On November 19th we had another finance council meeting. We began by looking at the balance sheet, the profit-and-loss statement, and the payables statement. The balance sheet showed $279,752 in usable savings, although about $25,407 of this money was given specifically for the moisture repair of the Antwerp Bell Tower, and about $21,203 is what remains of a large donation given under Fr. Fillman – this remnant earmarked for new siding on the Paulding rectory and repair of the parking lot in Payne. The checking account, out of which we pay our weekly bills, had a balance of $16,620.
Next, two finance council members reported briefly on the monthly internal audit they did. Everything seemed to be in order.
The parish has now received the $100,000 that was given by Doris Phlipot to set up an endowment to support and encourage vocations to the religious life and priesthood. The charter for the endowment has been written, and now it remains to finalize the wording with the Phlipot family and with the Diocese. Once the charter is finalized, the money will be invested with the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese. This is an investment instrument that is very competitive with the market, and at the same time maintains Catholic sensibility to avoid investing in any industry that would be contrary to Catholic social teaching. Now let’s pray for vocations from our parish. Doris promised me she would be praying!
The endowment board for Divine Mercy School met on November 18th. The endowment over the past year yielded about $973 interest that will be put towards repairing and/or replacing broken projectors in the classrooms.
The wine tasting event at Payne was a great success as a community building event. And it netted $3,902, which is money that can be put towards the parish subsidy of the school. Likewise, the bazaar at Paulding was a great social event, and it made $5,142 profit.
We now have programmed all of our Mass intentions into a software program called “MIST”. We finally know exactly how many Masses still have to be celebrated, and we are able easily to estimate whether we can celebrate them all within the year. This software also allows us to print out statements for people, a schedule of their Masses, etc. When we have special programs, such as the Holy Door of the Jubilee Year of Mercy, with flowers that parishioners can underwrite in memory of loved ones, this computer software will enable us to manage all the records for those special programs as well.
We talked about the possibility of creating a new parish directory. The last one was created soon after the merger of the three parishes. Is it time to create a new directory? There seemed to be consensus that now would be a good time. Although we have not chosen a particular company to handle this, we expect the dynamic would be very similar to most parish directories: parish families use the opportunity of having their directory picture taken to purchase family portraits for their home as well. In this way, the directory ends up paying for itself, so that no money has to be taken out of parish savings. Who would administrate this project for us? I will bring it up at the next parish council meeting as well, to get their opinion.
Out of the mission fund, we decided to donate $500 to the Sheriff’s Safety Pup Program, educating youth in our county on the dangers of drugs and other illegal substances. This seems to be a great program, and this is a fine way for our parish to support a local community effort.
We reviewed the status of fundraising for the repair of the Antwerp Bell Tower moisture problem. The total project will be $66,500. Thus far we have raised just under $27,000 with funds and pledges. We will be able to do fundraising up until the beginning of February, when the Bishop starts his Annual Catholic Appeal, at which point all major fundraising in parishes has to be suspended. In order to aim for a spring repair, however, we are hoping to have the funds actually raised by the end of December, or the end of January at the latest. After fundraising, we still have to get final permission from the Diocese, and then the architect will search for competitive bids, at which point we again have to ask the Diocese for permission to finalize contracts with specific contractors. In other words, once all the funds are raised, we can expect at least three months to obtain final quotes from the architect/contractors, and permission from the Diocese. We decided to put envelopes in the pews at all campuses, marked for the Antwerp Bell Tower repair – hoping this might inspire some more donations.
Although there is plenty of money in the savings to cover the whole Bell Tower repair project, we discussed concerns about spending so much money at one campus – given the reality that we still function in many ways as three individual communities, even if we are technically one parish. A significant number of parishioners seem still to identify with their specific campus, and there could be discontent over spending a large sum of money for a project on another campus. So it seems best to raise money specifically for such large projects. (The air-conditioning project at our Paulding campus was a perfect example. No money came out of savings for this project. All the money came from generous donors.) We did some research into savings that came from each parish at the time of the merger; we confirmed that all savings from the individual campuses were actually used for repairs on those same campuses, so all the money in our savings has been accumulated since the merger.
Finally we discussed the razing of the rectory at Payne. Larry Gorrell is willing to help us auction off (at his property) anything that is worth auctioning from inside the rectory. We have already had a number of requests for various items, and it seems the idea of an auction is the best way to give everybody a fair chance at obtaining whatever they desire from the rectory. Regarding the larger, stationary items in the rectory (door frames, stairwell railing and molding, radiators, furnace, etc.), we decided that it would not be best to allow individual parishioners to walk through the rectory and remove what they want of these items. There are liability (thus, insurance) concerns, such as personal injury or damage to other items in the house. We have already been approached with the names of a couple re-fabrication companies that are willing to bid on those larger stationary items. We have written a letter to the Diocese requesting permission for the Payne rectory razing, and we are awaiting a reply. Also, we are handling asbestos concerns. We are not allowed to bury the asbestos. It has to be properly removed. Hopefully the auction helps us cover all of the expenses. We are aiming for springtime. After the razing, should the space be turned into a parking lot?
So there are highlights from the finance council meeting. Here’s one that’s a bit embarrassing: I finally upgraded my phone, which I use constantly for parish business. Unfortunately, somehow we lost most of my Divine Mercy Parish contacts. If you get a chance, and we have telephoned or texted before, could you text me and tell me who you are? Then I can put your names back into my contacts list. Thanks!
May the rest of your Advent be blessed!
In cordibus Iesu et Mariae,