St. Stephen’s’ members are generous people. We provide almost $460,000 annually to pay our staff, operate our buildings, and run our programs. Approximately $350,00 of that comes directly from the offerings of our members (most of the rest comes from the rental of our space).
Last year we managed to adjust several of our staff salaries to bring them into better alignment. We made several costly repairs and improvements to our buildings. We were also able to retire a sizable portion of a debt we have been dragging along with us into each new year.
But what we were not able to do, entering 2016, despite having named it as a priority, was budget for an associate clergy position to replace the one held for three years by Clara King. This is disconcerting for several reasons: (1) the pastoral, program, and administrative demands on the clergy at St. Stephen’s cannot reasonably be met by one person; (2) reliance on a single priest limits the reach, and therefore the growth, of our various ministries; and (3) succession planning cannot be properly managed without a second ongoing clergy position.
Going forward, the Corporation is considering that we hire a part-time minister in the fall with funds available within the budget. This position would be dedicated to our young people and specifically to a yearlong Confirmation program. Then, following an ambitious fall stewardship campaign, we plan to budget for a full-time position beginning in January 2017. We’re generous people. We can do this.