Prof. Patrick Kimball

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Yarmouth Port, Massachusetts, United States

Friday, January 30, 2015

St. David's Update

Average Sunday Attendance at St. David's Church 
in South Yarmouth, MA, is 110 worshippers, 
including choir, clergy, ushers, children.  That 
compares to 150 in 2013, 

The stewardship drive topped out at 208K in pledges.
The goal of 220K is planned to be reached by public
fundraisers, such as a silent auction and a summer 
barbecue.  Plate offerings in the past averaged 15K.
The thrift shop and rental of Nelson Hall could 
bring in another 15K.

Thus an optimistic income of 250K would be 30K
short of the amount needed to compensate a 
full-time rector, according to diocesan requirements.
That might result in a 3/4 salary for the rector, which
is what was paid to the previous rector for two years.
The diocese is recommending that for three other
parishes in search of a new rector.

However, the diocesan assessment of 32K must be
paid in full.  

The interim rector was awarded 42K for housing
allowance at the December vestry meeting,  She
was formerly priest-in-charge of Trinity Church
in Marshfield Hills, MA, which is also seeking
a new rector, for a congregation of about sixty.

Monday, January 19, 2015

A Church Downsized

"No, our church didn't go bust,"
said the churchwarden of St. XXXXXX.
"We were slaves to our buildings,
we couldn't afford the upkeep anymore.

"So we decided to sell the property,
and move to rented quarters.
The move worked out pretty well,
but we're having problems with the sale."

"The Episcopal diocese claims the proceeds,
under a church law called the Dennis canon.
They say the diocese has an 'implied trust'
over the property of its member parishes."

"We don't know how that will work out, 
neither does the lawyer we hired.
She does believe our liquid assets are safe,
although the diocese is trying to seize them."

"St. XXXXX is a functioning corporation, 
which has moved to another location.
Whether we own or rent is irrelevant;
we have not missed a Sunday of services."

"Our focus is on our main objectives:
bringing the saving grace to all who worship
with us, and engaging in charitable outreach
to the community around us."

"We employ a full-time pastor, paying her
the prescribed salary and allowances.
We pay the diocesan assessment on time,
which will have to be reduced."

"Our church has had to give up sponsoring
activities that used our former property/
AA groups and the thrift shop are gone.
The daycare operation moved elsewhere."

"We have an active network of 
church groups meeting in homes,
for education, moral support, and
simple fellowship and hospitality."

"All in all, our church regulars
are pleased with the new arrangement,
finding it much easier to invite
new people to meet with us."

"Our expenses are modest, operating
on sort of a pay-as-you-go system.
We don't worry anymore about 
what we can afford doing."

Monday, January 5, 2015

A Church For Sale

Church for Sale

"Both the land and the buildings 
are for sale," said the agent.
"The property just came on the market,
so they're all in pretty good shape."

"The old building in front has some
kind of historical protection, so it
can't be torn down.  If you use it,
it may need some upgrading."

"The church complex is from the
seventies.  They took real good 
care of it.  Put in two ACs to 
protect the organ and cool the crowd!"

"The big building in back is what
they called a parish hall.  It has
a commercial kitchen and storage.
Would be fine for parties and receptions."

"No, the day care outfit has no 
lease on the space they use.
The church didn't charge them
anything; it was all on charity."

"I don't know why the church went bust.
I work for the seller, what they 
call a diocese.  The woman who hired
us is a lawyer for the seller."

"This is not a great location for business,
so we told them to set a realistic price.
You would have to advertise a lot 
to build a clientele here."

"On the other hand, this is a great
place for something that blends
into a historic neighborhood.
Just don't plan on much signage."

"Yes, that is a landscaper next door.
They are grandfathered into the site.
You may have to initiate some legal 
action to get them to remove the pile of dirt."

"The parking lot needs regrading,
better yet, paved with asphalt.
It is plenty big enough to host
capacity crowds for local events."

"Yes, that is a memorial garden.
No one is buried there, in a casket, that is.  
What you see are places where the 
ashes of people are stuck in the ground."

"The seller hasn't said what should
happen to the memorial garden.
Maybe they will just ask people to
remove the ashes, if they want."

"So let me know it you're interested.
I may be able to get someone who
used to go to this church to tell you
a little more about its history."

Thursday, December 25, 2014

A Quiet Christmas

This has been the quietest Christmas
that I have ever spent.
Memories of past celebrations
flood the memory banks.

In an unheated stone church in Germany,
built during Charlemagne's reign,
a children's choir in dirndls and lederhosen
sang a touching, "Stille Nacht!"

Eleven o'clock evening services
or thereabouts in eight Episcopal churches;
one in which I began a tradition
of ushers in black tie and dinner jacket.

Then the return to the house for
a midnight repast, mostly alcoholic,
with guests, usually oddball characters
whom we barely knew and promptly forgot.

Early on, Mr. and Mrs Santa Claus
labored into the wee hours.
In later years, a designated slave
assembled the do-it-yourself items.

Ma and Pa staggered down 
the stairs as late as possible
to see the stockings being emptied,
get some stollen in their stomachs.

After the Santa Claus days were over
a strict order of opening presents was imposed.
One by one, each person in turn
selected a gift, and opened it for all to see.

I forget when the standing rib roast tradition began
but it was a welcome change from turkeys.
The only problem was that it took all day to cook
while Pa again failed to master Yorkshire pudding.

Dessert was often a flaming pudding
which was both hazardous and hard to eat.
By late afternoon, chaos had faded to stupor.
The progeny then scattered to various venues.

This year, Barbara and I were alone,
attending a Christmas Eve service at seven.
In bed by ten as usual, we had
a leisurely pancake breakfast next morning.

Our major presents were already in use,
so we took pictures holding the boxes
of a Canon Power Shoot camera for her
and a 40 inch Panasonic Smart TV for me.

God bless you all, have a Happy New Year,
and forgive my lengthy lucubration!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

2014 photos

Christmas 2014

Cape Cod's famous hydrangeas, view from the deck of our house

USMA Class of 1949 65th reunion at West Point, alumni in dark blue blazers

North rim of the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone Park (it really blew!)

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas 2014

F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong.  
There are second acts in American lives.
Barbara and I are privileged to enjoy
a second act in very long lives.

I will be 87 in March, God willing;
she just turned 85 in November.
We experience as much good health
as people our age can reasonably expect.

Looking at the picture attached,
you see part of the enormous garden
Barbara has created, in a bank of
Cape Cod's famous hydrangeas.

Every morning and throughout the day
we see a view of marsh and tidal waters,
an ever-changing sea sky to the east,
and the antics of native wildlife.

The reunion at West Point was a
bittersweet occasion for the forty some
classmates who attended, showing the
mental and physical ravages of age.

From Phoenix to Rapid City, SD
we toured eight of the national parks, 
took hundreds of pictures of the sights 
survived long and hectic days.

Barbara made two arduous hops to
attend family reunions, so we were glad
to have two of her daughters here
to celebrate a real family thanksgiving.

Christmas and New Year holidays 
will find us alone again, but with 
numerous cultural events beforehand
to get in the spirit of the season.

Our attention is focussed on saving
the two institutions we follow closely,
the art museum Barbara helped to found,
and our troubled local church.

May you have good health, good times,
and good friends this holiday season, and
the peace which passeth understanding
all throughout the new year 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014



This is the end of the analysis of the situation of St. David's Episcopal Church 
in South Yarmouth, MA.  The objectives of the Diocese of Massachusetts and
of the current leadership of St. David's have become clear.  As it has for the 
three little churches profiled under "Church Finances" below, the diocese 
recommends that St. David's use as much of its endowment as necessary to 
hire a new rector, probably paying only 3/4 of prescribed compensation.  

There is apparently no limit to how much a parish can withdraw from its 
endowment annually, although a limit of four percent has been the norm.
Thus the diocese finds positions for as many clergy as possible, and the little
churches, including St. David's, keep the doors open for declining congregations.
The diocesan assessment thereupon becomes a transfer of funds from parish 
endowment to the diocese, which was 32K in 2013.

St. David's is now a prisoner of the diocese, which controls the disposition of
part time clergy as well as full time.  If the parish sought to continue with only
part time clergy filling in occasionally, the diocese could stop them.  A full 
time "rector" would have to be fully vetted by the diocese, regardless of how
much that person is paid.  The default to any action taken by the parish that
does not meet diocesan demands will be the seizure and forfeiture of assets
and buildings.