Dear St. Paul’s family,
As we approach our annual meeting and 2019 gets underway, I want to share with you one of the perennial dilemmas that the Chapter faces in our efforts to find the funding for our ministries.
As you have probably heard or read, we are celebrating a successful pledge campaign, having reached our goal of $1 million. This is great and encouraging news, and I am very grateful to each of you who made a pledge for 2019. It feels good to reach a goal!
Making a pledge to the church is a spiritual exercise. We do it, not to make a budget, but to grow in our relationship with God and each other, as we pool our resources to support the mission of the church. That being said, we do have a budget, and your pledges make up a large part of the income we need to support the expenses that our ministries incur. In an ideal world, the pledges would meet or exceed the expenses, but this isn’t an ideal world.
Other sources of revenue include the income from some invested funds (collectively known as our endowment), most of which were created from bequests and real estate sales.
Our total operating expense budget for 2019 comes to about $1.65 million. Most of this (nearly 70%) is compensation for our wonderful and hardworking staff, and 10.5% is our diocesan common life share. We are required by canon to come up with a balanced budget, and pledges, discounted to allow for those who won’t complete their pledge, will provide about $972,000, while our income from investments will be about $161,000 (I am including funds held both by the Cathedral and by the LLC that owns the northern portion of our block). In past years we have also received $100,000 from Park Chateau rents, but we no longer have any tenants there, so that income is gone. Total revenues provide us with about $1.39 million, which leaves a significant gap.
We have managed to plug the gap for this year with a generous additional donation from the LLC’s funds (thus reducing the amount available for investment and future income). It’s not a sustainable solution, but after trimming every conceivable item from the budget, the only options left involve reducing staff, which would compromise our ability to maintain the ministries at the level we offer today.
You may ask why we didn’t set our pledge goal higher to close the gap. Regrettably, raising a goal doesn’t make the goal achievable, and we all like an achievable goal (see above). Therein lies our dilemma: do we aim higher, being almost certain that we wouldn’t reach the goal, or do we settle for an achievable goal and use finite resources to continue funding ongoing expenses? If you would like to contribute more knowing we still have a deficit, there is still time to change your pledge.
You may be thinking that the sale of the land will provide enough to fund our ministries forever. Unfortunately that is not accurate: when all is said and done the income from the sale will fall short of the amount we need today, and the gap will grow larger with each year that passes.
This morning our treasurer Betsey Monsell and finance director Erin Sacco Pineda will present the 2019 budget at the 9:00 forum. I hope you will come and support us in our continuing efforts to be responsible stewards of the abundance that we have been given.
Your sister in Christ,