My parish adopted passing one tray since its inception in 1966, except for Christmas, Palm Sunday, Great Friday evening, and Pascha.  Each second tray had a designated purpose, the Christmas 2nd tray was for the Benevolent Fund.  After two priestly tenures over a 42 year period, our current presiding priest eliminated the 2nd tray all together and revenue has not been affected.  (Some of the logic behind the 2nd tray was hitting up people who come to church only on those holidays.  Others criticised the practice indicating you'd only come to church on holiday's too if you got hit up for donations as much as we do on those days.)

A parish in my area eliminated passing a tray altogether for a few years, years ago, opting to have a tray stand in the narthex, and their revenue was substantially reduced, though, many in that church were opposed to the change and reduced their own contributions to demonstrate their opposition to not passing a tray.
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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2011, 08:47:23 AM »

Traditionally no collection tray was passed in the Orthodox Church. Donations were given in the Narthex by being placed in the treasury box (when purchasing candles). The practice of passing the tray during the Communion of the Clergy is something which in my humble opinion definitely needs to be abolished. The Liturgy of the Orthodox Church simply does not have an appropriate point in which a collection could take place without disrupting the Liturgy. There is no collection at my monastery, and several Greek Orthodox Churches in Sydney have abolished the collection trays in favour of the earlier practice of giving in the Narthex on entry.
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2011, 09:38:35 AM »

My parish does not pass any collection plate at all during the Divine Liturgy. We never have done that. We have an alms box in the Narthex, and everyone places their offering in there. It works just fine for us.  If people are committed to giving, they will give, regardless of whether a collection plate is passed or not. Now we do use offering envelopes with our names printed on them. The parish mails those out quarterly to its members.  We are asked to pledge some amount to give every week (how much is up to us and it is private, not shared with the priest.)  In fact, our priest specifically tells the treasurer and the auditor that he does NOT want to know how much individual people give.  All Father ever sees the the grand total of the collection each week. Father does encourage people to tithe if they are able, but he doesn't harp on it.
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« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2011, 10:56:53 AM »

They do pass a tray around for collection during the liturgy at my church, I don't know how appropriate or inappropriate it is, but I've never been personally offended by it and I don't think the practice would continue if a number of our members had another preference. The treasury box idea does seem slightly more anonymous than passing everyone's offerings around where everyone else can see them, but then again there was a similar system in use in the Temple and the pharisees managed to find a way to judge people.

The only time there is a "second tray" is during fasting seasons or after a major tragedy. This basket is designated for a charitable purpose and serves no financial benefit for the church's budget. I have heard it referred to as the "Lazarus basket" before and it isn't actually passed around during the liturgy. Someone holds it by the cross after the liturgy when everyone goes to venerate the cross. I have never in three years heard stewardship preached during the homily. Whenever the time of year comes to bring up stewardship and the budget, it is always discussed after the liturgy is ended. The only time I can ever remember hearing giving money preached during the liturgy is in regard to "feeding Lazarus", which does not necessarily have to be done through our "Lazarus basket" but it does present a good opportunity to do so together as a church.
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2011, 12:28:52 PM »

Traditionally no collection tray was passed in the Orthodox Church. Donations were given in the Narthex by being placed in the treasury box (when purchasing candles). The practice of passing the tray during the Communion of the Clergy is something which in my humble opinion definitely needs to be abolished. The Liturgy of the Orthodox Church simply does not have an appropriate point in which a collection could take place without disrupting the Liturgy. There is no collection at my monastery, and several Greek Orthodox Churches in Sydney have abolished the collection trays in favour of the earlier practice of giving in the Narthex on entry.


We leave our gift at the altar, as recommended in the NT, not in the Narthex Wink
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« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2011, 01:44:35 PM »

Really?  I didn't know that Orthodox Churches let most people come up to the altar to leave offerings.

Traditionally no collection tray was passed in the Orthodox Church. Donations were given in the Narthex by being placed in the treasury box (when purchasing candles). The practice of passing the tray during the Communion of the Clergy is something which in my humble opinion definitely needs to be abolished. The Liturgy of the Orthodox Church simply does not have an appropriate point in which a collection could take place without disrupting the Liturgy. There is no collection at my monastery, and several Greek Orthodox Churches in Sydney have abolished the collection trays in favour of the earlier practice of giving in the Narthex on entry.


We leave our gift at the altar, as recommended in the NT, not in the Narthex Wink

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« Reply #8 on: March 18, 2011, 01:49:12 PM »

Really?  I didn't know that Orthodox Churches let most people come up to the altar to leave offerings.

Traditionally no collection tray was passed in the Orthodox Church. Donations were given in the Narthex by being placed in the treasury box (when purchasing candles). The practice of passing the tray during the Communion of the Clergy is something which in my humble opinion definitely needs to be abolished. The Liturgy of the Orthodox Church simply does not have an appropriate point in which a collection could take place without disrupting the Liturgy. There is no collection at my monastery, and several Greek Orthodox Churches in Sydney have abolished the collection trays in favour of the earlier practice of giving in the Narthex on entry.


We leave our gift at the altar, as recommended in the NT, not in the Narthex Wink


Have you noticed that the warden who collects it brings it to the front of the nave and  gets it blessed by the priest from the solea directly in front of the altar after collecting it?  Our plate is usually brought from behind the iconostasis somewhere that I cannot see.  In front of the altar is *at* enough for me. Wink
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« Reply #9 on: March 18, 2011, 03:14:20 PM »

The best solution is for people to discuss pastorally their finances with the parish Priest and prayerfully give as much as they can, in other words make a pledge to the parish for the coming year, so that the parish can more reasonable plan their budget.

The basket or box wherever it may be placed could be for offering extra gifts or for visitors who wish to offer something or for special charitable causes.
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« Reply #10 on: March 18, 2011, 04:01:53 PM »

In our church, the plates are blessed before the offering is taken.  After the collection, the stewards take the plates out to the narthex and start counting.

Not that I in any way agree with this practice.  I prefer the alms box we had in the ROCOR parish.

Really?  I didn't know that Orthodox Churches let most people come up to the altar to leave offerings.

Traditionally no collection tray was passed in the Orthodox Church. Donations were given in the Narthex by being placed in the treasury box (when purchasing candles). The practice of passing the tray during the Communion of the Clergy is something which in my humble opinion definitely needs to be abolished. The Liturgy of the Orthodox Church simply does not have an appropriate point in which a collection could take place without disrupting the Liturgy. There is no collection at my monastery, and several Greek Orthodox Churches in Sydney have abolished the collection trays in favour of the earlier practice of giving in the Narthex on entry.


We leave our gift at the altar, as recommended in the NT, not in the Narthex Wink


Have you noticed that the warden who collects it brings it to the front of the nave and  gets it blessed by the priest from the solea directly in front of the altar after collecting it?  Our plate is usually brought from behind the iconostasis somewhere that I cannot see.  In front of the altar is *at* enough for me. Wink
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« Reply #11 on: March 18, 2011, 04:08:40 PM »

I have a feeling that if people increased their stewardship, the parishes could eliminate the trays.  While it encourages a good habit - giving regularly to the Church from your hands (which is a very deliberate act) - I agree with others that there is just no appropriate time during the Liturgy or immediately following to do it.  In our parish, we pass it after the end of the service, and there is something that still doesn't feel right.
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« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2011, 04:11:10 PM »

Honestly at my parish I don't see to many people put money in the basket
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« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2011, 04:22:16 PM »


I love the idea of having people donate in the narthex, on their way in or out.

We do "pass the basket" at my parish - not once, but, twice!   Shocked  The first round the ladies collect, and the second the men.

This is just how it has "always" been done.  While I may not agree with it, I have to admit, that if collections were left to each individual to donate in the narthex....the lights would not stay on for long.

Maybe it's the "shame" of having others see you not put something in the basket that forces people to donate.  Mind you we do have envelopes, so nobody sees exactly how much anyone puts in.  I understand people are to donate freely and out of love and charity, however, in all honesty....I don't think weekly collections would be even close to what they area now, if the basket were not passed around. 

It's not for us to judge who gives how much.  Where I live the economy has been hit very hard.  Almost every family has someone who is now unemployed.  It's not a pretty situation.

However, I've seen the monthly bills for the upkeep of the church...and even with the baskets, we don't break even.  Thank God for a couple of elderly parishioners who left the church some money in their wills, otherwise, we'd be in trouble.  Vichna Yim Pamyat!

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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2011, 05:17:57 PM »

I don't like that at my parish we pass the plate during the Hymn to the Theotokos, but "it's always been done that way."

What I severely dislike is that the treasury people then leave the liturgy to count it. It's disheartening and distracting to come down from the choir loft for communion and see 10-15 people milling around the priest's office with envelopes spread all over the desk. Back in my Reformed days, the plates were set beside the organ and the offering-takers returned to their seats and counted it after the service.

I'd prefer to have an alms box. In my megachurch days, they had them, and they never had trouble meeting the budget. Why should we need to shame people into giving?

(But then, my parish also has little plaques all over the place. It's so helpful to know who donated the icons while I'm venerating them. So much for giving in secret...)
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« Reply #15 on: March 18, 2011, 05:20:00 PM »

We Pass the plate right after the homily during the Litany of Fervent Supplication.
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« Reply #16 on: March 18, 2011, 06:33:52 PM »

In the one Parish I attend the tray is passed during the litany after consecrating the gifts. In the second one - after Our Father. There are always two of the because one would not contain all the money. A few times a year there are also all-Poland collects for specified parishes in need, seminary, youth organisation etc. Our Diocese also has one for the diocesan radio station.
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« Reply #17 on: March 18, 2011, 08:40:59 PM »

We also have a donation box in the narthex. We would not like it at all to have a tray passed around during Liturgy! In our humble opinion, fear of not meeting expenses is no reason to be confronting parishioners during worship or when venerating the cross, so no matter what, we will not pass a tray! When we have a need, we trust God and our parishioners come through.
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« Reply #18 on: March 18, 2011, 09:28:31 PM »

In my parish the practice is as ozgeorge mentioned, a donation box in the narthex by the candles for sale. Other than that, some parishioners will bring their donation to the parish office or mail them in. Personally I always find the practice of "passing the plate" a bit jarring and distracting in the Liturgy when attending outside my home parish.
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« Reply #19 on: March 19, 2011, 10:30:37 AM »

In the one Parish I attend the tray is passed during the litany after consecrating the gifts. In the second one - after Our Father. There are always two of the because one would not contain all the money. A few times a year there are also all-Poland collects for specified parishes in need, seminary, youth organisation etc. Our Diocese also has one for the diocesan radio station.

That's the way I remember the order in my church, Rusyn origin, when growing up. Must have been a north central European thing.  Sadly, the basket overflows no longer so there is only one, after the consecration. We put collection boxes in the back a few years ago, but they haven't 'caught on'. We try to do special offerings, like for floods, fires, etc...by placing our youth at the exits with baskets and hopeful faces!
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« Reply #20 on: March 19, 2011, 10:53:42 AM »

Back home they used to pass two or three-in more important days-successive trays. The exact moment was "One is holy, one is Lord..."
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« Reply #21 on: March 21, 2011, 12:37:29 AM »

If the passing of the tray during the liturgy doesn't feel right, interupts the service, and gives an impression that money is of greater importance than the liturgy, why accept it?

You can still brow beat and shame the non givers as they come in at the narthex, if that is your concern.
Or collect at the end of service as one person stated their parish does.
I doubt the financial condition of our parishes require a collection to pay the bills for the week which must be counted before anyone leaves otherwise the lights get turned off.
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« Reply #22 on: March 21, 2011, 03:23:35 AM »

I have to say, I like how the RC parishes i've been to do it. They just have a basket with a long handle that the usher moves to each person who has money. To me this seems better than everyone passing it around...(and it seems more traditional also)
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« Reply #23 on: March 22, 2011, 08:50:01 AM »

I don't like the collection tray, it's so loud. You can see and hear and see what other people put in... and they can see what I put in. It's really embarrassing for poor students having to drop copper coins covered in buttons and fluff on top of richer people's banknotes. Why can't we have a nice quiet bag?
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« Reply #24 on: March 22, 2011, 09:11:03 AM »

I doubt the financial condition of our parishes require a collection to pay the bills for the week which must be counted before anyone leaves otherwise the lights get turned off.

You'd be surprised.
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