from your rector
Our budgets for 2016 and 2017 have been generously funded by a record number of pledging households and a record number of dollars. Our ministry together is vibrant, and we are receiving new members every month, which is a blessing. These past two years, I have asked the congregation to empower our ministry leaders to dream bigger by providing more resources. You responded with a resounding ‘yes!’ Thank you so much for your faithful support. I see this as a sign of spiritual health in our congregation. This year, I am optimistic that we will continue this trend of increasing generosity.
Giving is one way that we can express our thanks to God and our trust in God’s provision. It is a discipline of prayer. If all our members gave even 2% of their income, we would have an overwhelming amount of support. Some of us give much more. Some give much less. Now imagine if all St. Georgians were to hold to the Biblical principal of the tithe and give 10% or more. It’s something to dream about and work toward.
Our budgeted revenue for 2017 is $1,064,699 (up from roughly $938,000 received in 2015 and $1,009,033 received in 2016). $962,434 of that comes from pledges (which we hope are paid in full each year, but sometimes circumstances change). We also have income from our endowment investments. We have a “faith based” budget deficit of ($10,606) which we hope to make up through gifts that go beyond budgeted expectations. In 2018, our budgeted revenue should be well over $1 million. A parish our size can easily support this level of income with just some incremental increases in giving by members.
On the expense side: our budgeted expenses for 2017 are $1,075,305. Currently, we are under budget on expenses. We are not spending what we could partially because we are aware that we have that faith-based deficit, and giving has not kept up with pledging. However, we are hoping for increases in some areas of the 2018 budget.
Costs related to staff are the majority of our budget (sixty-four percent, currently). Ideally, we should budget something more like 50% of our expenses for staff compensation and benefits. I would like to see us move toward that lower percentage of budget, and the best way to do that is to increase income! Our staff members are essential to supporting our ministry and mission. When we fund staff, we fund mission. As you may know, we have two full-time volunteer staff members. Over time, we are setting aside annual budget funds so that eventually these positions can be fully funded. We also hope to offer all our staff a modest cost of living increase, comparable to standards set by the Diocese of Virginia. Health benefit costs will likely increase as well across the board.
Another big part of funding our ministry is maintaining our facility. We have a beautiful and historic building and grounds. We are working on some long-deferred maintenance and improvements. In order to address potentially destructive issues such as moisture infiltration, we are continuing to set aside substantial funds. A long-term planning committee is studying major capital expenses over the next five years. We want to put aside funds every year so that we do not get hit with a big bill that we cannot afford later on. This year we are replacing our HVAC cooling tower and thus depleting some of our financial reserves. We dedicate some annual budget funds to restore those savings over time.
Our growth in ministry means we are running out of available meeting space. It is time to allocate some funds to engage an architect to help us study our space needs and make proposals for how we might expand or re-arrange the space we have.
On the program side of the budget, your commissions are currently in the process of developing their requests for 2018. We will know more about those requests in mid-October and will update this document accordingly. Let’s not be afraid to dream!
The vestry will not be able to pass a budget until we know how much St. Georgians plan to give for 2018. When you receive your pledge card, prayerfully consider our budget concerns and your own household budget. If you are not a pledging member, consider making that leap of faith. It helps us plan, and it may help you to hold to your goals for giving over the year. You can adjust your pledge later on if needed. If you are already a pledger, consider whether an increase is possible and faithful for your household next year. On your pledge card, you will see amounts of percentage increases listed for your consideration.
We are thankful for every dollar that is given to support our ministry and mission, the dollars that have been pledged and the dollars that show up in the plate on Sunday. The invitation to give generously is just that, an invitation. I hope this has told some of the story behind the numbers you will see on our requested budget spreadsheets and that it helps you as you respond to God’s invitation to be in prayer, fellowship, and service here at St. George’s. As always, ask questions and let us know what would be helpful to hear.
God’s peace from your rector,