Dear Creator Family,
After what seems too short a time, summer is drawing to a close. In less than a month, we will be back to the “school schedule” and preparing for the Fall, Advent, and the first Bishop’s visit in three years, which this year is also the fourth Sunday in Advent (December 19th). It’s good to have things to look forward to, things that draw us together. A new season brings with it a sense of renewed purpose and planning. Before we get there, however, we look around at our thinned congregation and see the changes the past seasons have wrought. The Pandemic has changed us, individually and corporately. Ordinary life changes and transitions seem to have been intensified and accelerated by an “unprecedented” (remember that tag word of 2020?) global event—along with the disruptions and divisions it has ushered in its wake. It took a while at Creator, faithful people, but the divisiveness over Covid-19 and how to “handle it” have taken a toll on our parish family as well.
With our shrinking attendance and the leave-taking of the past two+ years, our parish is suffering financially. That will come as no surprise to a family long used to money considerations and short-handedness. Creator folk are some of the most resourceful, deep-digging, and kind-giving folks I’ve ever known. But you can’t run a parish forever on fundraisers and special instance giving. It really does take consistent, committed giving—which we do have, but no longer to the extent that can sustain operations or ministry at our parish as it has in the past. To that end, the Vestry and Finance committee are having very pointed conversations this summer, deliberating on our financial health, and discussing scenarios that will dramatically change our parish life. I am in touch with the Diocese about what may be next for us. I ask you to join me in praying for God’s guidance and wisdom as we seek a solution.
With our eyes on our financial health, we now know that without a significant increase in our income, Creator will be unable to afford up-keep and maintenance costs and personnel salaries at the same time. The Vestry is looking at every option to address this situation and one of those areas is our individual tithe. Now is the time to take a serious look at our individual contributions as we assess our ability to continue parish ministry into 2023.
First on the calendar before summer ends is an old favorite: “Clean-up Day.” This event is simply a reality of family and parish life. We tend and clean our own houses and so, too, does God’s house need your eyes and effort - now more than ever. There are plenty of jobs, big and small, indoors and out. Please don’t think this event is not for you. Now more than ever we are in the “If not me, then who?” stage of our Parish life, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s always been true, but often we think that ministry, upkeep, participation, leadership, attendance – that our presence is dispensable and that someone else will take care of it. Look around, Creator family—you were never more encouraged, invited, anticipated, or needed than now. Let’s make the “us” in “please join US” mean something.
Please join us Saturday, August 27, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The work schedule for Saturday is completely up to you. You can come to help for as long or as briefly as you are able in whatever job you pluck off the list. In addition, we have generated a list of areas and issues that need to be attended to on the 27th, but you can come any time and work in any area.
Tonight, your Vestry meets to discuss our new situation and to seek a path through our financial and physical condition. Please pray for our leaders as we rely upon God to lead our discussion and our deliberations.
Peace in Christ,
Father Bill Burk†