Did you know that there is a ministry tool called the “Rector’s Discretionary Fund?” If so, do you know what that fund is used for? As the name suggests, this is a discretionary account that is controlled solely by the Rector and is mandated by the Canons (our Church law). While these funds are “discretionary,” their intended use is to provide support for those in need. The recipients of this fund are completely anonymous and are known only to the Rector. I report the amount of any deposits and expenditures to the Vestry on a regular basis, but who and what the funds are used for is not shared with anyone, and when time comes for this account to be audited, it is done so by someone who has no affiliation with St. John’s.
I share this with you, because I have become aware that many people do not understand this fund, and because a couple of meetings ago, your Vestry approved a change in how this fund will be funded. First, let me emphasize that this fund does a tremendous amount of work. In the last year we have been able to provide emergency shelter to three families, we have prevented a number of individuals from having their utilities turned off during cold months, we have fed several families, we have provided Christmas dinner and gifts for a family facing tragedy, and we have provided grants to ministries doing very important work in our region. These are just some of the uses of this discretionary fund.
In the past, this work has been funded from the General Budget and has been somewhat hidden under the category “Outreach”. Beginning January 1st, we will remove this funding from the General Budget and instead begin funding it from a special collection on a designated Sunday each month. This will enable the congregation to actively participate in worthwhile ministry that is too often invisible. So when we announce in January which Sunday the collection will support the Rector’s Discretionary Fund, please be generous, this money is used entirely to care for those who need our help the most, those who Jesus especially calls us to love, those on the margins of society, just trying to get by.
Fr. Jeremy is an Episcopal Priest and a Franciscan Friar. He is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Florida with a Bachelor's in History, and Virginia Theological Seminary in Alexandria, Virginia with a Master of Divinity. He currently serves as Rector of the Episcopal Church of St. John the Evangelist in Flossmoor, IL and is a Friar in the Community of Francis & Clare.