Our vestry meeting on March 25, 2020, was unlike any other vestry meeting I have ever attended because each one of us took lots of time to talk about our own lives and not church business. We sensed that, in this time of pandemic, connecting to each other was fundamental to church business.
We talked about our existing medical conditions, family situations, separations, business closures, upcoming weddings in limbo, unemployment filings, educations interrupted, on-line meetings, trying to teach on-line when we are technology-challenged, concern for family friends who have tested positive, enjoying extra time with family, thanksgiving for monthly chemo treatments continuing, thanksgiving for slower simpler days with more time for ourselves, concerns for compromised immune systems, thanksgiving for communities re-discovered, challenges going to work every day, worries about family members who work in health care systems, thanksgiving for grocery shopping online with home deliveries, going for walks, checking in with friends by telephone and the Internet, upcoming baptisms in limbo, concern for a daughter who is nursing patients in San Francisco, concerns for a son and daughter-in-law working at a medical clinic in Southern California with inadequate equipment, stress while working hospice at three different hospitals, home schooling our children, and concerns for our children with pre-existing breathing problems.
With those connections made, we discussed the new COVID-19 Task Force. What is in front of us is big and has not peaked yet. It will have a substantial impact on our church, and not just in terms of finances, though church finances is one of the Vestry’s biggest responsibilities. Our challenge is how to respond. We acknowledge unprecedented circumstances but look forward in hope. Drastic measures may be needed to sustain our church financially as we move to a new sense of normal. We cannot expect any approved budget to be one that will accurately predict actual expenses in the year to come, but we still need to approve a budget. How should we proceed? We are looking to this COVID-19 Task Force to offer analysis of the current situation and for it to offer to the Vestry a range of options for action. At the moment, the team is Gary Jolly (Facilitator), Tom Angell, Rachel Gaskell, Yvonne Gordon, Bill Kaufmann, and Danny Schweers, with D-L Casson as a resource.
Church members are encouraged to use electronic transfers to make their donations to SsAM. We are no longer passing the plate on Sunday mornings — or even meeting Sunday mornings! Making an electronic transfer is not as spiritually fulfilling as seeing one’s offering placed on the altar, but it still pays the bills. To set up an electronic transfer, please contact the church. You can also use the secure on-line credit card payment system on the SsAM website. Just scroll down to the bottom of any page.
Please pray for us, your vestry representatives. It is easy for us to focus on budget issues, on revenues and expenses, and forget that our church does not live by bread alone. Pray that we will be ever alert to inspiration from the Holy Spirit and for God’s miracles, updating our maps when the landscape changes. May our ways be ever oriented to true north, towards our guiding light, our Lord, God, Jesus Christ, redeemer of heaven and earth.
Danny Schweers, 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: We want your comments! Connecting to each other is fundamental to church business. Click here to contact us.