Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Over these past weeks many visitors have commented on how beautiful the church, pastoral center and the ocean view are. You have created a campus that is beautiful and inspiring, and I am grateful to be the beneficiary of all you have been doing.
For some, who generously gave to the various capital campaigns, there is probably a sense of relief. However, as I received the financial report from last fiscal years, I am sad to report that we experienced a large operational deficit. As I look at the numbers, it seems that the amount given in the Sunday collection has been decreasing and the expenses have been increasing (and our utility bill is significantly higher than before we had our beautiful pastoral center).
At my first finance council meeting, the members recommended that we reduce expenses by more than $200,000. This reduction affects a number of our staff members, so I ask you to pray for them during this difficult time. We are also cutting non-staff expenses. However, some of the reduction, such as the parish not paying my salary or insurance, is only a temporary fix as we will need to pay for the new pastor next year.
During this stewardship month, we are all called to reflect upon all that God has done for us—every good thing we have, is a gift from Him. And after reflecting on His goodness to prayerfully ask ourselves (or as a family) if we are returning to Him an appropriate amount. The bible tells us that we should be giving the first 10% of our income back to Him in gratitude. Some may be giving this or even more. Others may not be able to jump to that threshold right away, but I ask you to prayerfully consider taking a step toward tithing. My experience of tithing is that it helps me to be free of the slavery of materialism. St. Edward’s is known to be a community of generous givers, and I am sure that after spending time in prayer we will each be more generous this coming year.
Please know of my prayers for you this week that as we celebrate Thanksgiving, that each of us will be filled with gratitude for all the Lord has done for us.
Bishop Tim Freyer