Today we were also presented with a "Strategic Plan" which said a lot of good things but said nothing about spreading the Gospel of Christ to an increasingly hostile world. Any plan that fails to bring in the great commission (Matthew 28:16-20) is destined to fail.
Last year's news was not good as attendance dropped 17.8% from 8,482 in 2012 to 6,970 in 2013. Baptized members dropped 22% from 454 to 353. Baptisms fell from 6 to 2. There were zero confirmations, zero reaffirmations, zero weddings, and 12 funerals in 2013. 2 people transferred in and 14 transferred out and 55 were moved to inactive status.
Despite this terrible news, the church was only $8,995 in the red for 2013 (out of a total budget of $442,910). I am not sure why people applauded when these numbers were presented. I guess it wasn't as bad as everyone thought it would be.
The budget for 2014 projects a $53,710 shortfall.
In 2009 this church made "draconian cuts" when faced with a $621,137 budget and a similar projected shortfall.
This year, the people are asked to give more money.
Yet there is room for cuts to be made.
In the past, this parish has withheld its pledge to the diocese when we needed belt tightening.
The Bishop's current take is $40,000/yr.
That $40,000 gets you less than absolutely nothing. It gets you a "Task Force on Unity" which will only accelerate the decline in baptisms, confirmations, and marriages by allowing the blessing of same sex couplings to take place in the church. That money also helps feed 815 and its lawsuits against your brothers and sisters in Christ.
Back in 2009 I wrote the following about that remarkably prophetic annual parish meeting,
A recommendation from the floor was approved by a narrow margin for the vestry to send any end of the year surplus in 2009 to the diocese to make up for the "shortfall." I am aware that one person objected because they were afraid that the next Bishop of the EDUSC might try to lead the diocese towards SSBs and a new BCP.BINGO!
That next bishop turned out to be Bishop Waldo who is leading the diocese down that very path.
The Sunday Budget Blues are not unique to this time or place, so I am sticking with what I wrote in 2009,
"If you preach the Word of God, it will come."The corollary is also true,
"If you preach any other gospel, you will be left singing the Parish Budget Blues.And how much does it cost to preach the Gospel of Christ?
"If I proclaim the gospel, this gives me no ground for boasting, for an obligation is laid on me, and woe betide me if I do not proclaim the gospel! For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward; but if not of my own will, I am entrusted with a commission. What then is my reward? Just this: that in my proclamation I may make the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my rights in the gospel..." (1 Corinthians 9)