From the Sr. Warden
Washing Black Socks
This year the Vestry has made some tough decisions regarding the Church of Our Saviour Budget. To take a term from Fr. Bob Honeychurch’s sermon of (Jan. 24, 2019, which will be available at the annual meeting), “It’s time to wash the socks”. As a Vestry we can no longer say “not yet” regarding significant reductions to our operating budget.
To start the budget process, each division of the church presented their “dream budget” to the parish administrator and the finance committee. This was then given to the Vestry. This dream budget would have resulted in a draw from the endowment of over $750,000 which is clearly out of line with our current reality. Cuts were made to keep operations “status quo”. The “status quo” draw from the endowment was still extremely high; too high, in fact, to be fiduciarily responsible.
Our Vestry realizes that we are not a church of 400 weekly congregants that we once were and that our operating budget must reflect our current reality. This means passing a budget appropriate for a church of our current size. Hence, the budget was cut dramatically, especially the portion of the church operating budget which means cuts to personnel. The endowment portion allotted to Our Savior Center was also reduced significantly. All programs have had their budgets cut significantly, including music, Christian formation, pastoral care, hospitality and resources for our Mandarin community. Finally washing our black socks means taking difficult but necessary steps to live within our means. It also means that we—as a parish and community of faith—need to step up, in our clean socks, and fill some of the gaps that this more realistic budget has left. These tough decisions give us a chance to look within and to reimagine how this church operates. This gives us a chance to plan for our future and an opportunity reimagine our individual stewardship, financial as well as time and talent.
As it is, the overall draw from the endowment still exceeds the amount recommended by the Endowment Committee but the Vestry is aware that we cannot correct this situation all in one go, especially in a period when we are searching for a new Rector. Indeed, in this budget is a one-time allocation of $25,000 to fund the cost of our Rector Search. Additionally, this years market fluctuation decreased the overall amount of endowment money typically available by $28,000 and we are taking steps to ensure that going forward, our endowment will grow and be protected from market volatility, as our church operations should not be dependent on market fluctuations.
The Vestry along with the Finance Committee and the Endowment Committee realize that it is critical for Church of Our Saviour to develop a sound financial plan. We will be developing a 5 year plan that ensures the sustainability of our church and its ministries and will find ways to have the gift of our endowments work better for the church. This plan will be submitted to the Vestry by July of 2019.
As hard as all of this is, it gives us a wonderful opportunity to move forward being more fiscally responsible. We have an opportunity to reexamine our personal involvement in the programs of the Church Our Saviour. It is a step towards getting our house in order so that when we call a Rector, he or she will be able to partner with us from a position of strength and the hope for a bright future. This church and its parishioners are doing God’s work in amazing ways. This will continue. Please pray for the Vestry, the Finance Committee and the Endowment Committee as they put together a 5 Year financial plan and examine where God has called this church to use its many valuable resources.
In addition to the passing the 2019 budget, the Vestry has also determined the need to establish a Building and Grounds Fund. This fund will be presented at the annual meeting. This fund will be established to maintain the beautiful buildings and grounds that are an asset for the Church of Our Saviour.
All budget information will be available at the annual meeting. There will be a forum on March 24 to go over details of the budget.