Spring has arrived at the Episcopal Church of the Advent! We have an active congregation and a healthy diversity of programs to meet the spiritual, social and charitable needs of our fellow parishioners. We have a lovely church, a caring congregation and serve a wonderful community.
The Vestry recently held a retreat to better understand where we are as a church today. The last couple of years have not been easy for Advent as the Vestry has had to reconfigure the church to live within its means. Over the last 12 – 18 months some $146,000 has been cut from our core operating budget. Last week, it was announced that Reverend Linda Kapurch will be leaving us in May and much of her duties will be picked up by our new Family Minister who arrives in June.
At the Annual Meeting being held this Sunday, I will be introducing a revised governance structure called SWEEPS. The acronym stands for the major elements of the church: Service, Worship, Evangelism, Education, Pastoral Care and Stewardship. The change is mostly organizational – giving the Vestry and parishioners a clearer framework to carry out our mission of “Making Christ Visible.” The day-to-day operations of the church will remain unchanged.
Based on this new SWEEPS framework, the Vestry studied how the church actually spends its time, talent and treasure. We took a look at the core budget: where the budget goes; how our staff spends its time; how our buildings are used; and general overhead. What we found is that about a third (34%) of our resources are spent on “Worship,” a third on “Education” and “Service,” and the remaining third on “Pastoral Care,” “Evangelism” and “Stewardship.” While this was not a scientific process, the Vestry agreed the proportions are about right – especially that Worship is our #1 priority!
I think Advent is on the right path and has reached a good resting place. The Vestry will continue to look at our operations with an eye toward trimming expenses where it makes sense, but must also explore ways to elevate our presence in the community and reach out to new members. We need to take every opportunity we can to enjoy each other’s company and turn our fundraisers into “FUN”raisers. Life is short, let’s live it up!
“As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God's varied grace.” 1 Peter 4:10 ESV
Your Obedient Servant,
Collis O. Townsend