As Development Warden, I am thankful everything that parishioners do for Advent. It is important that everyone understand how critical each one of you is to our success and vitality. I am amazed by our parish’s generosity of spirit: the time which people put into church programs, the talent that people direct at specific tasks and of course the treasure provided for our general operations. As a church, Advent is truly blessed!
Many of you will recall that last year Advent adopted the “Living Generously” philosophy. This entailed more than just watching a couple of videos in Adult Formation – it began a cultural shift at Advent. Living Generously means that for you to truly express your faith in God, Advent has to have faith in you. From a fund raising perspective, this means that parishioners are free to pledge what they feel inspired to give, which if we are doing our jobs right, will be enough. No arm twisting, no second phone calls. God will provide what we need, which is not necessarily all that we want!
This week in church, I announced the final results of this year’s Annual Canvass. The goal was to raise $625,000 and we did not meet our goal. In total, we generated $545,000 in pledges, which is about the same, down about 1%, from last year. While we came up short, I was pleased to see that 12 new members have joined the Advent family during the year and made pledges. This is a great sign of renewed growth and I especially thank them for their support!
Not reaching the goal obviously has budget implications. The Vestry has already begun cutting or deferring expenses, and we remain about $40,000 short. If you did not submit a pledge card or would like to increase your pledge, please call the office. Advent needs your support!
At this point, Advent is NOT in crisis, but we do have some tough choices to make. Should we cut staff? Should we continue to defer maintenance? Should we sell the offices next door? Which is more important – maintaining our outstanding music program or being able fix the boiler when it fails? As a congregation, we need to have an open and honest conversation about our finances and our future.
In two weeks, on Sunday Feb 21st, there will be an all church financial meeting in the Parish Hall. The core question will be should the Church of the Advent continue to downsize or right-size itself in the face of declining revenues, or do we have faith that Advent is now in recovery and position ourselves for future growth? I hope your schedule will allow you to attend.
Until then, always remember:
God is Great!
Life is Good!
Each of you is special and has been put on this earth for a reason!
Your Obedient Servant,