Capital Campaign Matching Challenge and Update: Thanks to a generous gift from an anonymous source, for 2017 we have a matching challenge for our "Generation to Generation" capital campaign. Any donation received between 1 January 2017 and 30 June 2017 from those who have not yet made a pledge to this capital campaign will be matched up to $25,000.00 (in order to encourage new contributions); and any donation received between 1 January 2017 and 30 June 2017 from those who have already made a pledge to this capital campaign will be matched up to $75,000.00 (in order to encourage the fulfillment of pledges). The potential income from all sources for this matching challenge alone is two hundred thousand dollars!
In case you don't know already, the "Generation to Generation" capital campaign raises funds to pay off the mortgage on our new building for Christian formation and fellowship through gifts above and beyond donations for the general operating budget supporting our everyday mission and ministry; this capital campaign was begun in April 2015. As of 18 April 2017, we have received 65 pledges for $625,461.99; of that figure, $633,914.81 has already been paid toward or above those pledges made and $132,222.70 remains to be paid on those pledges. In addition, 93 households and groups have made non-pledged gifts totaling $93,481.25. For the matching challenge: as of 18 April 2017, $19,961.43 has been received from non-pledged sources toward the intended $25,000 grant, and $54,102.00 has been received from pledged sources toward the intended $75,000 grant, for a total of $74,063.43 toward the intended $100,000 combined grant. For the entire duration of the campaign so far, this capital campaign has received $725,482.06 in pledged plus non-pledged gifts. But now we have a remarkable opportunity to do even more.
Of course, all donations to this capital campaign are tax-deductible and should remain separate from contributions to our everyday mission and ministry. If you have already made a pledge for the new building, then thank you for that commitment! If you can make a new pledge or can make a special gift for this matching challenge, then you will help our church to pay off the mortgage more effectively. Brochures about the capital campaign are available in the tract rack on the tall table at the back of the church or from the church office. For more information, please contact the capital campaign co-chairs, John Sondermann and Mary Jane Cole.
Morning Call: . On Sunday, Apr. 23, there will be another session of "Stump the Priests!", with a new Morning Call series beginning on Apr. 30. Stay tuned for details. Morning Call is our Sunday morning forum for adult formation and discussion, starting around 10:20am in the new building's great hall.
Wednesday Morning Bible Study: Father James Rickenbaker will continue his new series on "Hard Sayings of the Bible" on this Wednesday, Apr. 26 in the new building's conference room downstairs on Wednesday mornings (10:30am—12:00noon).
Wednesday Evening Bible Study: The series on "The Christian Life according to Paul" will continue on this Wednesday, Apr. 26 with discussion about Romans 12—16. The group will not meet on May 3 but will resume on May 10 (Philippians), May 17 (Philemon), May 24 (Paul compared to other apostles), and May 31 (series conclusion). The group meets in the new building's conference room downstairs..
Youth Group: The next evening meeting for the youth group for teenagers in grades 6-12 will take place on Apr. 23 (the Sunday after Easter Day) from 4pm till 6pm, with dinner served. The remaining evening meetings for this school year will take place on May 7, May 21, and June 4, with the same format.
UTO Mission: Put gifts into the blue box with thanksgiving, prayer, and generosity. Take blessings out of the box for grants extending the Church's faithfulness to God's mission.
United Thank Offering Spring Ingathering will be Sunday, May 7th. Aquia Episcopal Church holds two United Thank Offering (UTO) ingatherings each year, one in the spring and one in the fall. On these occasions, we collect at each of our services the offering of thankfulness that you provide through prayers of life’s many blessings.
UTO is an outreach ministry of the Episcopal Church. Founded in 1889 to enable the missionary work of the church, the program responds to human need by loving service and seeks to transform unjust structures of society by providing grants to fund mission projects in our diocese and around the world.
Please collect your coins and place them in the blue and white UTO box or write a check and enclose it in the UTO envelope for May 7th. Your envelope or blue box will be collected in the UTO baskets during all morning and evening services. Every coin is used to support grants for mission and ministry. Boxes and envelopes are available in the pews from April through mid May. If you want more information about the UTO go to www.episcopalchurch.org/UTO
Attention Golfers And Friends of Golfers: The 8th Annual Bob Jones Memorial Golf Tournament supporting Aquia’s Table will be held on Friday, May 19, at Augustine Golf Club in Stafford. This is the major fundraiser of the year for Aquia’s Table, so gather your golfing friends and get them registered to play! On the tall table at the back of the church, there is a flyer with complete details and instructions about registration on one side, with information about sponsorship opportunities on the other side. Can your household or group of friends or business become a sponsor of this important event for the ministry of Aquia’s Table and receive major recognition in turn?
Challenging News, with a Challenge: : For several months now, through various venues, you have learned that our parish has been working earnestly to secure financial commitments from church members for God’s mission and ministry here in 2017, and you have likewise learned that those pledges have not quite attained a sufficient status for sustaining (much less expanding) our existing level of ministry. Despite the generosity of many parishioners and some good work from the Vestry, there remains a gap between our expected income and our expected expenses for our ministry groups, property maintenance, mortgage payments for the new building, and appropriate compensation for our staff.
While it is good for a church to operate with a budget that is at least balanced, our bank agreements for the construction loan on the new building compel us to develop a balanced budget, and our monthly repayment of that loan must be paid even before the Rector’s salary may be paid. Given our total income anticipated for 2017 and given some significant expenses coming ahead, the Vestry needed to do what any household, business, or government agency would have to do: reduce the expenses allowed.
Accordingly, at its March meeting, your Vestry adopted a budget that imposes some challenging, difficult decisions on our parish, including the following effective April 1 or soon thereafter:
• Reduce the salaries for our parish administrator, executive assistant, and director of Christian education by 20% (though not their pensions or similar benefits).
• Reduce our janitorial-service contract by 50%.
• Contribute nothing more to the Diocese of Virginia this year.
• Contribute nothing to the Region I Episcopal Churches this year.
• Eliminate all maintenance expenses for the rectory.
• Eliminate the hiring of supply organists when our director of music is absent.
The finance committee did not recommend these changes thoughtlessly and without exploring alternatives, nor did the Vestry consider them carelessly or approve them without extensive discussion. The only salary increase for any employee is for our assistant rector, who after being ordained as a priest in December 2016 will receive the diocesan-recommended bare-minimum salary for a priest effective June 2017.
The challenging news of these cuts will affect some of our everyday operations conspicuously and almost immediately:
• The working hours for Dennise LaBarre, Sue Selz, and Kristen Morgan will obviously change.
• We cannot and we will not expect these talented, dedicated staff members to perform all of their previous tasks after receiving a one-fifth reduction in salary.
• We will suddenly rely heavily on each other volunteering to mop, sweep, vacuum, and dust part or all of the historic church, the new building, the 1960 parish house, and the Fleurries office building.
• Our financial share in the mission and ministry of our diocese and our region will suffer in part or in whole.
Let us emphasize that none of these cuts must be permanent: with additional income from pledges and other gifts, we can restore funding that has been reduced. Let us also insist that while no further cuts are planned, some might become necessary if actual income does not meet current expectations. We ask not only for your prayers about these matters, but also for you to rise to the occasion and address these challenges faithfully. Some parishioners have increased their pledge or have made financial contributions above their pledge, including one gift that has enabled the Vestry to restore our trash-collection and recycling-collection contract and another gift that will restore the purchase of bulletin inserts with Scripture lessons. Are there ways that you can assist with our cleaning, our mowing brigade, our office operations, or other areas of ministry?
--Your Rector and Vestry
Fundraising Event for Relay for Life: April 28th 5pm-8pm: Team Growing Hope Paint & Sip Fundraiser $20/person (covers all painting materials). Make payments and donations out to Ashley Culberson B.Y.O.W (bring your own wine) - Potluck at 5 (bring a dish to share).