A Stewardship Letter to the St. Paul’s congregation
Re: pledges for the Operating Budget
9 January 2020
From Marian Carmichael (Finance chair) and Jim Stewart (Stewardship chair)
We are in the middle of our annual campaign to ensure financial support for our church operations here at St. Paul’s. The Finance committee, with input from the various committees of the Official Board, have developed a Church Operations Budget to cover our personnel, infrastructure and programming expenses for 2020. Most of the revenue to meet those expenses comes from regular offerings from congregation members. For 2020, those offerings need to reach $362,000.
We ask people to commit their support for the Operating Budget by pledging to donate a given amount of money during the year, or by submitting a Pre-authorized Remittance (PAR) form that allows the church to withdraw a given amount of money from your bank account or credit card on a regular schedule during the year.
We began our pledge drive in mid-December. In the past four weeks, we have received 40 PAR or pledge forms, pledging a total of ~$158,000. This means that we are 44% of the way to our target, which we need to reach by the date of our Annual Congregational Meeting on 16 February, 2020. In the past few years, we have been forced to run deficit budgets because pledges have not kept up with increases in operating expenses. This year, while operating reserves could potentially see us through another deficit budget, there are reasons that we must avoid this. First, it would not be good financial management to continue with deficit budgets. More urgently, should some emergency require a substantial amount of money to fix, we cannot rely on our capital reserves as they have been largely depleted by necessary maintenance and renovations (exclusive of the Legacy project, which was fully funded by gifts), and we would be ineligible for a bank loan because of our deficit budget.
We need your help to reach our target.
If you have already submitted a pledge or PAR, thank you so much. If that pledge included an increase over your offerings of last year, a double thank you.
If you have not yet submitted a pledge or PAR form, please do so as soon as you can. The Finance committee needs an accurate forecast of revenues to be able to plan for the upcoming year and have a realistic budget to present at the ACM for approval by the congregation. Even if you don’t intend to change the amount donated or the financial institution information, we would like you to submit a form to confirm that status (you can just write “same as in 2019”).
Please give careful consideration to increasing your support this year. Although we realize this is not possible for everyone, collectively we need to provide more support for our church operations than we have in past years. Thankfully, more than half of the households who have submitted pledges so far have decided to increase their givings over last year.
Finally, be reassured that you are all valued and welcome members of our church family, regardless of how much financial support you are able to offer. Your very presence in our midst is a contribution to our spiritual life together.
Pledge/PAR forms are available from the Welcomers desk in the Friendship Room or from the Church Office. They can be submitted to the office, or to Marian Carmichael or Heather Peden.
Yours in Faith,
Marian and Jim