Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Episcopal Church Foundation Feasibility Study Report

While the rector and Vestry struggle at getting their story straight, I thought it would be helpful if parishioners could begin reading the capital campaign feasibility study from the Episcopal Church Foundation for themselves. The PDF file available here differs slightly from the paper copy distributed at Monday’s Vestry meeting. (See “Fulfilling the Vision Postponed.”) I believe the differences are only cosmetic, however. The paper copy that was yanked from my hands at the Vestry meeting—very few bound copies were printed, and Vestry members had a stronger claim than I—had a nice cover and the St. Paul’s prospectus in the appendix, both lacking here. The pages may have been formatted slightly differently; this version seems a few pages longer. (I still don’t have a paper copy to compare.) I’m sure the text is the same, however.

The purpose of providing the report here, of course, is to let parishioners make their own judgments about Fulfilling the Vision and the way it has been dealt with by our parish leaders. I cannot avoid making a few observations, however.

What most stands out in this report is the rather strong support for maintaining the building—there is less support for “enhancing” it—and the nearly total lack of support for program expansion financed in any way other than through annual giving. There is also great skepticism that St. Paul’s can raise anything near the price tag of the proposal presented to the congregation, a matter on which ECF agrees.

What is also apparent is that there is deep dissatisfaction among parishioners concerning the state of the parish and little agreement with respect to the details of the Fulfilling the Vision proposal. Whereas the ECF report does not try to hide these unpleasant realities, it struggles to mitigate their significance. According to the ECF, the economy is bad, taxes are worrisome, the split in the diocese was traumatic, previous rectors were poor administrators, parishioners haven’t adapted to the rector’s leadership style. ECF seems to be flattering those who pay its fee. The reality, however, is that Fulfilling the Vision was ill-conceived and poorly sold.

But don’t take my word for it. Read the actual report here. I invite your comments below. Note that you need a Google, AIM, Wordpress, or other ID to leave a comment.

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