The Narrative Budget
As we did last year, we'll be sharing our budget for 2021 through the lens of a narrative budget.
Correction from last time: The goal for 2021 is to reduce our use of bequests by 26% not 36% as was previously stated. We plan to reduce our reliance on bequests every year until we are no longer relying on them for our operating budget.
In this installment of the narrative budget, we’ll cover the details of four of the eight categories of our work at Christ Church and how we have put your contributions and energy to work in these areas. As you read them, may you be inspired, proud, but also reflective: where is God calling us to grow and stretch?
Lifting our spirits in worship, song, and praise
One of the primary functions of an Episcopal church is worshiping God through liturgy and music. To this end, we have clergy who lead us in prayer, musicians who lead us in song including our music director and choral scholars. We have prayer books, vestments, and bread and wine as part of our service. Even in a time of pandemic, we have still managed to find ways to lift our spirits in worship, song, and praise.
This list is in addition to:
- Acolytes who assist during the service
- An Altar Guild that takes care of our linens and adorns our altar
- Bishop Visitations
- Lay ministers
- Celebrations on Holy Days – such as Ash Wednesday, Holy Week, Ascension, All-Saints, Christmas, and the blessing of the animals on St. Francis
- Mid-day chapel services, Sunday services, and a Friday night compline service
- A monthly sensory service for children
- Baptisms, Weddings, and Funerals
- Greeters who welcome people into our parish
- Video and audio equipment to broadcast our services
This area accounts for approximately 24% of our church budget.
What’s next? In 2020, our in-person services were stopped by Covid-19, but our worship services did not end. We transitioned to YouTube and Zoom and continued to serve our church, and as such, are even starting to reach new parishioners through the internet. 2021 is predicted to be much like the latter half of 2020. We received two grants from the diocese for audio/visual equipment improvements so we should expect our services to be even better next year.
Supporting our greater community for connection, justice, and support
As an expression of our faith, we do outreach to the community in a variety of ways, including:
- Street Chaplaincy, where we meet our homeless neighbors and provide small things for comfort
- The Little Free Pantry, a project begun by members of The Table (campus ministry group), to provide a place to give away free non-perishable food (started in 2020).
- Rector and Curate discretionary funds, which are used to help people in financial crisis in our parish and in the greater community
- Real Rent to the Duwamish (new in 2020)
- Putting on Bach’s Lunch, a monthly musical performance at lunch time for the community
- Providing financial support to Chaplains on the Harbor, who pastor to the poor of Grays Harbor County
- Providing financial support to neighborhood organizations such as Elizabeth Gregory Home, a place for homeless women and women in crisis, and Gossett Place, a place for homeless young adults and veterans
- Providing camperships to Camp Huston, a diocesan Episcopal summer camp
The largest amount of funding that we donate flows straight from the offertory plate as part of a designated offering to organizations such as Earth Ministry, Episcopal Relief and Development funds, United Churches Emergency Fund, ROOTS, United Thank Offering, University District Food Bank, Sanctuary Arts Center – which has totaled as much as $11,000 a year, while it only accounts for approximately 5% of our operating budget.
What’s next? Street chaplaincy and the Little Pantry have continued throughout 2020 and will be a big part of our outreach in 2021 as the pandemic has sent the economy into a recession. We have developed a reputation in our neighborhood as “the people who always come.” We are there for a our neighbors. Outreach and community activism for justice and support is an area where we are feeling called and will likely do more and more as our church continues to grow.
Guiding faith formation for all ages
Part of our budget is spent on raising our children to know their faith and to deepen in our faith as adults. To that end, we have two major areas:
Spiritual formation for children:
- Director of Children and Youth who coordinates the programming for children
- Godly Play, a tactile program for children to engage with scripture
- A nursery with child-care workers
- A children’s library
Spiritual formation for adults:
- Catechumenate, our adult education program on Sunday evenings
- A library
- Forward Day by Day prayer booklets
- Reading and podcast discussion groups
Guiding faith formation for all ages accounts for approximately 4% of our budget.
What’s next? During the pandemic, our director of children and youth has reached out directly to each of our children on a regular basis for at home Sunday school teaching. With the ongoing pandemic, this outreach to our children will continue. We have started reading and listen groups that met during September to discuss the podcast “Seeing white” and the book “The African American and Latinx history of the United States.” We should plan on continuing these groups in 2021 as they help to fulfill a spiritual need in our community.
Making our space a warm and welcoming home for the community
One of the largest expenses in our church is physically having a church – which is a meeting place, a worship space, a refuge, a musical space, and a place of comfort and welcome.
Having a church means:
- Having a parish administrator to answer the phone, organize our newsletters, print bulletins for services, handle diocesan requests.
- Office supplies, postage, and all things involved in the business of being a church
- Time the rector spends organizing the work of being a church
- Making sure the building is cleaned
- Maintaining the building
- Improving the garden, one of the last green spaces in the u-district
- Insuring the building and making sure it is secure
- Keeping the lights on, the water on, and keeping the building warm
The work of having a church accounts for approximately 31% of our operating budget.
What’s next? In 2020, we planned on starting a huge capital campaign to make major renovations to the church, but Covid-19 put that on hold. The church building, however, continued to be used and continued to need maintenance – all of which will continue in 2021. For example, Sunday services continue to be broadcast from the church, parts recorded throughout the week, and street chaplaincy uses the space to gather supplies before heading out to serve the community. 2021 will see all of these continue, no matter when we return to regular services in the building.
Next week, we’ll cover the last four areas of the budget – Supporting the work of the broader church, Caring for parishioners in need, Growing our leaders, and Evangelism, welcoming, and fellowship. As you read about where our money and energy currently is being spent, consider where you hear God calling us to grow, to sacrifice and to stretch, and in some cases, where is God calling us to let go? How can we more fully embody what God is calling us to be?
Over the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing the details of what each of these missions entails and how through your financial and time contributions these missions thrive at Christ Church.
A HUGE thank-you to Melissa Morrell and Kathy Chamberlain for their hard work on this!