Stewardship Sunday (September 26/27, 2020.)
Many of you know that I have a collection of dictionary-type books, which certainly come in handy at times such as this:
from ‘Metaphors be with You’: Louisa May Alcott, the author, said,
“Money is the root of all evil, yet it is such a useful root that we cannot get on without it any more than we can without potatoes.“
from the Bible, in Sacred Scripture, from the Book of Genesis 14:20 we read, “And Abram gave him (the priest, Melchizedek) a tithe of everything.” Sacred Scripture indicates that God’s people followed the law of tithing from of old. Through the modern prophets, God restored this law again to bless his children. To fulfil this commandment, Church members give one-tenth of their income to the Lord through his Church. These funds are used to build up the Church and further the work of the Lord throughout the world.
We all know that prudent management of the monetary part of our resources is essential and what this means in plain and simple terms. At the minimum, we need enough money to pay the bills. Realistically, we must go beyond paying bills and provide for the future within the Parish and towards the running of the Archdiocese of Durban. It is clear both from the stewardship and development work of others, and the experiences of great and ordinary parishes as well, that people will give what they think the parish is worth.
We are in the throes of gradually emerging from of the worst financial crises in living memory. Every industry and every person has been affected; some worse than others. As a Parish we still have to keep moving forward and providing for the spiritual needs of each parishioner as well as maintaining a high standard of the properties of both churches. Households and businesses require a certain level of income to remain solvent and stable, so too does the Parish, the Archdiocese and the Oblate Congregation.
Our basic monthly expenses here in the Parish remain virtually static, whether the income of the parish varies of not. For example, security, which encompasses the alarm monitoring, car guards and afterhours gate security comes to R12,000.00 per month. Insurance on the two properties with contents and the three motor vehicles amounts to R6,600.00 per month. Water and electricity are in the region of R15,000.00 per month. A monthly subsidy for the formation of diocesan seminarians is R8,000.00. Staff and administration wages and salaries bill for the two churches amounts to R95,000.00: that is for two fulltime administration staff, two for formation and catechesis, and seven domestic staff. Under normal circumstances, that is during the period used to formulate the annual budget, the levy payable by the parish to the Archdiocese is R89,000.00. This money goes towards the expenses of the Cardinal and the Archbishop and the maintenance of the Chancery, its staff and, where possible assistance to the less fortunate communities within the Archdiocese.
This is all very well, giving you the list of what we spend each month, but the crunch comes when now after the Covid lockdown and its devastating effects on the finances of the country and subsequently the Parish. During the lockdown, with no weekend Masses and collections, compared with last year, the Parish has experienced a loss of some R400,000.00. Fortunately, there was a form of relief from the Chancery with the reduction of the levy over the severe lockdown levels 4 & 5, as well as the subsidy from the U.I.F. in respect of the salaries and wages Both of these helped tremendously.
Two projects that had been given the go-ahead a long while prior to the level 5 lockdown in March: the acquisition of the pipe organ, the cost of which was totally covered by very generous donations by parishioners. The other project is the alterations to the parish hall: the glass doors and the ‘I’ beam have been donated and the fund-raising events of last year’s golf day, the international dinner and the cheese and wine evening jointly raised some R75,000.00.
Asking for money awareness is not an easy task, but I earnest request that you re-commit to the financial well-being of the Parish through your pledges and weekly contributions. We certainly do not want the standard of condition of our two churches to deteriorate.
The forms for application for the dedication envelopes are available at the door of the church and at the parish office.