Dear St. Paul’s family,
Almost without exception, everyone I speak to describes the past seven months as “so strange.” We have learned to think about everything we do, even the things that were on autopilot and required almost no thought. We have learned that the status of the coronavirus, our economy, and the country in general changes almost daily, so we must live one day at a time. We have learned to live with the unknowns- the availability of a vaccine, the outcome of an election. It is very unsettling. With all this uncertainty, I am incredibly thankful that the St. Paul’s parish and clergy have supported each other and provided stability. It is a blessing for which I will always be grateful.
In my role as Treasurer, I am especially grateful to the people who have so faithfully continued to provide financial support to the church. Thank you. Because of you, we have been able to retain the staff, we have continued to provide programming, upgraded Internet connectivity, and purchased multiple Zoom meeting rooms to ensure all meeting needs are met. In short, you have kept the virtual doors open. As of this writing, our current financial needs have been met.
That is the good news. However, as we look ahead to 2021, the outlook is less optimistic. This year, donations from faithful donors were supplemented by the “Paycheck Protection Program” loan. We do not yet know how much of the federal loan will be forgiven, and it is unlikely that these loans will be offered again in 2021.
Pledges are under budget by over 25%. Plate giving is down by 75% for the timeframe of March-August as compared to 2019. Giving during Holy Week and Christmas is traditionally significantly higher than other weeks during the year, and the COVID-19 regulations limiting indoor group sizes are almost certain to affect giving during the Christmas services, just as they did during Holy Week. The Vestry responded to these declines by making significant cuts in expenses, and the budget is still off by 15% from what was expected.
In the chart you can see the drop in average monthly revenue. From April to August, the total revenue generated from all sources of giving is approximately $56,600 per month. After the reductions in program and other operating expenses, our average expenses per month are approximately $65,300.At this rate, every month we will be operating at a loss of $8,700 per month. While we can absorb this loss for a short period of time, we will need to make exceedingly difficult decisions if we cannot increase our level of support.
Your Vestry will be developing a 2021 budget during the next couple of months. We are asking everyone to be a part of the process by pledging to this year's stewardship campaign, so we can anticipate what we need to do in 2021. In addition to a regular pledge, we will also ask you to prayerfully consider making a one-time gift toward the 2021 operating needs. Staff salaries comprise the largest percentage of the budget, and an additional gift from you would go toward covering the deficits, which will have a substantial impact on the clergy and staff. The 2021 Stewardship drive will begin in mid-October. Please watch for Stewardship materials in the coming weeks.
Additional information can be found on the website and in weekly announcement emails. Feel free to contact me if you need assistance or have questions ([email protected]).
Thank you. I hope you stay well. You are all in my prayers.
Jan Toth, Treasurer