Bulletin Letter – 12/10/2017

Dear Parishioners,                                                                                                                                  +JMJ

Last month, on November 16th, we had another finance council meeting. Other priorities kept me from putting the notes in the bulletin until now. Here are the highlights from that meeting:

-We reviewed the balance sheet, profit and loss statement, and accounts payable reports. And a member of the finance council reported on the internal audit she had done, using diocesan forms and protocol.

-We’ve raised $57,256 towards repaying our savings for the Payne parking lot project, which cost a total of $80,757. We hope people will continue to give to reimburse our savings, as I told the Bishop we would do.

-We presented to the finance council for the first time – and it has been presented to the school council since then – our desire to reduce the parish subsidy of the school by another $55,000 or so. There are many fundraisers that happen in our school, but they all raise money to reduce costs for our attending families. There is nothing in place to cover the amount the parish pays towards school operating costs. Currently, almost 40% of our parish income goes to support the school, above and beyond what tuition covers of school expenses.  And many of the students are not even our parishioners.  (Of course, we’d love to have more of our parishioners take advantage of this awesome school!) Raising another $55,000 per year will reduce our school subsidy down to about 23% of our parish income. This is much healthier, and it puts the school on a much surer financial foundation. The restructuring of finances over the past three years at the school has greatly reduced the subsidy (It used to be up around 60% of our parish income!), but we really ought to do more. The best idea for subsidy reduction is to form an alumni association. All of the schools I’ve worked at had alumni associations, because no parish has been able to cover the cost of a school, without significant fundraising; yet Divine Mercy has never had an alumni association. We’ve already begun to put together an alumni association committee. Please keep in mind that we will be trying our best to gather a complete list of names of all of our graduates and families that have ever come through our school. If you have ideas for this effort, please contact Joe Linder in the school office.

-We created a cemetery committee to help us with policies and pricing for our two cemeteries. After research of other cemeteries, especially the cemeteries the Diocese runs, we came up with new policies, and a list of new costs.

-We updated our list of wedding fees.

-The net profit of the final Paulding campus bazaar was $3,765. The fellowship among the three campuses was priceless!

-Amazingly, our parishioners donated a total of $4,326 to hurricane relief through Catholic Charities. Very impressive generosity!

-The parish mission fund donated $500 to the Paulding County Sheriff’s Office program for educating youth regarding drugs.

-We hope we’ve finally solved the problem of moisture that still remained with the Antwerp belltower. We removed a plywood layer that was not checked before, and under which we found some moisture. Momper sprayed in some foam insulation, and an electric fan has been installed to keep air circulation in the dead space above the man-crawl at the top of the stairs leading into the organ loft.

-We still plan to put some speakers underneath the choir loft at our Antwerp campus, so people can hear better what is being spoken or sung through the microphones.

-We had to repair the front siding of the Payne hall, because of vandalism. It looks like somebody shot a hole into the siding up at the gable level.

-Somebody stepped forward to volunteer building some cabinets in the boys’ sacristy at Payne. That will allow us to use space that now is wasted, especially higher up. And the place will look much neater, and hopefully be much more efficient. This should happen in springtime.

-We’ve made some very easy, yet super helpful repairs and upgrades on the rectory in Paulding where I live. This includes interior paint downstairs, the burying of drainpipes outside in order to make rainwater flow away from the house and stop basement water problems, new rectory art, some new furniture, a wall cabinet to hide the television, and simple lighting to replace old fluorescent fixtures. Many items in this list were donated by generous parishioners. The parish thus far has only spent $5,363 on the repairs. In the last couple weeks, as of my writing this letter, we’ve also replaced the kitchen linoleum, which was very dark and marred. Because the upstairs hallway carpet is buckled up in places, and because the flooring underneath looks quite nice, we’re going to remove the upstairs carpet in the hallway, and on the stairs. We will also remove the carpet in two of the bedrooms. The carpet looks awful. We were informed that some of the upstairs carpet actually came from the sanctuary of the church at Paulding some 30 years ago.

-There are still significant repairs needed for the outside of the rectory. And I really hope people will appreciate the importance of these repairs and support them. I realize that not many people see the rectory, and I’m trying to use it a bit more for meetings and celebrations, in order to help everybody feel like it belongs to the parish (which it does!). I am trying to be a good steward of this parish property, just as I am the other buildings on our three campuses. I consider the outward repair to be just as important as the internal stuff we’ve done. Anybody walking up to the front porch of the rectory can see that significant work has to be done to the porch. This will cost about $25,000. If you walk around the outside of the rectory, you can see very easily that the old wooden siding is compromised in quite a number of places. This means that weather slowly will work its way, damaging further and further. Siding will cost us somewhere around $40,000. With all of this external work, I want to maintain the nice look of the rectory, since my predecessor put so much time and thought into bringing it up to period style.  But I also want to use synthetic materials that will require less upkeep in the future, even as we maintain the beautiful look. Everybody who sees this rectory says it is a very nice historic home. We can really be proud of taking care of it. That is what I am trying to do.

-We will soon refurbish the reception area in the front hallway of the school, including the classroom doors. This will cost close to $4,000; but the amount already raised selling iPads and computers the school no longer needs, since we just acquired new chrome books for each classroom, will cover that remodeling.

-Because of some recent vandalism, including a gunshot into the Payne hall siding, and somebody breaking a corner of the new playground border (riding a bike through it – and we couldn’t get the culprit or his family to confess to doing it, although there were some witnesses who saw a young man riding a motorbike around in the parking lot when it happened)… We installed security cameras on the outside of the hall. Thanks to Schweller Electric donating a significant amount of the work, this cost was only $470.

So, there is a summary of our finance meeting several weeks ago. Many, many thanks for your ongoing financial support of the parish!

Have a blessed Advent!

In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,

Fr. Poggemeyer