A Way Forward
— On April 15, 2020, your SsAM vestry passed a balanced operating budget for calendar year 2020. This revised operating budget is based on recommendations from the COVID-19 Taskforce and the Finance Committee. We estimate our income for 2020 will be 13% less than last year, for a total of $628,013.
So far, members have been able to honor their pledges. Thank God! This budget assumes 90% of our members will be able to honor their pledges through the end of the year. Is that a realistic expectation? Let us know if it is not. If you know you cannot honor your pledge in full, please click here to contact Fr. David Andrews. As your pastor, he wants to offer a compassionate ear. He will keep what you say confidential.
Many are now making their contributions electronically. If you are interested in electronic payments, please click here to contact our church administrator, D-L Casson. Please do NOT include any sensitive account information.
More good news is that the investment policy of the Diocese of Delaware is very conservative. Income from our endowments will only go down 5% this year, even though the Dow Jones dropped 20% between March 1 and April 15. More good news is that this operating budget does not include any endowment draws in 2020.
Also hopeful is that our church, like many non-profits, is applying for the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program Loan (PPPL). IF that loan is approved, and IF the federal government forgives it, our budget will be in much better shape by the end of 2020.
Less operating income means less money for operating expenses. Most of our operating expenses — 2/3 of our budget — goes to personnel. Those costs are NOT cut in this budget. Also, we have NOT cut the amount of our outreach giving to charities — $17,660 — which is equal to 10% of the investment income from our endowments, a tithe. Christian education — $3,220 — remains uncut. Most cuts were made elsewhere. In particular, the Diocese of Delaware has reduced all Acceptance/Fair Share payments by 25%. Also, for the balance of 2020, our music program must be more creative in the execution of its ministry with a much-reduced budget. Major property maintenance and improvement projects were also eliminated from the operating budget.
In all of this please remember that this operating budget is the Vestry’s first fiscal response in light of a fast-changing situation. Other responses will follow! One next step is for the Vestry, with the Finance Committee’s recommendations, to develop a priority list of operating expenses to fund as other income is received. Vestry and Finance are also supporting stronger accounting controls necessary to better track week-by-week income and expenses, with Vestry continuing to review finances twice a month.
One last comment. This newly-approved, balanced operating budget does NOT include any capital/non-operating expenses for 2020. Capital projects like a new HVAC system for the church and new boiler for the rectory will be governed by a capital budget the Vestry has yet to create. Stay tuned!
And, please, remember to stay connected with folks at SsAM. Reach out to others by phone, in writing, or on the computer!
Danny Schweers, with contributions from D-L Casson, Norwood Coleman, Yvonne Gordon, Peggy Shane, and Dan Young
NOTE: This Vestry View is our way of connecting with you about the issues facing SsAM. We are sending the Vestry View out by email and posting it on the SsAM website. ACTION ITEM: Click here to send us your comments!