2018 Financial Report to St. George’s Parish
April 14-15, 2019
The St. George’s Parish Finance Council is pleased to provide this Financial Report and Statement for 2018.
Last year marked two key achievements for our Parish. First, our Flooring Funding Campaign and Flooring Project were a great success. The funding drive launched in September 2017 surpassed the target of $80,000 and the project’s physical results are not only a great improvement, but were achieved within the planned budget. This has allowed us to also make much-needed upgrades to the church sound system, which had been identified as the priority usage for any remaining project funds. Moreover, a further $6,700 of final project surplus will be put against the Redevelopment Building Loan. This success was the result of generous commitments by a great many parishioners of time as well as money.
The second achievement that we wish to flag is that 2018 marked the first year in which our Parish met the targeted payments on the building loan that the Diocese provided to us in 2013. Not only did we pay the interest owing of over $50,000 last year: we were also able to reduce the principal by $70,000.
The broader picture of last year’s finances is less rosy, however. While we successfully raised more funds overall than were needed for the flooring campaign, almost two-thirds of those donations were in hand before the start of last year, even as we also managed to boost regular collections by 7.5 per cent in 2017. Parish finances fell back on both counts in 2018. Regular collections dropped last year, by $3,700 (1.6%). That is not a large drop but it is important to note that it was not explained by earmarked funding drives or other one-time donations: total donations in all forms fell by almost $25,000 last year.
Importantly, this outcome also means that we have moved even further away from living up to our first principle of financial management as a Parish: that is, the need to cover our monthly operating costs through our weekly collections and regular revenues. That is a basic test for any family, community or business. And we are not meeting that test.
We posted a loss on cash expenses last year of over $72,000. We would have needed an extra 27% in regular collections last year in order to avoid such a deficit. Instead, we had to rely on rentals of our hall, our parking spaces and our rectory rooms, to close the gap and contribute towards making our loan payments. Another busy and successful year of fundraising events also helped with the loan payment again in 2017.
Principle number 2 is that major repairs and renovations should be pre-funded by earmarked collections.
As noted, our performance is much better on this front. We undertook to raise the funds needed to renew the flooring throughout the church before contracting that work. And we should again recall that urgent repairs to the elevator had to proceed in 2015 before we had time to raise the needed funds. But parishioners did step up and met that need in the same year.
We must be realistic however. Our beautiful Church will celebrate its centenary in just four years. It is an inescapable fact that major repairs – whether expected or unexpected – are unavoidable with a 96-year-old building.
Principle number 3 is that we need to ensure that we meet both the interest owing each year and an appropriate amount of principal pay-down every year on our Redevelopment Building Loan.
This needs to become a pillar of our financial planning, as a Parish and as members, as we look ahead this year and beyond. At our current pace, we would take another 20 years to pay off this loan. The possibility of major and costly repairs or other surprises in our “century faith home” point to the risks that this approach would entail.
We have begun 2019 on a stronger note here. Our weekly collections have rebounded somewhat so far this year. We need to improve these results further still. The bottom line has not changed from last year: we need to keep the lights on AND pay our loan costs even as we look at the inevitable priority projects that will come along most years.
Concretely, what are we to do?
First, please read this year’s detailed Financial Statement.
Second, the core needs looking forward, are clear and unchanged:
we need to bring more people to Mass at St. George’s;
we need to have more of our regular attendees make regular contributions;
and we need to shift more people off of cash and envelopes and onto pre-authorized contributions.
No one can decide what anyone else can afford or should contribute. But we can all ask ourselves whether we are doing our share.
As we each consider that question, we should note again that our weekly collections last year would have needed to be 27% larger in order to eliminate that cash deficit. That in turn would allow all rental and fundraising revenues to go straight to paying down the building loan.
Many parishioners can contribute more, particularly as we consider our priorities among the many charities that appeal to us these days.
We do also know that some in our faith community truly cannot afford to contribute more financially.
Those persons can still ask themselves what time and effort they can contribute, instead, towards helping with our fundraising and most importantly towards growing our parish base with new members. Many hands make for lighter work.
Thank you for your commitment to St. Georges’ Parish