Seeking intimacy with the Lord
Growing in understanding and deepening our conversión
Loving one another as Jesus loves us
Offering our talents, time and resources
Embracing the dignity of each person
Parish Finance Report
I will talk about the report you have in your hands. But first let me put in in
context. God has been blessing this community of Sacred Heart Chapel richly and
in many ways.
Our pastoral staff, with the addition of Monica Swift as Director of Whole
Parish Faith Formation, and Yolanda Maldonado as the secretary/office
manager is strong, unified and creative.
The pastoral council has been faithfully implementing the AWE process,
resulting in strengthened and expanded ministries.
Our ministry to the sick and homebound has become more comprehensive
Our high school youth ministry is being reformed as we speak with a focus on
both youth and adult leadership.
We have become more focused on how we invite, welcome and engage
people in the parish. The Engagement office and its dedicated volunteers
have been reaching out to make contact with both new and existing
Over the past year we have welcomed approximately 70 new families into
the parish and will continue to invite them to become engaged in parish life.
Currently we have some 120 children in our faith formation program.
And an exciting sign of growth is that we’ve seen approximately 30-40 new
people become part of Small Church Communities where they are seeking to
live more deliberately in Christian community, formed by the Gospel and
centered on the Eucharist. There are two new Spanish language groups
All of this, and much more that I haven’t highlighted here, is evidence of the Holy
Spirit alive and well at Sacred Heart Chapel. We have much for which to be
Rooted in Faith
You have seen improvements in the plaza which add to the dignity of our building.
There is more detail work to finish. This has been done completely using the
funds from the Rooted in Faith campaign. These funds for restricted use are
separate from our operating budget. Thank you to all who have generously made this possible by your fulfillment of your Rooted in Faith pledges. (There is also a Rooted in Faith update in the bulletin today).
To bring you up to date on our Roof/HVAC/Lighting project, while all permissions are in place, we have been stalled by the bank’s process for granting the loan. That should be completed very soon. Once the loan has closed, contractors will begin the interior work both bringing our lighting up to code and working in the attic to make repairs to the structure of the roof. The work replacing the HVAC units and the replacement of the roof surface is scheduled for the spring.
The improvements will help to lower our energy costs thus making the loan payments manageable.
This brings us to our month to month operating budget and the report you have in your hands. None of the growth or improvements that we have seen and will continue to see would be imaginable without your generosity in giving to the parish. We stand on the shoulders of those who first sacrificed to build this Church, both the community and the building. The story is like that of the five loaves and two fishes that Jesus multiplied to feed the 5,000. With their faith in God’s abundant care, the members of Sacred Heart Chapel have offered what they had to sustain this parish and God has blessed and multiplied it. This continues to be the case in our days.
But that being true, we are also at an important moment. While we have always lived week to week and month to month and gotten by, that has become more difficult. For the last couple of years we have not been able to stay even, to pay all the bills as they come in. Though our income has increased, and I thank you for that, our expenses have out-paced our income growth.
As your pastor, and together with the Finance Council and pastoral staff, I am committed to good stewardship of parish resources. We are currently in the process of reexamining our cash flow to catch any unnecessary expenditures, to see where we might “tighten our belt.” But I can say that we are already operating on a very lean budget. We will look for cuts, but I must also help you to understand how we need to increase our regular parish income.
Review of the Report
Now, these reports with all their numbers and accounting jargon can be confusing, at least I find them so. To begin with the bottom line, (which is not at the bottom but about 3 inches up from the bottom – Total Parish Surplus/Deficit) the report shows that we finished the year over $10,800.00 in the black. This is deceiving because the left-over funds from Rooted in Faith (Plaza) are also in that number. Adjusting for that, we would show about the same as last year, ending with a surplus of $5,500.00. That’s the bottom line and seems like good news at first glance. But it doesn’t tell the whole story.
When I arrived at the parish 15 years ago, Sacred Heart owed the diocese $65,000.00 in unpaid assessments – these are the funds each parish is assessed on a monthly basis for the operation of the diocesan offices. (17% for a parish w/o a school). Over the years we had managed to pay our diocesan assessment and also to pay a bit more each month reducing the debt to about $45,000.00. But over the past couple of years, not only have we been unable to pay down the old debt, we have added to it, unable to stay current with our monthly assessments. In 2013 our assessment debt had risen back to $62,000.00. Deficit spending has continued over the past year. (Our income has not covered expenses.) Now our total debt for diocesan assessments is over $91,000.00. We have, ironically, been robbing Peter to pay Paul. While the Bishop will not come and turn off our electricity for non-payment, it will ultimately affect our relationship with the diocese. I take this responsibility very seriously and feel the weight of that debt upon the parish.
You may ask why we can’t cover our expenses when the total parish receipts for this year seem so much higher than last year. ($633,000, up from $551,000) Much of the apparent increase is actually just the movement of funds into our checking account for the payment of plaza renovation bills, for payments to help for the poor, and designated donations such as for the new chairs. These do not affect our operating budget. Our Sunday collection receipts have increased this year thanks to your generosity. But we have not kept up with expenses.
Some of our increased costs results from staffing changes, including two new hires, for both the parish office manager and the director of faith formation. We also needed to move from a part time to a full time financial manager as diocesan requirements for reporting have increased dramatically. Beyond personnel, it was also a cold and snowy winter. Painfully, some winter electric bills were over
$7,000. We also suffered some losses due to break-ins in the garage necessitating the replacement of equipment.
As you review the report, you will see some colored lines. Their explanation is in the same color at the bottom of the page. The tan one under Receipts shows $33,000 as income from Rooted in Faith. These are funds carried over (that hadn’t been spent) from last year. The green one under disbursements is higher due to some expenditures for the Roof project that will be charged to the loan when it is approved.
One line of disbursements is significantly higher this year: “Community outreach” (line 16). It includes our help to the immigrants and the poor through the Jacinto fund, also our meals for the homeless, and the scholarships given through the Pauline Rodgers endowment.
Line 30, at the bottom, Restricted Funds, are funds that we have available between the Rodgers Scholarship funds, the Frank Jacinto account and the Memorial fund. 90% of that is the scholarship fund.
Please feel free to ask me or any member of the finance council any questions you may have. If we don’t have the answer, we will find it.
So what does this mean for us? It means that this is one of those times where we have to pull together and sacrifice for the sake of the parish.
There are some who are sacrificing plenty already to give what they are giving. I am grateful for your commitment to the parish and to the life of the Church, and if you are doing all that you able I ask no more.
There are many more, however, who are generous and love the parish and may be very active in other ways but have not yet taken the step to serious financial stewardship for the parish. Perhaps you are one who has not yet made the conscious connection between your spiritual life and your financial life. I have the conviction that if every parishioner prayed sincerely about how much to give on a weekly or monthly basis to the Parish, we would be fine. Our needs would be met. The answer to our financial need is not in multiplying fund-raising activities. It lies with each of us. I have been tithing 10% since I arrived here, most recently
through on-line giving. But I had not reassessed the amount of my tithe in several years. So before I stood up here to ask you to do so, I have done it, and I have increased my monthly giving to the parish. If I could not have managed it, I would not have done so. But I believe God will provide and so I did. This is the process I ask of you as individuals and as households.
These are the hard questions that only you can answer:
How conscious is your commitment to support the parish?
Are you setting a percentage aside with each pay period or are you still giving according to what is in your wallet at the moment?
Are you giving as a response to God’s love in your life, or for some other lesser motivation?
Can you do more?
As I said, only you can answer these questions.
I ask you to accept this challenge and take this to prayer. How is the Lord calling you to give to the life of the Church at Sacred Heart Chapel?
I also ask you to seriously consider using on-line giving.
Finance council members will make themselves available to help you if you have questions or need help signing up for it. It makes consistency in your commitment easy, even when you are out of town or visiting another parish. It is also easy to update or change your commitment.
I am grateful to all who responded to my previous request for an increase of $5 in your weekly donation. Many of you have done so and it has helped. Some of you are able to do more, so I leave you with this challenge to pray and discern, and then to make a commitment to your parish according to your ability, with your faith in God’s generous care.
Brothers and sisters, God is blessing us richly on many levels. I know that he will bless us on the financial level too. But he will do this through you and me. The more we trust in him, the more we offer ourselves, the more blessed we will be. I sincerely thank you for all that you do for the parish. I thank you for your presence here to worship. It is truly and honor to serve as your pastor. May the Spirit show us the way forward, together. May God bless you and your families.