It's no secret that The Church Messiah is facing a financial challenge. After a few years of balanced budgets we saw our income from givings plummet (mostly, according to our analysis, because of the hit the economy took) in 2010. We started a Stewardship Campaign in response, but it was delayed by several factors (my parental leave, a general loss of momentum in summer, and some parish deaths). With few cash reserves to rely on, we started to owe money to the Diocese--now the Diocese is understandably anxious. We had a meeting last night with some reps from the Accounts Receivable Committee and Bishop Yu. It went very well, and I have to say that we were encouraged. There is work to do, for sure, but it is "do-able." The biggest thing we have going for us at the moment is that we are, in fact, growing. If we can sustain this growth for the next few years we'll be fine. But this transitional period of adjustment is difficult.
I just want to say that I am very proud of my leadership team at the church. The Wardens, finance committee, and others have really been pulling together. A plan is beginning to take shape that gives me a tremendous sense of relief. I'm finally feeling like we have a handle on this thing. Whew!
Interestingly, at one point in the meeting I felt a very powerful feeling of affectionate and love for my little church. I'm sure all pastors feel this. It's perhaps the best part of parish ministry--sweet to taste.