Dear People of St. Stephen’s,
Greetings to you in the name of our Risen Lord! I write to you at just about the half waypoint through our Easter season. It’s hard to believe, but we are already over a quarter of the way through 2013.
As you may know, part of our vestry’s (and my) responsibility each month is to examine the financials from the prior month. Now, having completed the first quarter of the financial year, I write to update you about the finances of your church. The last couple of years have seen wonderful growth in pledging and this year we projected a budget that nearly closed the deficit! Unfortunately, based on our first quarter, we are not quite meeting our projected income.
At the end of the first quarter, our income is about $5,000 below our projection. This discrepancy is largely due to folks moving away and to deaths, but we have also have some pledges that are behind. While this is not a particularly large sum at this point, we are likely to end the year with a larger deficit than the $746 that had been projected.
As those who have been at St. Stephen’s some time know, balancing our budget is always a challenge, but we have definitely been moving toward greater financial stability. We have had deficit budgets before and we can sustain a deficit budget for a while longer. The last couple of years have seen a much strengthened financial position through new members and new pledging and this quarter serves as reminder that this difficult work is not yet finished. We are blessed with much life, growth, generosity, spirit, and a tight, strong community.
I also write to clarify any questions around the gift we received from Greg Sinn’s estate and the endowment we created with it. This is a beautiful and generous gift and opportunity. We do not want to reach the point of needing to draw on Greg’s gift to fund day to day operations – I believe this would be poor stewardship of such an amazing gift. My hope and the hope of your vestry is that it will provide funds for many, many years to come for the community of St. Stephen’s to engage in exciting ministry opportunities. This gift provides us the opportunity to dream big for our community. What is God calling us to? How can we better serve our community? Who can we reach out to and invite in?
Your vestry and I are working hard to move St. Stephen’s to a balanced budget and I thank all of you for your generous giving that has brought us so far in the last couple of years. We may have a minor bump in the road but I look backwards and see progress and I look forwards and see hope and opportunity.
Please continue to keep our church community in your prayers and please do not hesitate to speak to me or any vestry member should you have any questions regarding our finances in general or the endowment in specific.