I would like to start this article off by sharing some information that tells the story of where we stand from a budget standpoint at St. Andrew's. As you may be aware, we are no longer receiving diocesan relief which really helped us along during the pandemic slowdown. This relief allowed us to maintain our budget during a time when we were having difficulty collecting pledge dollars and working through transitions at many levels. Given the suspension of the relief funding, coupled with increased operational expenses we are now running at a deficit. Although it is not unusual to see a deficit at this time of year, and it is not the first time we look to end the year at a deficit, this year we are looking at a considerably higher deficit than we were projecting due to the increased fuel and overall supplies costs in addition to investments into our church through staffing and programs. This is not a sustainable financial position for the church, but we can weather the storm temporarily as we look to readjust our giving totals moving forward. I will reiterate my message from last month that it is very important to finish the year strong with your giving towards your 2022 pledge. As you all know, expenses have gone up at unexpected rates for everyone in the last year, so I am urging you to consider giving a little more each week to help support our efforts to close the deficit as much as possible by the end of the year.
In addition to that, I wanted to remind you that the 2023 pledges will be due on November 27th. As you take this time to look over your own personal budget and consider your pledge amount, I ask you to look at ways you can increase your pledge amount consistent with the increases we are witnessing in our everyday lives. There will be more messaging in the coming weeks on our financial lookahead, how we stack up against local and national averages, and what difficult decisions we may have to make if we cannot find a way through these difficult times; but I wanted to get the message out a little early so that you know we are considering all options to keep St. Andrew's healthy and vibrant for years to come.
As always, thank you for your continued support.