“We Are Doing Fine”
A Message from Charles Pazar, Senior Warden'
Wednesday, April 28, 2021
Recently, I ran into a friend who asked me how GSL was doing. And I answered, truthfully, “Fine.” Life at GSL is richly blessed! Some parishioners have expressed concern that the reminders about financial pledging continuing well into 2021 mean that GSL is in unhealthy financial shape. All that the reminders mean is that Father Ollie, the Wardens, and the Vestry believe that 100% participation in pledging is a reasonable approach to stewardship by all households. Such is every year and especially in light of the difficulties of the pandemic.
Thanks to pledges and loose offerings (non-pledged donations) from members and non-members, GSL has money in the bank, including generous funds from our 2020 paycheck protection program (PPP) loan that was forgiven by from the federal government. As of March 31, pledges received totaled $1,272,398 from 239 of our more than 500 households. Our 2020 pledge total was $1,319,861 from 247 households. While we fortunately are able to maintain operations, personnel, worship, and programs, there is more we could do by moving closer to the goal of 100% giving. We are $47,463 short based on last year, and every pledge matters.
Meanwhile, clergy, staff and laity are making plans for outdoor worship as the weather gets warmer and attendance grows at indoor services. Between April 4 and April 18, five children were baptized in small group settings. The Social Justice and Outreach commission areas are very active, working with the larger community to make Christ’s love known. Our Congregational Development events are being well attended. Every Sunday, we have the opportunity to experience meaningful virtual Adult Formation offerings. On May 23, Father Ollie will host a morning conversation with Presiding Bishop Michael Curry and that afternoon, Diocesan Bishop Phoebe Roaf will visit gather with 13 youth and 11 adults of GSL to administer confirmation, reception, and reaffirmation. Summer Youth events are being planned and registration for sports teams looks good. The Vestry’s “Reimagining Church” consultations with the Rev. Rene Miller are ongoing and will culminate with a Parish Town Hall via Zoom on Saturday, May 8, from 9 to 10 a.m. These are not the hallmarks of a congregation in financial distress.
GSL is looking toward an exciting future. Thanks to a substantial gift by an anonymous donor paying for a one-year contract, GSL has entered into a consulting agreement with Thompson & Associates, a Nashville-based firm specializing in planned giving for non-profits, to assist with further development of The Cornerstone Society at GSL and more. The consultant already is working with GSL Stewardship Chapman Morrow. Results of this collaboration will come to fruition within the next year, I predict.
Life at GSL is richly blessed, and things are fine financially. That is not to say that there isn’t room for improvement. If you have not pledged for 2021, please do so online (www.gracestlukes.org/pledge), when present on Sunday for worship, or by mail. If you would like to connect and talk more about how things are going, please don’t hesitate to contact me.
Senior Warden, on behalf of the Vestry
email through REALM