Monday, January 27, 2014

Parish Annual Meetings are bursting out all over, in accordance with the ancient rubric that “the meeting shall take place on that Sunday of the first quarter which is neither an NFL playoff day or the Superbowl, and which does not take place after the Superbowl.”  Down in Upper South Carolina, The Underground Pewster reports on “Parish Budget Blues,”
Last year’s news was not good as attendance dropped 17.8% from 8,482 in 2012 to 6,970 in 2013. Baptized members dropped 22% from 454 to 353. Baptisms fell from 6 to 2. There were zero confirmations, zero reaffirmations, zero weddings, and 12 funerals in 2013. 2 people transferred in and 14 transferred out and 55 were moved to inactive status.
Despite this terrible news, the church was only $8,995 in the red for 2013 (out of a total budget of $442,910). I am not sure why people applauded when these numbers were presented. I guess it wasn’t as bad as everyone thought it would be.
The budget for 2014 projects a $53,710 shortfall.
In 2009 this church made “draconian cuts” when faced with a $621,137 budget and a similar projected shortfall.
This year, the people are asked to give more money.
Yet there is room for cuts to be made.
In the past, this parish has withheld its pledge to the diocese when we needed belt tightening.
The Bishop’s current take is $40,000/yr.
That $40,000 gets you less than absolutely nothing. It gets you a “Task Force on Unity” which will only accelerate the decline in baptisms, confirmations, and marriages by allowing the blessing of same sex couplings to take place in the church. That money also helps feed 815 and its lawsuits against your brothers and sisters in Christ.
The applause that broke out for thousands of dollars in real and projected deficits and dropping indicators of parish health and impact boggles the mind.  So many congregations are happy - not just content but nigh on giddy - to function as broken ATMs, spewing out money to be scooped up by the denominational bureaucratic superstructures.
Reminds me of the surreal world of pro wrestling, from which I borrow this musical interlude,

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