A MESSAGE FROM OUR WARDEN
THE CROSS, January 2020
Happy New Year!
Let me start by thanking everyone involved with our Christmas Eve service. From the musicians, LEMs and unseen elves we had another beautiful Christmas mass. I'll talk more about 2019 and 2020 at our annual meeting on 2/23 (snow date 3/1), but this year one of our focuses has been on sustainability. Nothing is guaranteed but I think we're heading in a good direction financially. When Rebecca gave notice the diocese sent us a trained professional to help us look at our operations. We learned we can only afford a 1/4-time priest. Why so few hours? Well a full-time priest is paid around $80,000 per year. Despite generous hearts our small numbers mean our pledges come to approximately $50,000 a year, and $50K hasn't covered our annual costs.
The good news is we own a desirable rectory (thank you Archie and your hard-working elves) whose market rent is approximately $18,000 per year. That means at 10 hours per week we only have to take approximately $2,000 from our operating budget to pay a new Rector, how can anyone live off $2,000 per year? Almost no one could. This is where our well-funded programs come into play. We have a grant that pays a program coordinator $20,000 per year for 10 hours
of work per week.
Thus, our new priest will focus 10 hours a week on leading St Andrew's and 10 hours on managing our programs, and in return will have free housing and will take home approximately $22,000 per year. Still a small sum but he is only committed to 20 hours per week with us. Remember what Bishop Gates told us in October. There are more churches with part time priests than full time priests in Massachusetts. If needed, Rectors are piecing multiple positions together to add up to full time work and full time pay. This set up will allow us to cover our expenses, stop operating into a negative, and maybe even have a few extra bucks for things like maintaining our buildings. Another component to our continued viability is growth, which is typically a function of outreach. Having our priest be the face of our programs as we had in the past makes a lot of sense if we want to see our church grow.
Now you might be thinking "no priest with program leading gifts is going to be looking for a part time job, need housing, and is up for the challenge of moving our church forward". I feared the same thing but God always provides, and we are blessed with more than one applicant who could be a great fit for us. The search committee has worked diligently to pair us with the right person, and all their efforts are about to pay off. I'll leave Lynn to fill you in but soon we will have a priest with the energy and creativity St. Andrew's requires and a responsible financial plan for a promising future.
Before I sign off, I'd like to thank one more group of people, all those involved in the creation, maintenance, and grant writing of our varied programs as they are a key component of this promising future.
Here's to a great 2020!