Recent Blog Posts

Blog Post Archives

Subscribe to Blog via Email (Version 1: Wordpress)

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog via Wordpress and receive notifications of new posts by email. You will receive emails every time—and as soon as—a new post is made.

Subscribe to Blog via Email (Version 2: Feedburner)

Use this link to subscribe to this blog via Feedburner and receive notifications of new posts by email:

You will receive just one email at the end of the day (around 11:00 PM Eastern Time) summarizing all the posts made during the day.

You may also use the “By Email” link in the upper right hand corner of the page.

Financial Report to the Annual Meeting

The Year 2011/12 was not an easy one—largely owing to a sluggish technical recovery from a deep recession that has lasted for more than three years, depressing activity in virtually all sectors of the economy.

Unemployment, particularly in the state’s private sector, continues high—a consequence of fiscal and regulatory uncertainty, coupled with tight credit. This has continued the squeeze on personal income, which, in turn, has resulted in a continuation in the decline in congregational giving.

In this respect St Stephen’s has fared better than many of the state’s church communities. Pledged and unpledged giving was off during the 12 months only 0.8 percent—falling from $120,383 to $119,445. But this should be seen against the previous three years during which the declines in income averaged more than an annual 10 percent.

Total giving for the 12 months—which includes financial gifts to the parish, as well as contributions to designated funds, such as the Endowment Fund, the Building Fund, the Music Fund, and the Flower Fund—amounted to $148,946. This was a full 31 percent down from giving during the previous 12 months.

The decline, however, was not quite as dramatic as it might at first appear, inasmuch as a generous legacy gave a substantial boost to the 2010/11 total.

So far we have managed to keep the parish’s figures in the black with a mixture of hefty cost cutting and the creative use of volunteer labor. The clergy have voluntarily been swallowing many of the expenses in connection with their duties that in normal circumstances the parish would be obligated to pay. Most maintenance work on the church fabric is now performed by voluntary labor, as is all the work on the grounds with the exception of snow clearing.

Unanticipated expenses, however, are bound to occur. During the past 12 months, for example, we were obliged to spend an unexpected $2,400 more on electrical work than we did in the previous fiscal period. This entirely accounted for the 63 percent increase in Building and Maintenance spending.

Operations and Administrative overheads, on the other hand, were reduced by 11 percent, declining from $30,008 in 2010/11 to $26,751. Further savings are anticipated, thanks to Jim Halbert, who has negotiated a further hefty reduction in our electricity rates, bringing them down from 9 cents per KWH to 7 cents.

In most other areas of our activities, costs remained stable or showed modest reductions. Even so, total expenses for the 12 months showed only 0.5 percent reduction over the period under review—falling from $157,607 to $156,769. Thus, the parish is showing a $7,822 deficit for $2011/12.

The explanation is that the vestry recently renegotiated the mortgage on the church buildings that is expected to show us a savings of some $800 per month. As is usual in such matters, the renegotiation involved expenses of some $9,000, which we thought more prudent to pay “up front” rather than add to the loan. This money, however, will be relatively quickly recouped in lower mortgage and interest payments.

In short, your clergy and vestry have done a creditable job in holding parish overheads in check, but, financially speaking, we are still sailing very close to the wind. Costs have been cut to such a degree that there is little more that can be cut. This is why we are asking you prayerfully to examine your giving and try to increase your annual pledge, as well as making a gift for the endowment fund. Remember, the Church will make a lot better use of your hard-earned cash that the IRS. God Bless. BILL HAWKINS

Comments are closed.