By Tricia McColl, Parish Council Member
I’m here today with Father Jerry because I told our parish council that are budget problems are not a big deal. We just need to tell our people what we need and they will be here to do what’s right.
I’m relatively new to the parish compared to most of you. It’s been about 7 years now and the one thing I know is that the generosity of this group has always been amazing. I’ve organized the Bayside Christmas program for the last 4 years and I see more volunteers from our parish than families in need. Tens of thousands of dollars are donated to the sisters for Casa de Los Pobres for Christmas and back to school. And on and on…..
I joined the Parish Council about a year ago and was surprised at how much time we spend stressing over budget, trying to decrease costs and avoiding increasing income. There is a reluctance to let people know we need money… not even so much more money, just consistency in our income. This past year was a little out of the ordinary with the flood in the hall, but on a regular basis, our year end includes a special plea to make ends meet. We can do better that that.
We are a very small parish compared to our neighbors, so it’s really important that we all participate on a regular basis. Our demographics are also a little different. We have a lot of empty nesters and retired folks with more time for vacations and long weekends, so we may not be here every Sunday. Even with the best of intentions we don’t always remember to cover those vacation weekends. The easiest way to help consistency is to switch to electronic giving. It’s easy, follow the instructions in the bulletin and online. Take the worry out of remembering and it’s easy to track your donations during the year and at year end.
If something happens that you need to change it – you can. It’s not like cancelling your cable TV, no one will give you a hard time. So, why not do it? I’ll admit that I didn’t want to do it. I knew it was easier, but I didn’t want to be thought of as the flake who doesn’t contribute by the ushers collecting at the offertory. I’m not the only one who thinks that. Many of us have laughed about putting a blank envelope in the basket …..that’s so silly. I promise you the ushers will not think twice… . I’ll also admit that I still couldn’t get over it. I finally switched because I ran out of checks and ordering new paper checks was harder than switching. I should have done It sooner, it’s just so much simpler. You can increase your Christmas and Easter gifts if you’d like or add a check in those months.
The good and the bad about electronic giving is that it is out of sight and out of mind. I have to admit that I haven’t increased my gift for cost of living. Yes, we have cost of living increase here as well as at home. All of you who have older homes know that it takes more than glue and paperclips to keep the plumbing working. I will commit to increase my contribution by $10 a week and I encourage each of you to consider that as well. For me that’s two Starbucks coffees. A $10 increase would go a long way toward putting us back in the black. I know we always mange to find the money when needed even if it’s a special request, but your pastor and council hate doing that with a passion — I’m here because I said I know you will respond and help and it’s our fault for not having asked sooner.
I know there are some people that have a harder time giving on a weekly basis and one gift before year end, just in time for taxes, works best. That’s fine too. You can do that with electronic giving as well. Letting us know what we can count on will help us for planning purposes.
For those that give weekly, please think about All Hallows at year end too. I hate to admit that when I have a really good year, I’m usually scrambling at the last minute to make donations. I’m usually thinking about new charities and new opportunities…. let’s not forget our All Hallows parish. We’re trying to get back to having reserves after our little flood, so if this year has been a good year, keep our parish in mind as well.
At the risk of preaching to the choir, I’d like to share some very special words of wisdom from my mother. “Never be afraid to give to others, you will always get more in return”. She said it many different ways on many different occasions, but I have always remembered her message and I’ve always found it to be true. Whether it’s supporting Bayside adopt a family or whether it’s supporting the work of our parish and making sure our church is here to serve ourselves and our children and grandchildren into the future, I have certainly found joy and satisfaction that is well beyond any monetary reward. And on the financial side of the fence, while I have worked hard all my life, there are too many occasions of being in the right place at the right time to just call it good luck.
Please reflect on what makes sense for you and your family to help us get back on track to a balanced budget we can count on. I promise there will be no gold-plated fixtures that suddenly appear in our church. We will still use paper clips and glue to keep the budget down, but we should spend less time on how to make ends meet and more time on how we can make All Hallows an even better parish community.