At our annual meeting Sunday, I outlined the facts of life about our finances at St. Paul's and the highlights of our proposed budget for 2010. I am giving you that information here as well today.
First, by way of background, I have talked with several pastors in our area, and every congregation in Charlottesville is now feeling the impact of the recession, and we are not immune to the downturn.
Our parish has much abundance and many resources. We have raised $655,000 in financial pledges for 2010, thanks to the generosity of many of you.
That said, we are still $25,000 short from what was pledged in 2009, and that is requiring us to make some hard decisions about our budget for 2010. There are several reasons why our pledges are smaller than 2009, including the deaths of a few long-time members and the fact that we have not received pledge cards from a number of people who pledged in 2009.
If you have not pledged for the year, please do so. If you can increase your pledge, please do so. Our ministries can remain strong only with the contributions of our people. Every pledge is significant, and everyone can pledge something because God has given everyone has something to pledge. As Dudley Rochester, our stewardship chair, pointed out at the annual meeting, less than half of our regular members make a financial pledge. If everyone pledged something, we would have a very good cushion against losing pledges.
The budget for 2010
The budget we are proposing to the Vestry totals $843,608, and it is a balanced budget. It does not tap into reserves funds to balance the budget, as we did in the past few years.
As I mentioned, $655,000 comes from pledges, and the rest from endowment interest and rental income from properties that we own. We also are depending on a grant of $18,500 from the Diocese of Virginia for University ministry.
The budget we are proposing fully funds our $55,000 commitment to outreach ministries and organizations in the community. Last year we tapped a restricted reserve fund (the misnamed "Emergency Fund" which is a restricted fund for outreach) to fulfill that commitment. A hardworking task force examined our outreach grants this year, and I am confident we are putting our money where it will have the most impact. This year we will give grants only with operating funds. Any additional funds raised for outreach, for example for Haiti, will be in on top of that $55,000.
We are also meeting our commitment to the ministry of the Diocese of Virginia with a contribution of $71,000. Also, we are making a financial commitment to forming the future leaders of the Episcopal Church by making a total contribution of $6,500 to the seminaries of our church.
The Diocese of Virginia has one of the lowest (probably the lowest) parish apportionments in the Episcopal Church. By way of comparison, the church where I worked in Sacramento had a similar size budget to this one, and the apportionment was more than $200,000 a year to the diocese.
Our St. Paul's parish programs will remain strong through worship, prayer, education, music, and university ministries. All are funded at the same level as the year before. We are also setting aside $24,000 for building repairs, which is significantly less than the previous year but will allow us to maintain the building in safe working order.
That said, I must be candid with you about the condition of our building. We will need to commence a capital campaign to renovate and update our buildings in a year or two. We cannot wait much longer. Others sacrificed to give these buildings to us, and we got them for free; and to us comes the obligation to give them to future generations in better condition than they are now.
Our proposed budget also has significant cuts, and no pay raises except for our hard-working sexton. We will no longer purchase subscriptions for St. Paul’s members to the diocesan newspaper. We will no longer fund the discretionary funds of the clergy (you are welcome to make individual contributions for those funds).
We are also making difficult and deep cuts in our office operation, and that means we need volunteers to answer phones and greet people during weekday business hours. If you are interested, please talk to me soon.
The proposed budget is balanced, focused on serving people, and will keep our ministries vital and vibrant.
Photos by Bonny Bronson.