As part of the transparent financial environment of our church, I wanted to continue my discussion from last week, where we showcased the wonderful gifts our Parish Family has provided this year to focus on our Mission: To Know, To Love, and To Serve God in His Church and Our Community. This week, I would like to provide you with the details of how we have used those gifts as the Expenses of Saint John the Evangelist.
When I first started in my current role as General Manager, Father John and I sat down to talk about the state of the church and his vision for how it should operate. One thing in particular stuck out to me when we were discussing the finances. He said “Don’t just treat the gifts we received as if you were own money, like a good business manager would. Treat them like they are your entire family’s. Like they are your child’s college fund and your aunt’s retirement plan and your grandfather’s social security all rolled into one. Do good with every check we sign and do what is right for the Parish Family.” That is what I have been attempting to do for all of us.
To do good, we have to be disciplined. We have to ensure what we are spending our resources on achieves the mission and the focus of our church. That does not mean to slash spending necessarily, but instead approach every facet of our organization and our functions with an eye of stewardship. It also means that we have to grow. Growth takes new ideas, new programs, and therefore new costs. From staffing to materials to food service, it means we find the sweet spot between efficiency and effectiveness for the mission. I gave our Parish staff this direction and I am so very proud that they have also been focusing their efforts in the same way. I asked them to reduce the overall expense of the current environment and programs by 3% this past year. I was not only anticipating the decrease in our overall Offertory due to the Capital Campaign, I knew we had a way to go on the path of stewardship. They responded by exceeding all expectations. Together, we actually reduced the overall Expenses of Saint John by 4% this past year to $3,126,061.19, down from Fiscal Year 2016’s $3,251,655.98:
This is astronomical, in reality, given the significant growth of in programs we have created this past year. With CYO, CAO, the increase in both youth and adult Faith Formation, and development in our Pastoral Programs, I had thought that these new efforts would have offset the decreases in our spending. However, the work of the Parish Staff paid off. We have had a significant reduction in the overall expense of supplies due to better safeguards and access controls on our closets. We have increased the standard hours worked by our staff for facilities support, which has cut down on our overtime costs and spread out the work for more staff members, reducing the burn-out factor. We have put in place proactive maintenance contracts for our facilities so an emergency call for a broken Air Conditioner does not come with a huge labor bill, and seen a significant reduction in our expense for those types of calls. All the way around, we have reduced the cost of our church to our Parish Family, while supporting more members than ever.
I did want to point out a few highlights of our expenses:
- We increased our spending on Pastoral Programs like mental and physiological counseling services to aid our Parish Family members who are hurting and in desperate need for support, but cannot afford it. We have counselors who meet here at the church to provide these services for individuals and families.
- We have put a special emphasis in supporting parishes in our Diocese that are not as fortunate as we are, including $50,000 to a parish in Sebring to start a new Catholic School.
- The percentage of our Expenses for Salary is now higher, at around 30%. This includes our Parish priests and retired clergy. This number is still well below the national average for Catholic Church, which is around 35%, and showcases our plans to increase our staffing to accommodate and support the new programs and efforts here at Saint John.
- We have instituted a new CYO Scholarship Program to ensure no child will ever be turned away from an activity here at Saint John due to their family’s financial position. From Faith Formation to CYO to Dance Competitions, we want to provide the opportunity for the gifts of our youth to shine and be nurtured.
Again, I want to thank you for the blessings you provide to our Parish Family. It is only through your generosity that we are able to achieve all the goals and aspirations our faith calls us into action for: to joyously love, support, heal and celebrate God’s creations and help our church live out our mission every day. God Bless you all!