June 9, 2019 Update
As members of the body of Christ and the family of St. Andrew’s, we are gathered here this morning to worship our Lord, pray for others and say thank you for the joy and blessings we have been given. One of our blessings is the rejuvenation of our Eucharistic Visitor teams for ministering to our homebound. The Eucharistic Ministers…chalice bearers…. have had additional training and their numbers have also increased.
The Vestry of St. Andrew’s made a promise earlier this year that we would keep you informed of the ongoing search process and the needs within our parish. Our covenant is and was to be transparent with all of you.
We are a family, a Christian family at St. Andrew’s. We share the joys, successes, needs and hurts for and with each other. It is time for all of us, as a family to do just that. The Rev. Beth Echols was a wonderful Supply Priest ministering to us after Father Evan left. She gave to us direction and time to catch our breath as we began the search process. The Profile Committee and Search Committees have recently been appointed and work has begun. Please read the communications that will be coming to you so that each of you can participate in the search process. The names of committee members are listed in the bulletin so do not be afraid to talk and share with them your thoughts….you will be heard and listened to. In the meantime, beginning next Sunday we will have The Rev. Joseph Mikel as our Supply Priest. The Vestry had a positive meeting with Father Mikel and he is excited about being with us.
And now for the difficult piece, a huge piece, the Vestry has been grappling with “the elephant in the living room” and it is time for all of us to share in the struggles facing St. Andrew’s. This has to do with money and the operating budget of our church. Several of you have asked “what happens if we don’t have enough money for a priest”? Further, will we become a mission and what does that mean?
Let’s talk about what that means: a Parish is self-supporting and able to make their own decisions within the Constitution and Canons of the Church. A Mission is not self-supporting, but rather under the direct leadership of the Bishop. So the first question we must ask ourselves, “Do we want to remain a Parish?” We believe the answer is a resounding “Yes!” If your answer is also “Yes!”, then we need to begin to look at what that means, as this is an opportunity for us to make our belief in St. Andrew’s as a Parish real.
For St. Andrew’s to remain a Parish there needs to be an increase in giving….some may call that “money”.
Some of you may be thinking, wait…why is she talking about money again??….St. Andrew’s has lots of money in the bank and so why can’t we just spend it? The reason is that these are endowment funds given by parishioners for specific uses. The principal or core of these funds cannot be spent or invaded. We can only spend or use the dividends from those accounts. On the piano is a sheet for you to take listing those funds. During our Capital Campaign the word Legacy was used and that is what those who came before us left to St. Andrew’s. We earn about $20,000 each year from these funds. Without those earnings we would currently be $80,000 short.
If you remember, when the budget was adopted in January for 2019, it was a lopsided budget which means that it was not in balance. We had and continue to have more expenses than pledged income. We are $60,000 short at the current time. The reason for this is some members have: passed away, others moved away; and then some quit attending church or cut their pledges for various reasons. The Vestry understands that some people were unhappy for various reasons and has listened to you. We have worked to resolve the problems. So, now is the time for EACH of us to embrace this as an opportunity for looking deeply into our own hearts, listen to the Holy Spirit, and then take action. Some of you will be asking, “Is $60,000 doable?” The answer is, “YES!” Just as a bucket is filled with water, many drops make the bucket full. Jesus said, “Cast your net on the other side of the boat” and that is what each of us is called to do. At the current time, we are able to pay for a supply priest only! We cannot go on forever like this, using supply priests. With the money we have, we cannot go forward and commit to hiring an Interim Priest and a Rector. These are harsh facts, however the Vestry believes this is a great opportunity for all of us to do our part. In addition to each of us looking deeply within our own hearts, there is also the opportunity to connect with others, maybe our missing or lost brothers and sisters of St. Andrew’s. So, if you know someone who used to attend St. Andrew’s, give them a call, let them know we miss them, and invite them back.
This may seem like a harsh reality homily or it may seem like a great opportunity to rely on our Lord and the Holy Spirit. The Vestry is choosing our Lord and Holy Spirit. These are the best of times where there is work to be done and we all are the workers in the field.
May 2, 2019 Update
St. Andrew’s Church Vestry has been and is currently seeking the guidance of our Lord and Holy Spirit as we travel through the search process in calling a new rector.
We have been blessed to have The Rev. Beth Echols as our Supply Priest. Beth has agreed to be with St. Andrew’s until the end of May. On May 26th we will celebrate her ministry with us at the coffee hour following the 10:00 am service. We are grateful to her and her family for all of the spiritual guidance and time Beth has given to us.
Bishop Rickel has appointed The Rev. Alissa Newton as the consultant for St. Andrew’s during the search process. Alissa is the Vicar at St. Columba’s Church in Kent. The Vestry and Search Committee will meet with Alissa on Saturday, May 25th. As we walk through the search process the parish will be given updates on a regular basis.
We will soon have an Interim Priest who will be with St. Andrew’s during the search process. The consultant is working with the Bishop on this matter.
Letters have been sent to the parishioners who have indicated an interest in serving on the Search Committee. The Vestry will be selecting the Search Committee at the May 15th vestry meeting. This is a very important time for our parish and your prayers for the Vestry and soon to be chosen Search Committee guide each of us.
As we walk through the search process and you have questions or concerns please feel free to contact a member of the Vestry or one of the Wardens. We will listen.
Let us pray:
Almighty and ever living God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be of one heart and mind within our holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. – Amen