IT’S A SIGN – WE GIVE THANKS
A message from Bishop David Edwards
One of the things we so easily forget to do is give thanks to God for the answers he provides to our prayers. The story of the 10 lepers from Jesus’ ministry highlights this.
Often God prompts us to be the answer to the prayers of others and certainly that appears to have happened across our Diocese in 2016. I want to express my thanks to each person involved as we have worked together during the past 12 months.
Whilst I fully appreciate that finances do not provide the whole picture of our life together, they are one indicator of the state of the health of an organization such as ours. I am glad to report that as of Dec. 31, our response to our Shared Ministry Budget was 102 per cent of the amount requested. In addition, every parish was able to contribute this year.
I am sometimes asked how it is that we receive more than is requested? This comes about in two ways: some parishes recognize that others cannot meet the amounts asked of them, so they provide a little more than is asked for; in addition, others who have faced “lean” times have seen an improvement and have felt able to contribute some of what they were not able to in the past. In fact, this year the “actual” amount in this area of our finances has been reduced by around $30,000, for which I am grateful.
Of course, as we all know, the revenue side of a budget is not all there is to it. Our staff at the Synod Office and our Finance Committee have been very intentional in reducing the deficit. At the beginning of 2015 our projected operating budget shortfall was $418,000, while the “actual” turned out to be $258,000. Not ideal, but an improvement.
For 2016 we projected a deficit of $191,000 and for this year $131,000. Obviously, we do not know the actuals for these years yet. From this we can see that our numbers are headed in the right direction. The difference between expenditure and income is narrowing.
We have begun to see the great blessings given to us by the Wilkes/Bartlett bequests this year, along with monies set aside by the Finance Committee. In 2016 – 2017 these will have provided funding in whole or in part for at least 12 posts or projects across our Diocese. In addition, we have been able to purchase the Safe Harbour property in Saint John, to ensure the continuation of services to homeless and displaced young people from across that region.
One of the things that we all need to appreciate is that we are doing this together. We still face significant challenges as we re-position ourselves in a very different world. The good news is, in the area of finance, along with other areas of our life, we are seeing progress.
Once again, I want to thank everyone for the part you are playing in our moving onward together.