By Helen Hankins, Clare Andreasson, and Marian Vermeulen
The uncertainty inherent in times of transition opens doors for us to wait in hope and to grow in faith. It also invites us to listen attentively to one another, and to listen together for the ways that God is speaking to us and through us.
These are Advent themes.
It is perhaps fitting that a significant part of the budget planning work we do as a vestry occurs during Advent. In addition to serious conversations about finances, this work also involves waiting in hope, growing in faith, and listening attentively.
Last Saturday we, the vestry, met to begin to prepare to align our budget with our anticipated income. We reviewed the amount we have received in pledges to date, which is $100,000 less than it was last year at this time. We have some funds set aside from the income we have received in 2016 which will be available to help us cover our expenses in the coming year. Even with those funds, however, we are facing a significant budget deficit which could lead to difficult decisions which we don’t want to make.
We remember hearing from the congregation in January that potential budget difficulties had not been communicated clearly to the church community prior to our annual meeting. We want to be absolutely sure that we inform you openly as we work through our budget planning process leading to the annual meeting this year. After our regular vestry meeting on December 20, we will be able to provide an update of where we are in terms of anticipated income and anticipated expenses to date.
We also want to express our deep gratitude to all of you who have pledged for next year. Your pledges help us tremendously in our planning. If you have planned to pledge but have not yet turned in your pledge amount, may we offer a gentle reminder.
We understand that this is an uncertain time as we wait for a new rector. Transition can be very challenging and it is hard to invest in the unknown. But we encourage you to consider investing in the work that God is doing in us and through us as we worship and serve together. This church family, and the work that we do, has value beyond our leaders. We invite you to continue to listen for God’s leading, even as we wait for what the coming year will bring.
Waiting in hope, growing in faith, listening to one another and to God … These are Advent themes.