January 26, 2020: An Update on the 2020 Budget

Each year we as a church family go through a communal process of making financial pledges to the church to fund our mission and ministry. Some years we have a surplus. Some years we have less than we need. The vestry, chaired by Father Jadon and comprising representatives you elect, have the unenviable job of allocating our dollars and cents. This year, as last, the vestry passed a deficit budget. We are budgeting giving and other income of $584,063 and expenses of $649,468. Traditionally, we as a congregation give more and spend less than we budget, and we hope this will continue in 2020.

On the income side, overall pledges have fallen for several years, and parish leaders are watching this closely. Every reduced or lost pledge is noted. Demographically, All Souls is going through a period wherein a relatively large percentage of people each year are retiring and/or moving away. This reflects, in part, the fact that All Souls repopulated and grew rapidly 15-25 years ago. Many have been faithful parishioners for years, and their pledges reflect that. They are also largely clustered in a particular age range, with many reaching the end of successful careers. It often takes several new or increased pledges to replace one “mature” pledge. And, the current religious climate is different than it was 15-25 years ago. While we have many new members, and many give generously, many are younger, many do not plan to stay in DC long and/or are newer to church giving.

Looking carefully at our demographics, we have a large cluster of 55-80 and a relatively large cluster of 25-40 year olds. We have very few in between. When it comes to pledge income, this means that we are missing a middle generation. So, when mature pledgers leave, there is no one right behind them. We think there are a variety of reasons for this. Today’s generation is numerically smaller to begin with. They are also less religious, generally speaking. Many find their way to neighborhoods and suburbs that better accommodate families.

All Souls has also experienced some conflict in the not-too-distant past resulting in some departures. Some still faithful parishioners of All Souls are clearly unsure or unhappy about the past, the present, or the future, and are reflecting this in their giving. We as leaders, and as a congregation, must seek to understand and resolve these tensions. Your rector, wardens, and vestry are working hard in this regard. Our Holy Cow assessment is a meaningful part of this, and in February we will begin sharing what we are learning from what you told us. We are incorporating these results into a ministry and leadership review and report that we hope to finish and share by the end of March before discerning a 3-5 year strategic plan.

In the meantime, we are continuing to explore and develop plans for a potential, small, infant and toddler daycare program, which could help us put unused space to work while creating an additional stream of revenue.

On the expense side, we can cut very little without major consequences for our program. Over several years, we repeatedly reduced our budgets. This year we made further small cuts throughout the budget. Therefore, we reduced Mother Diana’s position from 4/5th time to half time as of February 1, maintaining the previously planned end to the position on June 30. As of February this position will be entirely funded by the diocese, and we are thankful for the bishop’s continued confidence and support. We also reduced the hours for our sexton and nursery caregivers in ways that should minimally affect our program. Of course, we regret the affect these reductions will have on our staff.

The 2020 budget also reduces our diocesan contribution from the requested 10% of our operating budget to 8%, and then makes up the difference with an endowment outreach grant to the diocese toward the many outreach programs and activities undertaken on our behalf.

The Endowment Board recommended a 2020 distribution of $69,595. Our endowment distribution may only be used for outreach, capital improvements, and new ministry projects, and the vestry allocated $30,000, $29,595, and $10,000, respectively.

The approved 2020 budget projects a deficit of approximately $65,000. We currently have non-restricted cash operating reserves of approximately $85,000. If necessary we will draw down up to $35,000 of these reserves, making up the difference with a larger draw from our other unrestricted fund, our rectory fund. While we have traditionally used this fund only for clergy housing expenses, the diocese has confirmed that there are no fund use restrictions. Furthermore, in some recent years we budgeted a withdrawal and avoided taking it because of a budget surplus. If we had taken all of the budgeted withdrawals over the years, our non-restricted cash operating reserve would be higher. With a 17.96% return in the rectory fund for 2019, between a good market year and the endowment board’s prudent management, the rectory fund achieved significant growth in value, leaving a $65,000 net increase at the end of the year. Even if our budget is as much as we have projected, we will not draw down more from this fund than we earned last year.

Both our 2019 financial statements and our 2020 budget will be soon be posted to www.allsoulsdc.org/governance. If you have further questions, please contact any of us. 

Yours in Christ,

Father Jadon Hartsuff
Dale Lewis
Greg Lebel
David Hollis

Last Published: January 23, 2020 4:23 PM
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