May 7, 2020
Dear Fellow Parishioners:
As we have all continued to focus on coping, staying healthy, and adjusting to these uncertain times, our sense of church has also required a new focus. We are gratified at how quickly our parish has adapted to remote worship, prayer, and fellowship. Our attendance for virtual prayer services on Sunday mornings is regularly exceeding 100 with individual and coupled participation; virtual coffee hours are equally robust and have added an unanticipated element of deepening communication to those we are just getting to know. We are equally grateful for the ongoing generosity of many faithful givers. During this season of virtual community, we are benefitting from new generosity and participation as well, extending to diverse locations across the U.S. and abroad including California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas, El Salvador, and Nigeria.
While the physical space we love is closed, the spiritual impact of St. Margaret’s on each of us, and on our various ministries, must continue. We are prayerfully considering how our resources can best be allocated to furthering our mission, even as these times have created financial and logistical challenges.
Over the past year we have embraced a new optimism fueled by membership growth, a stronger commitment to giving, increases in confirmations and baptisms, and a noticeable desire to engage in parish life. With these strengths to sustain us, we must now pull together to meet the challenges along our pathway.
Accordingly, your Vestry has determined that the budget developed last December is not operational for the times we now face. In its place a revised budget has been developed that is realistic about how our inability to convene in our space will impact revenue, staffing, and the design of our ministries going forward. We believe strongly that our growing parish offers much in the way of talent and resources. We will need to lean on these assets in the coming months. As we adjust to our new realities, some past practices will not be feasible and new practices will be revealed.
This new budget has necessitated reductions in several areas that are no longer sustainable. Even with these reductions, we are anticipating a much larger draw on our reserves than previously planned. While this draw will help us in the short term, we will need to work on replenishing our resources over the next months and years.
The unavailability of our physical space has also had a dramatic impact on the reach of our Charlie’s Place ministry. The Diocese is actively engaged with the several parishes in our region who offer homeless ministries to develop a new approach that could help underwrite and sustain these efforts in new and efficient ways. We continue to focus on grants and donations to sustain Charlie’s Place; ultimately, any debt in the Charlie’s Place budget must also be absorbed by St. Margaret’s.
We know that these times are also creating added stress in terms of job security, the care of loved ones, and maintaining one’s own financial stability. We are happy that so many of our parish are functioning relatively well despite these tensions, and we are here for you if you have special needs.
Because our ministries are totally dependent on your financial generosity, we ask you to prayerfully consider your investment in the promise and hope of St. Margaret’s. If you are up to date with your committed gifts, we thank you. If you are trying to catch up, we understand. If you have the capacity to give more, please do.
Thank you for your faith and your commitment to our mission,
Jane Quenk, Senior Warden
Michael Armstrong, Junior Warden