Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 160 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Rector's Rambling - November 13, 2011

Last week we had a wonderful celebration of All Saints Sunday. The music was wonderful and one could certainly sense not only the joy of the congregation but also the presence of the saints who join us along with angels and archangels in the worship of our Good God.
November is the time of year for the parish leadership of the Vestry to begin looking toward the end of the calendar year and begin making plans for the coming year. This forward looking concerns two specific areas.
First, before we know it the Annual Parish Meeting will be upon us (January 29th, 2012) and we will be having the election of new members of the Vestry. 4 people will be needed to serve, and in years past we have had anywhere from 4 to 8 candidates to chose from to fill those 4 slots. The Vestry is the ‘board’ the corporation that is St. John’s Church. They have the responsibility for the income and expenses as would be expected of an incorporated entity, which the parish is. And like any incorporated business, the Church leadership board (the Vestry) helps to set direction and policy and so that the parish can perform the mission and ministry that God has given too her.
The second November concern is the setting of a budget for the coming year to support that mission and ministry we are called to. Budget is set by looking at anticipated expenses (both possible increases as well as anticipated cost savings) as well as income based upon the current year.
We have three main sources of income. 1) Pledge and Plate, 2) Parking, and 3) Endowment. The second source we have no real control over. Scheduling at the stadiums/theatres (as well as team success) sets that income. The third source is one which has had to be limited in the past few years due to downturns in the market and the diminishing fund value.
That leaves source number one! What the parishioners contribute is of vital importance. We can improve this source two ways. One way is that we can honestly evaluate our own personal giving. God prescribes a tithe, 10%. The other way is to expand our giving base by inviting, encouraging, and welcoming new members to St. John’s. If each family encouraged another family to join and participate, we could do much to provide funding for current and future ministry.