From the Dean's Desk
Saint Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral
The Very Rev. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, Dean
Mr Paul Lakeman, Senior Warden
28 May 2021
RE: Mid-year Financial Update
Be present, Spirit of God,
within us, your dwelling place and home,
that this house may be one where
all darkness is penetrated by your light,
all troubles calmed by your peace,
all evil redeemed by your love,
all pain transformed in your suffering,
and all dying glorified in your risen life.
-The New Zealand Prayer Book
Dear Saint Markans,
Please find below the text of this past Sunday’s financial message from our Senior Warden, Paul Lakeman, in which he outlines our present financial challenges – from which circumstances they arise and toward which future hopes they point (find link to video of this message here
Before you attend to the message itself, I want to simply commend your Council’s Executive and Financial Teams, along with our incredible Business Office Staff, for helping us navigate the practical financial challenges that have arisen as a result of the COVID pandemic, and I want to thank the leadership of our Cathedral Foundation and all of YOU for your sacrificial generosity to ensure Saint Mark’s continues to be a spiritual home and sure foundation, both physically and virtually, amidst the myriad challenges of our present time. We simply could not participate in God’s life-giving mission of love and liberation without all these many hands and hearts contributing their best to the life and work we share.
We have done miraculous work to continue undeterred toward our vision of a Cathedral congregation more deeply grounded in the Love of God and more broadly reaching in our Love of Neighbor. To continue that trajectory, we need your help, which is the focus of the note below. Please know that your Staff has already absorbed a large portion of this deficit by way of a 10% furlough for the past six months, and that we continue to be extremely cautious in our soft expenses. The costs we now need to cover are simply the costs for doing Church well – not pursuing further growth, which we still need in our near future – but simply to retain the growth we’ve achieved these past seven years.
To those who’ve already contributed to the solution, thank you. To those who’ve not, please prayerfully consider doing so at your soonest convenience.
I remain yours, in Christ,
The Very Rev. Paul J. Lebens-Englund, Dean VII
A message from Senior Warden, Paul Lakeman:
I want to first welcome our new members. You are the lifeblood and future of St. Marks. I hope you will avail yourself of the many opportunities to worship and engage with us.
I will be honest. This is a conversation about Cathedral finances. As you can imagine and as with other organizations, the pandemic has hit us hard. We need your help. I will get right to the point. Then I’ll explain why we are where we are.
If you are new to the congregation, we would surely encourage and hope you would make a pledge to your new home. If you are not new and have not gotten around to making a pledge, consider doing it now. And if you have made a pledge, I prayerfully ask that, if possible, you stretch a little more.
Now a fair question is why and how did we get here?
In November 2019, your Council approved the hiring of a Canon Pastor and increasing the time commitment of additional staff members to address our growing internal needs and external Community Mission. We also reorganized our business office operation. Roughly about $200,000.
Thanks to Stuart MacDonald, our stewardship chair, we had an aggressive pledge effort that brought in about $915,000 which was about $75,000 more than the year before.
Thanks to Fred Moore and the Cathedral Foundation Board, they made an additional commitment to assist us over the next few years as we grew the Stewardship levels to meet the newly committed needs. We were on a good path.
In March 2020, as you know, we were hit with a world-wide, hundred-year pandemic that shut everything down, including St. Mark’s. Gone was our plate revenue, our rental income, and a few other income sources. Fortunately, we did manage to acquire a $150,000 grant from the Federal Government to help us even things out and we got through 2020 relatively unscathed.
2021 has been a different story. We planned for $960,000 in pledges in 2021, again based on 2020 success. We had planned on being able to worship together sooner than now and we hoped by this time to have a return of some regular alternative revenue streams.
None of that has happened.
Our pledge commitments now sit at $830,000 and unlike 2020 we were not eligible for additional PPP funds in 2021. To help alleviate some of the financial pressure, we reluctantly asked the staff in February to take a 10 percent reduction in compensation which they have been enduring with great spirit and dedication. We are especially grateful to them.
That staff sacrifice is scheduled to end this summer.
Even with additional Foundation support and a bequest of $60,000 that has helped, it still leaves us with about a $100,000 hole to fill.
I know this is a lot to ask. But I will say it again. If you are a new member, please make a pledge. If you are a member who has not made a pledge, please do so, and if you have already made a pledge, we respectfully ask you to consider increasing it. The easiest way to do that, is to go here
to pledge or here
to make a one-time additional gift (select ‘General Fund’ in the drop-down), or you may simply call the Business Office at 612.870.7800.
There are friends, neighbors, and mission partners in the community who have depended on us during this uncertain time, and we need to keep our dedicated staff engaged and tuned-in to meet that obligation. Our mission at St. Mark’s is to gather community, to transform lives, and to change the world, but above all to spread God’s word as far as we can. We can do this together.