By Barbara Klugh
At the annual meeting, you, the people of Grace, asked for a special fundraising campaign to restore the most important cuts to the budget. The Vestry listened, and asked the Stewardship Ministry to develop a fundraising campaign as soon as possible. And now we’re ready to take that “Leap of Faith” and launch a special campaign to raise the funds we need. It will be just over a month long, and will end on Leap Day, February 29. All funds and pledges received since the annual meeting on January 17 will be part of the totals.
We have three goals:
Goal 1: $27,000 for Immediate needs
Goal 2: $35,000 to fund Associate Rector (or other) position
Goal 3: Twelve new pledging households
Goal 1: $27,000 for immediate needsAchieving this $27,000 goal will allow us to restore the staff salary cuts of $6,951 (already done, thanks to the Rayments), restore our full diocesan pledge ($11,725), add the pension benefit to a staff person’s compensation ($1,771), and build our contingency fund.
Diocesan Pledge: Understandably, some parishioners want us to renege on our diocesan apportionment. However, we are not an independent non-denominational church. We are Grace Episcopal Church, one of 60 churches in the Diocese of Western Michigan, part of the National Episcopal Church and of the world-wide Anglican Communion. We share a love for the beauty of our liturgy, the combined work of prayer and service, and the challenge of living as ambassadors of Christ in our troubled world. We are honor-bound to keep our promises to the Episcopal Church.
Pension benefit: Due to an oversight in the budget preparation, the pension benefit for our Youth Ministry Coordinator this did not get included in the budget.
Contingency Fund, Possible counseling costs: Although we believe that the Diocese of Michigan, the home diocese of Bry Dennison, should fund all counseling for victims resulting from Dennison’s sexual misconduct, we will not allow the needs of the victims to be delayed. We may need to pay for counseling while we petition the institutional church for justice. Our victims will be supported, no matter what it takes.
Contingency Fund, Cash flow: This term refers to the ongoing cash-in, cash-out flow of funds that are received and then used to pay bills. We have experienced months when our income was insufficient to pay our bills, and then borrowed from our decreasing savings account to make payments. We need to maintain an adequate balance in our checking account.
Goal 2: $35,000 to fund Associate Rector (or other) positionIn this time of transition, we are grappling with many unknowns. We have expressed a need for more “inreach.” We want pastoral care to increase, not decrease. We want to continue all our worship services.
The Associate Rector position has been cut from the budget. The compensation for our current Associate Rector, the Rev. Katheryn King, is budgeted through March. Katheryn has graciously agreed to remain at Grace until our Interim Rector is in place.
In addition to leading the church, will our Interim Rector be able to shoulder the load of the pastoral care for our parishioners who are in the hospital, assisted-living facilities or homebound? Will he or she be able to preside at four worship services week after week (Saturday, two on Sunday and Wednesday)? Will he or she help us to grow spiritually through our transition with educational offerings? We don’t know, but we expect part-time assistance will be needed.
Goal 3: Twelve new pledging householdsWe need more households—whether singles, couples, or big families—to take the leap of Faith, and pledge their support to Grace Church. The Vestry needs to know what financial resources they can count on in order to do the job we have entrusted them to do. Since the annual meeting, two households have stepped up, so we have ten (more is better) additional pledges to meet this goal.
Our God is incredibly generous, and has placed the tool of money in our hands. What we do with our money tells us the truth about ourselves, and, as God’s servants, we are accountable to God for how we use it. Won’t you take that Leap of Faith so that we may continue to welcome, worship, study, and serve in the name of Christ?