Dear Friends in Christ,
What a year! We started this new decade so full of hope for the future. Then the pandemic hit, and we’ve endured 9 months of confusion, frustration, danger, and fear. Our expectations changed as we faced new challenges, and for some, great loneliness. However, together we have endured and adapted, abiding in the love and peace of Jesus – the one thing in our lives that will always be certain. The news of the vaccines brings us hope of new beginnings in the foreseeable future.
We have learned new skills –most of our programs continue on Zoom—which help strengthen our faith and keep us connected. Our new livestreaming system has expanded our reach with more than 300 households joining us for worship every week. We’ve provided financial support to individuals and local charities that have been hit hard by the pandemic. Construction and renovation work has begun on our expansion with completion in June 2021.
Your generosity has helped make this possible. Our commitment to faithful stewardship empowers us to proclaim the Gospel, even under the worst of circumstances. As we approach another new year, we invite you to experience the joy of giving by making a sacred offering to our Lord in support of the mission that he has given us. We encourage you to spend some time in prayerful reflection and allow the Holy Spirit to guide you in your decision about the gift or pledge you choose to make. Together, we can find the resources to keep St. Luke’s strong and healthy in 2021.
Our 2021budget is bare-bones. All compensation will be frozen at 2020 levels, and funding to programs static or reduced. There are only two increases in expenditures. Firstly, in health insurance and secondly, additional funds to our Sexton position as the expansion has more space to be cleaned.
Each year, we lose sources of funding. Pledges are lost for a number of reasons. This year it is over $24,100. Also, a $24,000 grant from the diocese this year has expired. Given the limits of the past year, we haven’t had many new members who, in the past, have consistently proven to be very generous. From this source alone, we anticipate $10,000 less in 2021 than in previous years, if the pandemic continues into the summer. The total of the lost funding is just shy of $60,000.
To overcome this loss, and stay strong in 2021, without cuts to ministry, we are asking for a significant increase in giving from everyone. We humbly ask that all who can afford to do so, prayerfully consider increasing your giving by 15%, or as much as you are able. When we first saw these figures, we felt considerable apprehension. But we remember how many times we’ve been astounded by the generosity of the people of St. Luke’s. We’ve reflected on the many challenges we’ve faced and overcome as a parish, the many times people went above and beyond and made things happen in ways no one thought possible. So we come to you confident that we will meet the mark.
Take a few days to think and pray about this request. Then, within a week of receiving this letter, please respond, so that we will know what our potential ministry in 2021 is likely to be.
We are creatures created in the image of our Creator, the God of all good gifts. Giving generously is embedded in our spiritual DNA. That’s why faithful stewardship feels so good. It’s a natural and right thing to do, an end in itself that also provides the means to many other ends that bless so many people. This parish’s mission and ministry is vitally important, more so today than at any other time. Believing we will meet the challenges we face now, as we have in the past, the Vestry and Clergy look forward to hearing from you soon.
Yours in Christ,
The Reverend Allison Caudill, Associate Rector
Peter Finnis, Treasurer
Bob Towler, Senior Warden