For the past two months, parishioners both longtime and new have been invited to participate in two forums having to do with our search for a new rector. We have looked back at our history and at what is happening now and have shared our stories about what has brought us to St. James’ and why we stay—what we love about it and what we would like to change perhaps, or do differently in the future. The sharing and written feedback has been honest and helpful.
Next we look at a vision for what is to come. But to do that we really need to take a look at the nuts and bolts of what makes our life together in this wonderful place possible and that is a balanced sustainable budget. There is a bit of good news since the Annual Meeting this past January, when the treasurer reported that, based on pledges received at that time, the deficit for 2017 was projected at $70,000. That deficit has now decreased to $50,000 through some new and increased pledges since that time with the addition of some windfall filming income.
The truth is, our current budget is less than half of what it was in 2012. In fact, it’s getting dangerously close to a third of that number. And yet in every other way we are thriving. We will not continue to thrive though, if we have to cut any further. We are at a bare bones for a parish this size.
And really it’s not necessary if every one steps up with what they can do for the continued health of our common life. We have an accumulated attendance of 300 most Sundays. We have 153 pledges. Granted some are family pledges that include a number of people, including children.
But what if in addition to asking those already pledging to increase their pledge a bit, we ask those who are not pledging to either pledge or give a contribution of record so that this year we have 100% participation!
$50,000 divided by 300 = 166 a year, divided by 52 weeks = $3.00 a week.
Of course, since children are now a significant part of that number, what if we adults who are able increase our pledge $5.00 a week or give a contribution of record equivalent to that amount—$260? Poof! The deficit disappears.
But more than that we are empowered to have a broader vision of what we can accomplish together, not just for the sake of St. James’, but for the life and work of the Spirit among us.
Together we can do so much! Our 100% campaign begins next week.
Are you in?
+Catherine Ola Thomas and Mumbie Fredson-Cole
Bishop-in-Charge Co-Chairs, Stewardship Committee