Bulletin Letter – 1/28/18

Dear Parishioners,                                                                                                                                  +JMJ

A week ago we had another finance council meeting. Here are the highlights:

-We first looked at the balance sheet, the profit and loss statement, the accounts payable statement. We didn’t have a member of the Council who had done a recent internal audit, but somebody volunteered to do so in the very near future.

-The Payne parking lot was completed, for a total cost of $80,757. Thus far, we’ve raised $61,666 to reimburse our savings for this project. I’d love to see this amount totally reimbursed to our savings, but we will not continue to put the parking lot pie-chart in the bulletin, once the Bishop’s ACA blackout period for fundraising begins around Lent.

-We continue to work on a plan to reduce the parish’s subsidy of our school, to put the school on a firmer financial foundation. The main plan of action is to create an alumni association, which we know many schools already have in place. We have collected the names of all of our alumni up through the year 2002. We will continue to collect names, and update the contact information we already have. Please feel free to contact the school, if you think you have information on alumni they would not otherwise easily collect. Also, we have a Facebook page set up just for our school alumni and friends: “St. John the Baptist/Divine Mercy Alumni and Friends”. Please make this Facebook page known to anybody living outside the area, who otherwise might not be aware of it. This page includes a link to the online giving page of our parish website, so people can exclusively donate online even to the school.

-We hired an intervention specialist for our school, who will help any of our children with a special, IEP (Individualized Education Program). Michelle Reinhart is one of our parishioners from Antwerp. She comes with a background in social work, and a good amount of classroom experience. We are very glad to have her working with us. We will have her at our school for three days a week, and then she will also help out Holy Cross School in Defiance and St. Mary’s School in Edgerton on the other days of the week. There is special state funding that will cover all of her expenses.

-For our Hispanic outreach, we are joining the national effort, as the Diocese has recently joined as well. The program is entitled “Encruento V” (i.e., “Fifth encounter”). On February 3 a couple co-chairperson parishioners will attend a Diocesan meeting in Fostoria Ohio. In the wake of the recent funeral of one of our beloved Hispanic parishioners, Ricardo Reyes Alcantar, we received a generous gift of $1,000 from GreenTop Farms in Haviland; and we earmarked that gift towards Hispanic outreach. The gift will help us cover any expenses for this new Encuentro V program, which hopefully will help us reach out to more effectively to all of our Hispanic parishioners in the county.

-In Antwerp, we hope the choir loft moisture problem has been solved. Most recently we installed an electric fan to keep air circulating in the dead space above the ceiling above the choir loft, after Momper sprayed in a moisture insulator. We will keep watching, to see how effective this last step is.

-We are still planning on speakers under the choir loft at Antwerp. Estimated cost: $1500. We also are still planning on putting the music numbers board on some type of hinge, in order to slant that board, so people in front on the far opposite side of the nave can easily see the numbers for music and readings.

-We painted the bathrooms in the narthex at Paulding. The cost was $400, which takes into account a savings of $70 for the paint itself, which was donated by painter Steve Gross.

-We still have to repair the front siding of the hall at Payne, because of what seems to be a bullet hole. We are also planning on a large patch of carpet at the very front of the main aisle in the church at Payne, to cover burn holes that were made by a charcoal accident some months ago. We learned that we still have some bats up in the rafters at Payne. We found another place where they are entering. We are planning on cupboards to help organize everything in the boys sacristy at Payne, a project that will probably start in the spring. As for the possibility of creating a grotto of some type at Payne, perhaps in the yard near where the old rectory was taken down, I’ve heard nothing more from parishioners.

-Much has been done to update the rectory. We put new lighting throughout several of the downstairs rooms, with all the work donated. We put new flooring in the kitchen, because the old flooring was way too dark and somewhat damaged. Total cost was covered by a donation. We installed an island in the kitchen, which added necessary storage space, and food preparation space. It has worked perfectly for hosting the Christmas staff party and the New Year’s open house; and for hosting our summer deacon, Scott Perry and his family. This past week we painted the upstairs paneling, to lighten it up. This cost $2000, but we received a $1500 donation for it. We also removed the upstairs carpeting in the bedrooms, the hallway and the two stairwells. Thank you much to the Koenn Farms guys for all their help with this! The wood floors in two bed rooms was restored. The hallway and stairwells will be restored during my pilgrimage to Jerusalem the third week of February. We still have to update the lighting on the second floor. (Even since the finance meeting, we removed the carpeting from the remaining two bedrooms, to uncover very beautiful wood floors.) (Up to this point, I have never mentioned a small team that has been constantly returning to the rectory to improve things, many times over. This is the team of Dave and Dianne Jones, and Joshua Heffelfinger. Regularly they have come to handle so many details in the rectory improvements. They have spent many, many volunteer hours, and I’m very grateful for their constant help!)

-We’re still looking forward to repairing the porch and the siding of the rectory at Paulding. The more we delay these things, the more risk we face of long time weather damage. Right now, when a rain blows from the east, the detached porch boards allow water to pour into the basement. And anybody walking around the house can see the many holes in the wood siding, that certainly must be causing damage beneath. We are still getting quotes for this very big project, but the current quotes range from $25,000-$42,000. It’s a necessary project. This parish property is beautiful, and we can’t let it become damaged by negligence.

-The school reception area has been refurbished. Some very nice wooden, decorative panels have been put up – covering several places in the old brick where we literally for decades have put up cheap posters to cover the holes where former apparata have been anchored to the wall. Many thanks to Principal Joe Linder, we had the vision and took initiative for this. Money from our summer sale of old computers (now that we have Chromebooks for all the classrooms) covered the total cost. Our hope is also to replace the rest of the classroom doors with this darker wood, so throughout the whole way things look more uniform and updated. (Is there anybody out there who wants to underwrite the whole project for us?)

-We still have on our wish list the repair of the bells at each campus. Verdun Bell Company (out of Cincinnati) came to us well over two years ago to give us the following quotes: Antwerp/$14,000; Paulding/$9,000; Payne/$17,000. I would love to see the bells repaired at each place. We think we might be able to do the Antwerp repair in-house, for very minimal cost. At Payne we learned last year in finance council that, before the merging of the parishes, Payne spent significant money strengthening the belltower support. So, perhaps this will reduce our cost at Payne a bit. We plan on applying for the Diocesan Auguste Schaeffer grant for liturgy by this coming August (the same grant that provided $10,000 towards our new Lumen Christi Missal and Hymnal project). Whatever money we might receive from the grant would be given to us the following December.

So there are the highlights from the most recent finance council meeting. Have a great week!

In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,

Fr. Poggemeyer