What does your Stewardship fund?
Your pledge helps to fund the mission and ministry of St. John the Evangelist.* We have broken our budget down into 7 Mission Areas as follows**:
Diocesan Pledge (11%)
Our Diocesan Pledge goes to support the work and mission of the Diocese of Chicago. Each congregation is asked to contribute our Common Mission Share, which is about 15% of our previous year’s budget. Just as we ask individuals and families to pledge toward the work of this congregation, the Diocese relies on the pledges of our congregations to fund its work and ministry. We are currently pledging less than 10% of our Common Mission Share. Just as we are asking you to prayerfully consider increasing your pledge to St. John’s, we are committed to increasing our pledge to the Diocese each year until we have met our Common Mission Share.
While the Church is primarily a place for worship and Christen formation, there is also a business component to the church that is responsible for paying the bills, making sure that all the behind the scenes tasks necessary for weekly worship are done, maintaining church records and archives, and other non-glamorous work. Additionally, each member of the clergy takes vows at their ordination to take their place in the councils of the Church, this means that for clergy there is a certain amount of work that takes place at the Deanery and Diocesan levels of governance which is often not seen by members of the Parish.
Building & Grounds (26%)
While we have been blessed with a beautiful church campus, our buildings are beginning to show their age. This is a budget area that has historically been underfunded, and as a result, we paid significantly more to maintain and repair our buildings than we have budgeted. This year’s budget will necessarily reflect a significant increase in the Buildings & Grounds Mission Area as we continue to address a number of deferred maintenance projects that have now become urgent.
Music Ministry (6%)
Music is at the heart of Episcopal/Anglican worship and has been a strong tradition at St. John’s. Research has shown over and again that the two areas that grow churches are strong music programs and strong youth programs. Rebuilding our Music Ministry needs to be a priority for this coming year, however we have come to realize that it will require a greater commitment from our budget. We will continue to search for a new Director of Music this year, unfortunately, there are fewer and fewer organists/choir directors to select from each year. More organists are retiring than are entering the field, this may require us to rethink our music program, but in the meantime, if we want to hire a qualified organist/choir director, it will take significantly more from our budget than we have been accustomed to. Additionally, our organ is not new anymore, and is in need of urgent maintenance and upgrade in order to extend its serviceable lifespan.
We are a sacramental community in which worship is at the heart of our being. The costs associated with worship include such items as altar supplies and other liturgical supplies. COVID-19 has changed the way we do just about everything, but two will particularly impact our worship budget this year. The first is increased copy costs since the current guidelines from the Bishop’s Office do not allow us to share Prayer Books or reuse service bulletins. The other increase will be costs associated with live-streaming our services as COVID-19 has led us into new ways of worshiping together.
Christian Formation (6%)
Christian formation across the life-span is necessary for thriving churches. We have been offering Christian formation opportunities with some regularity for adults, however, we have not been so faithful with our children and youth. These need to be priorities this year, as youth and children’s ministries are proportionally related to the health and growth of the church. Increases in this Mission Area reflect the need for better curriculum and supplies for children and youth ministries, participation in the College for Congregational Development (as the Diocese required in the Letter of Agreement between the Vestry and the Rector), and additional resources for Sacred Ground listening circles planned for this year in response to continued incidents of racism in our community and our nation.
Outreach & Pastoral Care (15%)
Churches should be spending a significant percentage of their budgets on outreach, if for no other reason than Jesus gave us the mission to go to all the nations, to make disciples, and to baptize in the name of our Triune God. Our outreach budget has historically been low, Some of the increase in this line item reflects outreach that has been “hidden” in the budget in the past due to in kind donations and other forms of fundraising. The significant increase in this year’s budget for outreach will be the anticipated pilgrimage/mission to Navajoland, which the youth are hoping to be able to lead in the summer of 2021.
* These percentages are estimates based on early drafts of the Annual Budget. The proposed draft of the budget will be presented to the Vestry by December and shared with members of the congregation to ask questions and comment on in December, before the Vestry approves a final budget in January.
**You will notice that there is not a Mission Area for “Staff Salaries and Benefits” this year. Instead, we have determined the amount of time each staff member dedicates to each Mission Area and have incorporated those costs accordingly.