Stewardship 2024: People, Place, & Programs
Dear Parish Family,
If asked to describe life at St. James this Fall, I would respond “wonderfully busy”. We just completed successful leadership of three large events: Racial and Jazz Symposium, Rise Against Hunger, and our Parish Retreat at Camp Trinity (about 75 parishioners of all ages). Our SJP Day School is full of excitement, our Newcomer program is entering another busy time, our Wednesday evening supper and program nights are about to start, a MOM event will happen this coming weekend, Wednesday mornings with our youth at Starbucks continues to be a highlight of their week, Bread Breakers, ECW and the Foyer Group events continue, just to name a few. And, you will notice no mention yet about Sunday mornings. Breakfast in the Great Hall is very popular, the Disciples Class is off to a great start along with Faith Formations, a vibrant Sunday School program for our youngest members, a well-run Child Care, and the new Youth Gathering “Ignite!” on Sunday Evenings. Finally, combined attendance at Sunday worship is up. Yes, there is much going on.
This much activity requires a lot of planning, both by volunteers and our Clergy. Your Vestry remains excited about continuing this level, with hopes to see it grow. However, there remains a concern about over-taxing both our ministry volunteers and our Clergy. The generosity of the volunteers will at some point reach beyond sustainability. Ideally, our Clergy need to devote more of their time devoted to Pastoral Care, Formation and Worship, for which I am sure our Parishioners would approve. For this to happen, we must add to our administrative staff, and intend to hire a Director of Operations and Administration. In addition, we hope to add a part-time position for Children’s Ministries, to compliment the good work being done by Ansley Trask and also Cookie Cantwell’s work as Director of Youth Ministries. The Vestry has desired for some time to create a Stewardship Coordinator, beginning as a part-time position. Finally, there is a need for a full time Sexton.
At first glance this may appear to be too much, but it is quite doable. This year’s Stewardship Campaign theme is People, Program and Place. The need for People to maintain and grow our Programs is hopefully outlined above. A 2024 Draft Budget for SJP has been formulated and includes the desired personnel additions. After including cost-of-living adjustments and increased insurance and utility expenses, a ten percent increase in our annual giving will make all of this happen. As we prepare each Sunday to receive the Gifts of God, we are asked to remember as Christians what has been given to us and to be thankful. If you have not yet made your Pledge, please remember all of the reasons you chose SJP and all of our blessings, and prayerfully consider your pledge with a ten percent increase.
God’s Peace to all.
Junior Warden, St. James Vestry