Tactical Plan for St. David’s
September 11, 2014
A tactical plan is what you will do when the enemy has you surrounded
and demands that you surrender. Fortunately, the situation at St. David’s
is slow-moving. There is plenty of time to work out a plan for keeping
the doors open. It is not necessary for St. David’s to hire an interim
priest at full compensation for an indefinite period.
In a previous post, I wrote: “I believe that St. David’s could survive if
it were free to plan its future unhindered." The four hundred pound gorilla
in the room is the diocese. Up to now, their representatives are managing,
and are far-removed from reality. The exercise we participated in on
August 24th was worse that useless; especially the suggestions that we
hire two full-time clergy!
According to the co-chair of the search committee, a financial forecast
will be forthcoming from a group appointed for this task, and presented
to the congregation. If it resembles the 2014 budget circulated at the last
annual meeting, the total for the year is not too far off from an income
required for compensating a full-time rector.
There are two fatal flaws in this picture. The first is in assuming that pledges
will continue at the 2013 level. At the last transition, they dropped 27
percent, from 2008 to 2009. Then 2013 saw a further decline of 10 percent,
made up from "special gifts" and "anonymous donation." Barring a miracle in
the form of a bequest, or supplementary donation, income alone will be far
short of that required.
The second problem is in the compensation of staff. I won't get into specifics,
because that would compromise negotiations with present members. But I
would guess that the 2014 budget is about 25 percent short of what the
minimum wage laws would require for the present positions. And if a plan
for part-time clergy were adopted, a full-time parish administrator would be
Which leads me to a brief outline for a tactical plan for St. David's:
1. Employ a retired or part-time minister to celebrate Holy Communion
once a month on Sundays, and on Holy Days.
2. Schedule Morning Prayer services on other Sundays, officiated by
volunteers from the congregation.
3. Encourage the present outreach of dedicated volunteers, adding the
visitations and other services often performed by clergy.
4. Enhance the adult education now taking place in discussion groups at
church, and small groups in homes.
Now if that seems impossible, we did all the above at The Anglican
Church of the Resurrection for three years prior to the hiring of a vicar.
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